Wetsuits aren't the cheapest to replace, and as a lover of the ocean and environment, it's best to breathe new life into your well-loved suit before investing in a new one. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can stitch up your suit, so it's almost as good as new!
Here at Wetsuit Centre, we sell an array of water sports equipment, from men's shorty wetsuits to women's open water swimming suits. And as water sports enthusiasts, we understand that dreaded feeling of finding a tear. So, to make sure you can keep yours going for that bit longer, we've compiled some valuable tips and tricks you can use!
Professional Wetsuit Repairs
Before forking out for a professional repair, you might want to consider whether you can fix your suit yourself or if you'd be better off with a new one!
If the tear on your wetsuit is on the zip or covering a large area of the seam, you might be better investing in the expertise of a local wetsuit repairer.
Any tears larger than one inch, regardless of its location, should be seen by a professional.
Investing in a repairer will be slightly more expensive than sorting it out yourself, but it will be much cheaper than buying a whole new suit, so it's definitely worth considering if you're on a budget.
Individual brands may offer a warranty on their wetsuits. If your wetsuit has become faulty before the warranty has run out, you will be entitled to having your suit repaired for a small fee.
In some cases, the repairs might be for free, depending on the extent of the damage. However, there may be a slight waiting period, but it's always handy to check!
It's also worth bearing in mind that the cause of the fault will need to be taken into account. If a fin caused the rip, then you probably won't get a free repair. However, if the damage was caused by a manufacturers fault, you should be entitled to replacement or repair.
Wetsuit Repair Kit Equipment
To fix up your suit, you'll need to purchase the correct kit; this will include:
- Wetsuit glue
- Extra neoprene
Sadly, standard glue can't be used; if anything, it can further damage your wetsuit. Instead, you will need to invest in a specific wetsuit adhesive or cement. In general, wetsuit glue will take slightly longer to dry in comparison to cement.
When searching for wetsuit glue, you will find a number of brands and products out there, so make sure to check which glue will work best for your specific suit.
A piece of neoprene will be needed for any broken areas which may need to be reinforced. When purchasing a wetsuit, you will often find that a small piece is usually attached to the zip. This small section is often intended to protect the suit from any indents during transportation. However, it is a good idea to keep a hold of it in case of future repairs.
Alternatively, some wetsuit repair kits include a small piece of neoprene. If you're really in need of a small patch of neoprene, you can always ask a local surf shop, and they might be able to help you out.
How to Fix a Wetsuit Rip or Tear
Every wetsuit glue will vary on instruction. Below we have collated the basic necessities you will need to repair your wetsuit.
Dry Out the Wetsuit
Before repairing, the suit will need to be completely dry. This is essential as any applied glue will struggle to dry on a damp surface, elongating the process.
Make sure to turn your wetsuit inside out while drying
Apply the Glue
Before applying the glue, it's always best to check the manufacturer's instructions. Although we offer a general guide below, applications may vary from one type of glue to another.
Start by applying the glue to each section of damaged neoprene. You may want to use some form of applicator for a much more accurate result; lollipop sticks are often useful for this!
Depending on the glue, you will often want to wait for it to dry. Once it has dried, apply a second layer of glue and wait for it to become tacky for a minute before pushing the two sections together. Hold together firmly for a minute or two.
Let the Glue Dry
Once the glue has been applied and the pieces have been held together, the glue will then need to be left to dry. The time this takes will depend on the manufacturer's advice. It's often best to allow it five to ten minutes at the very least.
Apply the Glue Again
If you want to ensure your suit has been thoroughly repaired, you may want to apply another round of glue over the top of the repair. Once this has been done, you will need to leave the glue to dry once again.
It may need a bit linger to dry due to the extra application of glue but be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions.
Our Wetsuit Repair Tips
Below you'll find some of our repair tips and tricks you can use for fixing up your suit!
Repair Your Wetsuit ASAP
A wetsuit should be repaired as soon as the rip or tear has been discovered; this will prevent any further damage from incurring.
Large Wetsuit Holes
For bigger holes, you may need the additional support of extra neoprene.
You will need to make sure the wetsuit has been turned inside out. Cut the neoprene to size and ensure that it is slightly bigger than the tear itself. Glue the neoprene patch to the hole as previously instructed. Use a form of weight to press down over the suit to reinforce the glue as it dries.
The drying process will again depend on the glue manufacturer.
Sewing Wetsuit Repairs
It's best to avoid sewing your own suit, especially for open water swimming wetsuits. However, people have been known to sew the seams of thicker suits with dental floss.
If you are not very experienced in sewing, this can be a bit of a risk to undertake. When sewing, you will need to be extra cautious not to tear any rubber as you thread the needle through the neoprene, as this will enhance the existing damage.
Additionally, the sewing will need to be 'blind stitched', meaning you will only need to push the needle through one-quarter of the neoprene before glueing the rest of the repair. For the best results, a curved needle is recommended.
If you decided to sew your suit with dental floss, it's advised that two layers of glue are applied to the rip beforehand. Once the suit has been stitched up, another layer of glue will need to be applied and then left for a minimum of eight hours to dry.
Glue on Seam Tape
For additional security, glue some seam tape to the inside of the suit where the original damage is located.
What can Damage a Wetsuit?
Some things can further damage your suit. To help keep your wetsuit in tip-top shape, some practices should be avoided:
- Hot water can cause neoprene to lose its flexibility.
- UV rays can cause neoprene to age quickly, so be sure to dry your suit in a shaded area.
- Chlorinated water and saltwater can break down neoprene. Always rinse your wetsuit down with fresh water after every use.
No matter the quality of your wetsuit, nails, rocks and reefs will always pose a threat to your suit. We hope this article has provided some use to fixing up your suit. However, if you're ever in need of a new wetsuit, why not check out our range of water sports equipment?
For more tips and tricks contact a member of our team or take a browse through our blog! You’ll find loads of handy article such as our How Do You Fix a Broken Surfboard guide.