Wetsuit repair companies may charge a minimum of around $50 for repairs, so if you have a small tear or one of those annoying fingernail cuts that can happen when you are putting your suit on or taking it off, you might well want to have a try at a DIY repair. It is easy to accomplish a professional and durable result.
How to Repair a Fingernail Tear
You will need:
- Some adhesive: You can buy black neoprene wetsuit cement and a variety of other adhesives and sealants. M Essentials Aquaseal WetSuit Repair is a well-known brand but you can even use the glue from a bicycle puncture repair kit if you wish!
- A brush: Do not try to apply the cement adhesive with your fingers. Use a small brush (a child’s paintbrush is ideal), or a spatula. If you do not have a spatula or a brush, you can make a suitable applicator by cutting a piece of plastic from the lid of a plastic ice cream carton or even a flexible piece of card.
- The first thing you need to do is to open up the cut or tear so that the cut edges are visible. The easiest way to do this is to fold the suit along the line of the cut and it will open up so that you have the surfaces that need gluing, facing you.
- Next, apply the cement adhesive to both cut surfaces. Keep the cut open for about three minutes or until the glue no longer looks shiny, as this will indicate that it has dried. Do not allow the cut surfaces back in contact with each other until the glue is dry or the repair will not work.
- Then check the cut surface with your fingertip. The ideal consistency of the glue at this point is slightly tacky but not tacky enough that it will stick onto the finger.
- Now just flatten out the fold you made in the suit and as soon as the cut edges touch, the cement will bond them instantly.
- Press the two edges together for a few minutes and the wetsuit repair will be complete. If you can avoid wearing your suit for around six hours, this will allow the bond to become as strong as possible.
Wetsuit Repair Using Dental Floss
For tears around the neck or cuff or for those that are a little more serious than a fingernail tear, this dental floss method gives a very strong repair and is very easy to do.
What you will need
- Wetsuit cement
- Dental floss
- Strong sewing needle
- Apply neoprene cement to both cut edges and around the cut on both sides of the wetsuit.
- Press the damaged area firmly together, joining the edges.
- Cut a piece of dental floss to the required length, thread the needle and knot the end of the floss.
- Start at one end of the cut or tear and insert the needle quite close to the cut.
- Now, being careful not to pull the neoprene at the edge of the cut, over-sew it so that each short stitch visible on the surface, runs at 90 degrees (at right angles) to the cut.
- Continue all the way along the cut or tear and finish by knotting the floss.
- Trim the ends of the floss to remove excess.
- Finally, finish by applying neoprene cement over the top of your floss stitching to strengthen it.
- Leave to dry overnight and the repair will be a good strong one.
Note: You need to apply M Essentials Wetsuit Cement to both the inside and the outside of the floss stitching. If there is any danger of the adhesive sticking to another part of the wetsuit, it is best to do the outside first. Once this has dried, turn your suit inside out and paint the cement over the inside stitches – you do not want to make yourself another problem!