Wetsuit seam repair
There are many ways a wetsuit can get damaged over time, so the ways of repairing a wetsuit vary. If you have bought a new wetsuit and you notice any kind of damage or production mistake? Contact your reseller to enquire about warranty. A warranty usually only covers production mistakes on new products. So if you have used your wetsuit and it’s showing signs of wear and tear, you might want to consider repairing it yourself. Wetsuit seam repair is the most common repair. Other frequent repairs are fingernails or a fin that cut your chest panel by mistake. These are all fairly easy repairs that you can fix yourself for under €10 within 30 min by using neoprene glue. Always repair wetsuit damage immediately, if you leave it, it might get worse and make your suit harder or unable to repair.
Wetsuit repair glue, or neoprene glue, is a type of contact adhesive specifically designed to glue neoprene panels together. Neoprene glue is flexible and remains waterproof. Wetsuit glue is affordable and it’s available in most surf shops or available online. Don’t use any other type of glue to repair on a wetsuit seam repair. Neoprene glue is easy to use, take your time to do it right and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the damage to your wetsuit is more than just a simple cut or tear, you can consider bringing your wetsuit to a specialized local repair shop. These shops exist in most areas and often accept you sending your wetsuit in rather than driving there.
Seams are commonplace for a wetsuit to eventually start breaking. There are different types of seam problems. If it is a blindstitched wetsuit and the thread has come undone, you need to contact your local repair shop to redo the blindstitching. This requires a specialized sewing machine. Has the seam split open due to too much pressure on the seam? You can repair this with neoprene glue, but it is advisable to add an iron-on reinforcement patch on the inside of the repair to make this area stronger and to avoid it tearing again. Note that after your repair you need to let the glue cure overnight before you hit the water.
A wetsuit is likely to get some form of damage during its life. A clean-cut or tear caused by a fingernail or a fin hitting you is easy to fix, especially if the neoprene is not cut all the way through. This is different than a wetsuit seam repair. Get a tube of black neoprene wetsuit glue online or at your surf shop. Open up the cut and apply a layer of glue on both sides of the neoprene, leave it to dry for about 10 min (unless indicated differently by the glue manufacturer) until glue becomes tacky. Then, firmly press the cut together to create a butt joint. Leave the glue to cure overnight.
Patch repair preparation
If the tear is bigger than 2cm long or not a clean-cut, it might be better to go for a patch repair. This only works if the cut is at least 2cm away from any seam. This requires a bit more skill and the right materials, so If you don’t feel confident doing this repair yourself, please contact a local wetsuit repair shop. Start by drawing an oval or circle at least 2cm away from the edge of the cut. Cut out this oval shape with a pair of sharp scissors. Get a patch panel, a piece of neoprene with a similar thickness as the damaged panel. You can cut this out of an old wetsuit, or get a panel at your local repair shop.
Patch repair application
Put the patch panel underneath the oval hole you just cut, and trace the oval onto the patch panel. Cut out the oval shape and place it inside the oval you cut out on the wetsuit. See if it fits exactly. Apply a layer of glue on the edge of the patch panel and on the hole of the wetsuit. Don’t put them together yet. Leave it to dry for about 10 min (unless indicated differently by the glue manufacturer) until glue becomes tacky. Then, firmly press the edge of the oval together to create an even seam. Make sure the edge is fully pushed together without any holes between the patch panel and the repaired panel. Leave the repair to cure overnight. Neoprene tape or reinforcement iron-on patch can be added on the inside for.
Iron-on neoprene reinforcement patches
When the cut or tear is all the way through the neoprene and lining it’s advisable to add an iron-on reinforcement patch on the inside of the repair to make this area stronger, avoid water leakage and to avoid it tearing again. These patches or reinforcement tape, also called Melco tape can be bought through your local wetsuit repair shop. These patches or tape have a hot melt glue layer attached to the back of them. They can be ironed on with a normal iron, but always make sure you use wax paper or baking paper in between the iron and the wetsuit. A different way of reinforcing the inside of a tear, or wetsuit seam repair, is to glue on a thin strip of thin neoprene, called neoprene tape. This can be glued on with normal wetsuit glue but is not a clean looking as hot melt tape.
Zip repair or replacement
Zips get a lot of abuse in their lives. So it’s not uncommon for the teeth of a zip or the zip runner, also called slider, to corrode, break or get damaged. You don’t have to throw away your wetsuit in case the zip fails. Fortunately, zips can be replaced by your local wetsuit repair shop. If the zip teeth get damaged you will have to replace the complete zip. However, if only the zip slider breaks, just the slider can be replaced. When buying a wetsuit, and you are worried about zip strength? Buy a wetsuit where the slider disconnects from the teeth when open. This prevents the teeth from breaking when the zip is fully opened. This also avoids your shoulder from scraping over the slider when getting into your suit. A slider that disconnects, as on all SRFACE wetsuits, makes your wetsuit last much longer.