So you’ve finished removing the old rim and preparing the surface to accept the new rim. Now it’s time to glue on the new rim. I chose to use Sikaflex 221 as it is the adhesive that was originally used to attach the old rim and has the advantage of being removable should a future repair be required. Some manufacturers are using 3M 5200 which is a very strong adhesive – so strong that once it cures, you will not be able to remove the rim should there be a problem. I had a problem with a badly leaking rim on another kayak of mine and the manufacturer claimed that the 3M 5200 adheres so strongly that it would tear up the fiberglass of the deck if they tried to remove the rim. An article in the May/June 2003 issue of ANorAK (The Journal of the Association of North Atlantic Kayakers) by Joe Federici suggests using 3M 4200 fast cure which is supposed to have about half the strength as the 5200 but is removable. The 3M products are easier to find in local stores, but I was able to order the Sikaflex 221 through Amazon.com and it seemed to be easily available on the internet.
Step 1: To reduce the need to clean up adhesive off the deck of my boat, I used masking tape to tape off the area around the rim where the new rim was to be glued. I used several small pieces of tape and overlapped them in order to get a curved edge going around the rim on the deck. I have also heard the suggestion that you can apply some furniture or car polish to this area of the kayak deck to make it easier to clean, however, you need to be very careful not to get any of that polish onto the part of the kayak deck where the rim will sit or the adhesive may not adhere properly.
Step 2: Using a medium grit sandpaper, lightly rough up the surface on the underside of the new rim and the deck of the kayak where the rim will be glued so that the adhesive will have better grip on the two surfaces.
Step 3: Clean both surfaces with mineral spirits to remove any dust or oils. Allow to dry.
Step 4: Place sheets of paper towels inside the hatch to catch any adhesive that drips off the rim. This will prevent you from having to try to clean it up later.
Step 5: Apply a generous bead of adhesive to the deck of the kayak around the opening of the hatch. Then apply a generous bead of adhesive to the rim. Make sure that the beads of adhesive are continuous and have no gaps that might allow water to seep through when the adhesive has cured. You will need to do this repair in an area that is very well ventilated as there is going to be strong fumes from the solvents in the adhesive. I don’t usually bother with using a respirator, but I also try not to breath these types of fumes for very long or in concentrated quantities.
Step 6: Carefully place the new rim over the opening on the deck and gently push down until the adhesive begins oozing out and the rim appears to be at the correct level with the deck. Do not push down so hard that you squeeze out all of the adhesive. You can give a very gentle wiggle to the rim to make sure the rim has bedded well into the adhesive.
Step 7: Allow the adhesive to fully cure and do not move the kayak during this time. I left my kayak undisturbed for about 2 days before I moved it, but 15 hours is probably adequate.
Step 8: Using a razor blade, you can carefully cut off any excess adhesive that may be protruding down into the hatch. A blunt chisel works well for removing any adhesive that may be sticking up above the level of the rim on the deck of the kayak.
I’ve had my kayak in a swimming pool and taken it for a week of paddling in salt water since putting on the new rim. It has been in my sub-freezing garage and been driven over 2000 miles down to Alabama and back with the corresponding temperature swings to the upper 70’s and back down to freezing. So far the adhesive seems to be holding very well without the addition of the screws or rivets that seemed to cause the crack in the original rim. Time will tell if the repair will hold, but if it doesn’t or it turns out that I have a leak, I have the option of removing the rim and doing it over again.