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How to Repair a Wetsuit

   January 28th, 2016   Posted In: How-To   Tags:

How to Repair a Wetsuit

How to Repair a Wetsuit

Do you need to repair a wetsuit? Damage can occur either in the smooth rubber (smoothskin, smoothie, sharkskin, etc.) or in the nylon laminate and this is usually the result of pulling too heard when putting the suit on or by catching or pinching the surface of the wetsuit with your fingernails.

While we make every effort to ensure that our products use the toughest materials available, you should be aware that as a performance product, wetsuits are not bullet proof and small tears do occasionally occur. Should a tear or fingernail cut happen, repairing it yourself is a very simple five minute job.

You will need some type of wetsuit cement or wetsuit adhesive. Cements work faster for tears, but tend to be more expensive. Check out our wetsuit repair products.

Repairing Tears in Smoothskin

Supplies:

-Some sort of applicator (small paint brush, Popsicle stick, strip of rigid plastic)
-A clean, dry wetsuit

Be sure to follow all safety precautions on the repair products packaging and use in a well ventilated area!

Step 1:
Fold the wetsuit over at the point of the cut so that the cut opens up to reveal the two surfaces that need to be glued back together.

Step 2:
Apply a thin, even layer of the cement or adhesive to both surfaces. Continue to hold the cut open while the glue begins to cure. Do not rejoin the surfaces immediately while the glue is still fully wet. This is especially important if you are using an adhesive repair product.

Step 3:
Flatten out the suit so that the two surfaces come together.

Step 4:
Pinch the two surfaces firmly together.


Step 5:

The cement will only take 1 to 3 minutes to dry (depending on room temperature and humidity). Wetsuit adhesives will take longer to dry (a few hours.) The adhesives look glossy when wet and will become matte when dry. Once it appears dry, check it by gently touching the glue surface. It will feel only slightly tacky and will not stick to your finger. Regardless of the glue type used, it’s best to allow your repair overnight to fully dry.

Small holes and tears (less than 1/2″) in the nylon laminates can be repaired similarly. Larger holes or holes penetrating all the way through will require a piece of scrap neoprene and potentially stitching, most likely requiring professional repairs.

Questions about wetsuit repair? Give us a call or send an email!

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Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
Lauren (LoLo) has been picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits and being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, practicing yoga, studying holistic nutrition or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.
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38 Comments

  • Avatar Gus says:

    Best way to rejoin a glued/taped join that has come apart? Outer skin is still holding but tape and but joint has seperated???

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Gus! You can check out our wetsuit accessory category which features highly rated wetsuit repair adhesives. These are formulated specifically for small wetsuit repairs in neoprene, along seams, and on smoothy-skin. Hope this helps!

  • Avatar Liquid Containment says:

    Thanks for sharing the information!!!

  • Avatar Jason Beberman says:

    Hey, the left knee on my patagonia wetsuit has a small hole developing. What is the best method to repair the knee?

    Thanks,

    J

  • Avatar Stiina says:

    Can I shorten the sleeves and legs of a neoprene suit myself? The suit is new I just got it but I only have 2 weeks before my trip and can’t rely on exchanging it.

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey there,

      If you have some experience sewing, this should be possible. However, I would not recommend just cutting the sleeves or legs without hemming – the nylon laminate may start to unravel.

  • Avatar Sara Barahona says:

    Hey Lauren, the first day I went out with my wet suit I got a tear and I was wondering if I could just stitch it back together and then put cement on top or should I just put cement on top?

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Sara,

      If the tear is just a slice (not missing a chunk of material) you can just use cement. If you are missing a chunk of material, you may need to patch it with a section of neoprene. Stitching shouldn’t be necessary in most cases. Thanks!

  • Avatar Sally says:

    Hi! Will neoprene cement work on a damp Wetsuit? If that is not ideal, will it hold for a temporary fix until we can fully dry it? Hoping to catch some waves tomorrow and Saturday. Thanks so much. You rock!

  • Avatar wolfenstein says:

    I needed something to repair cracks in the glued seals (over the seams). Do you recommend any product? TY

  • Avatar Felix Bryce-Smith says:

    I have a hole about the size of your fingernail in my wetsuit, although I’m not sure how thick it is. It’s just below the abdominals and above the navel, on the grippy rubberised surface. It is roughly oval, and there is a space so you can see straight through to the skin, and there is still some of the material in there, so there is a kind of circular hole with two straight forward tears leading up. Do I need to get hold of some kind of neoprene and patch it as well as sew and stitch it?

  • Avatar Bridget says:

    I do minor mends for a watersports centre. Struggling to put on big bottom patches (cut from old wetsuits). I’ve tried glueing then stitching with dental floss, but they tend to come undone. Any ideas please?

  • Avatar Nando says:

    HI Lauren, i saw a product in a Surfshop in Aus, to make old wetsuits flexible again, do you know anything like that?
    Thanks

    • Nando,
      Unfortunately I don’t know of a product of that nature 🙁 However, it does sound super neat! If you find the name of it, please share, we’d love to know what it is! Thanks!

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