Sealing my wetsuit seams... maybe

My wetsuit leaks. It’s a flatlock stitched 3/2 O’Neill Hammer which I use in the LA area. It’s a bit cold sometimes in the winter, since the flatlock stitch goes all the way through and lets water in through the holes. I was thinking about hitting the inside of the seams with Aquaseal or Neo-Rez, just enough to waterproof the seams. I’m a little concerned that by doing this I’ll be making stiffer areas in the neoprene which will cause tearing eventually at the edge of the glued area. I don’t know much about wetsuit tape either. Is it more for waterproofing or strengthening the seam? I’m looking for a $10-20 solution. Any advice?

…tool dip(liquid seams,what a joke,LOL),about 4 bucks, works great, stays flexible,AND YOU CAN GET IT AT THE HOME DEPOT(YES,I tried it ,it works great).Herb

Try paddling out in a 6/4/3 with 38 degree water and 35 degree air in a snowstorm only to find that the crotch seam is leaking. 2 hours of that last week and I thought I might have done permanent damage! Knee paddling was the only way to keep the warmth in there. When I got out, I found that half the taped seam had peeled away allowing the water to flow in with no warming properties whatsoever. The lycra / polypro shorts were totlally useless in that situation . Luckily, it was a point and no real duck diving was needed or I wouldn’t have lasted. Thanks Herb for the tip, I was wondering how I might fix this.

I already have some Aquaseal. Is tool dip more or less flexible? I’ve noticed that you always seem to have information on how to improvise for cheap. Keep it coming, and thanks. -Chad

anything except possibly reinforced concrete is more flexible than aquaseal. Good call, Herb. You might want to mask off around the seams, then paint the tool dip on with a cheap, throwaway brush. Think of it as pinlines writ large.

…Cheaper by volume,much cheaper…works better/inexpensive/easy to aquire/ is my deal in that order,usually.Comes in colors or clear too…Herb

…Tape it, brush it,pour it on, it all works,it can look messy(basically a sealer for your wetsuit, used on the inside only,maybe,that’s what I’ve done with it so far.),but it works.You can tape it off and get the spray on tool dip…but don’t tell anyone I told you so.LOL.Herb

Alright. I 'm heading to Home Depot tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be warm for the Saturday morning dawn patrol. Thanks Herb and Doc for the pointer.

Hey guys, I was just looking at the liquid-seam wetsuits on the rack and was wondering what is used to do it by the manufacturers. It looks like some sort of rubber or urethane caulking applied with a caulking gun and a flat tip. I have used a product called Dynaflex-230 to seal the area at the base of removable fins and it looks and feels the same as what is used on the wetsuit seams. I have an old o’neill wetsuit with the tape missing that I will experiment on. I will let you guys know if it works and holds up. The Dynaflex is only a few bucks a tube and a single tube would do 1 or 2 suits easy - get the dark bronze color. You can get flat “cake decorating” tips at any grocer. Some duct tape would hold the tip on the caulking tube nozzle. Straight urethane sealants like Sikaflex and Big Stretch might be even better (available at any Home Depot) Now I have a(nother) weekend project!

I’d give it a try on some scrap material first and let it cure for a week, just so as you don’t get any surprises. Vinyl, PVC, plywood and Tyvek ( which are what most caulks are made to work with) are less reactive than foam neoprene with nylon/lycra knit stuck to it, y’know? A semi-thrashed rubber coolie/beer can sleeve would be the itemm to use. House caulking also typically cures to something stiffer than you really want to have in a wetsuit and won’t necessarily bond to a porous surface all that well. For sticking the seam tape back on, I’ve had good luck with cheapo contact cement - your basic Weldwood from the hardware store…or, yes Herb, Home Depot. hope that’s of use doc…

Herb, doc,anyone, Is tool dip a product name or the name of a variety of similar substances? Its hard to find someone who knows anything at Home Cheapo and its a bit of a drive for me. I don’t know how many time I have driven to H.D. trying to save a few bucks and ended up at the local place with people who know.

Ive used loads of Plasti Dip for all sorts of projects, including for tool handle dip. As mentioned, it works o.k. for sealing wetsuit seams, although other things bond better to nylon, are softer and more elastic (see below). Whatever you use, just make sure the wetsuit has been washed thoroughly in fresh water and 100% dried. If you have a lot of sealing to do, Id reckon keeping the wetsuit out of the water for a few days, i.e. washing, drying, application to full cure. Slow curing is important because the slower the cure, the higher the ratio of solvents to solids. Solvents are useful in cutting through any residual oil/grease that may be on the wetsuit, this gives better adhesion. Also, slower curing sealants are generally stronger than faster curing sealants. Wise advice, as Doc said… TEST a few nylon/neoprene samples first. Also commonly available in home improvement centers… Tremco Vulkem 921 - a single-component polyurethane sealant, suitable for continual immersion in water (

Hi, It’s a kinda generic term, vinyls and a bunch of others. See if your friendly neighborhood hardware store or auto parts store has it or can get it. In fact, one company has a product called Plasti-seam that looks like it was made for the specific purpose of wetsuit seams. Check it out: link below hope that’s of use doc

…And I got to go to my daughter’s first softball game,this should be interesting? …found my gig? naw,POWER TO THE PEOPLE !!!Herb

I went ahead and applied some Dynaflex to an old wetsuit that I use for spare parts. The Dynaflex sticks very well to the nylon and stitching, and it dries with plenty of flex, more than I had expected. I will let the sample cure a few days then I will submerse the sample in water for a few days to see what happens. The tube of Dynaflex says “Elastomeric Latex”, and the dried product feels like latex rubber, if that means anything to anyone out there. I did not try a special nozzle to apply the caulk, I just used the round nozzle that is built into the caulking tube. I smeared the bead into the stitching to ensure sufficient penetration. The end result wasn’t super pretty, but initial leak tests indicate no leakage. The bronze Dynaflex dries to a nice almost black color. I don’t have latex allergies so I don’t expect to have problems contacting the cured caulk. I will apply some Sikaflex or Big Stretch to the sample for comparison before doing the water test in the interest of research.

Aaron, Allowing your sample to cure a few days, then submersing in water for a few days… that`s an excellent idea, a critical test. Some “permanent and waterproof” coatings/caulkings perform very well above water, or when exposed to frequent water, but not when submersed. My experience has been the ones (commercial grade) which are designed for continuous underwater useage also adhere the best to wetsuit nylon. Let us know how your experiment turns out! An example… Vulkem 921 is a one-part moisture curing, gun grade polyurethane sealant with exceptional adhesion and durability. Suitable for continual immersion in water… durable, flexible, and offers excellent performance in moving joints.

One thing- make sure you get it very, very smooth. When wetsuit seams are not fairly smooth…well, I still have scars from the suits I used 35 years ago with kinda coarse seams. And when the stuff has gone off it’s too late to do anything useful about it. One thing that’d be worth experimenting with is something like wide scotch tape or another cellophane strip product over the goo, run something like a squeegee or plastic putty knife over it, so you have a fairly uniform depth of goop over the seam and at the same time the tape is providing a smooth surface. Ever taped sheetrock? Same sort of deal. hope that’s of use doc…

dude, the herbster is soooo ego’d out of control as usual. note: isnt it time for you and dyno ray to check in with county probation? hello forget the herb-tool handle dip! how stupid is that anyway? doooh!!! here`s the full meal deal for real wetsuit seam seal: NEO-REZ WETSUIT REPAIR 2.8 OZ A fast-curing, clear synthetic rubber. Use to repair rips or fill small holes in wetsuits, to retread rubber boots, or to form a clear,flexible waterproof rubber bead over wetsuit seams. Neo-Rez seeps into the neoprene to bond securely and cures as a shiny and smooth, flexible, completely waterproof seam. 2.8 fl. oz. $9.95

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