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How to Fix Leaky Rivets in Aluminum Boat Easily – 5 Effective Steps

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boat

Jon boat rivets exhibit different wear and tear over time caused by leaky aluminum boat riveting. Aluminum boat rivets may loosen over time, which is why it is important to know how to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boat. Otherwise, it would result in a gap inside the hull’s integrity and a leak.

Using epoxy for aluminum boat leaks, propane torch or heat gun are good options in riveting aluminum boats. In this tutorial, you can learn the details and steps to fix leaky rivets.

Read on to know more.

Things to Consider When Choosing Epoxy for Fixing the Leaks in Your Aluminum Boat’s Rivets


1. Purpose of Use

Epoxy can be used to fix aluminum or other metals in a variety of forms, from putty to fluid material. Use small 1-ounce vials of liquid epoxy with syringe-style applicators for minor fixes on your boat.

Ensure that liquid sealer adhesives are applied via brushing over a wide area for larger tasks. Use putty epoxy that molds around the fittings when repairing valves, ducting, and steel pipes.

2. Nontoxic

While many aluminum epoxy resins are harmless, they can damage the environment or represent serious health risks if mishandled. Read the product label on how to use epoxy properly as it can irritate the skin or emit hazardous fumes.

Use protective equipment when applying epoxy, and operate it in a well-ventilated area. When storing and utilizing the substance, it’s also critical to follow all safety measures. Store the epoxy in a cupboard or storage closet away from pets and children at a controlled temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Resistance to High Temperatures

Ensure the epoxy suits with aluminum or other metals and can withstand very high temperatures. The maximum temperature ratings for most epoxies range from 200℉ to over 500℉.

Epoxies must also be exposed to certain temperatures in order to set and dry correctly. Application temperature range is important especially to set adhesives and cure them properly, like having the temperature above 40℉. Temperature requirements for the application are listed for the epoxy to withstand once completely cured.

4. Resistant to Water

Since you will be fixing leaks in your boat, look for waterproof epoxy resins intended for use in wet areas. Most liquid epoxy should be poured to a dry surface, but once completely cured, it is waterproof. For repairs on damp surfaces, waterproof putty adhesives are ideal. Some of them will actually solidify and fix underwater, making them perfect for hull repairs.

5. Versatility

Some epoxy variants have a wider range of applications than others. It’s critical to consider what kind of surfaces they’re compatible with. Know whether or not they’ll function for the intended purpose or if they can be versatile. Be careful as some epoxies can be painted, smoothed, molded, or drilled.

6. Time to Finish and Dry

Buy an epoxy that you can use on long drying or outside repairs. Take note that the majority of epoxy resins have a setting and cure period.

The setting is the time needed for the adhesive to maintain its bond while no substantial force is applied. The cure time is how long it takes the epoxy to achieve full strength, which can be from several seconds to many hours. Choose suitable epoxy types or adhesives to influence drying and setting time. Epoxies vary on finishes after they dry. White, gray, and translucent are common finish colors that need to be managed.

7. Application

Repair only your leaky rivets with the required blending, container, and conforming product to ensure the best results. Keep it away from other marine crafts and make it a seasonal job to liquidate the damaged areas thoroughly. Once the area is cleaned and scuffed well, use a propane torch to heat it and get rid of moisture. Use the epoxy as soon as possible after mixing it to get the desired results.

5 Simple Steps to Repair Leaking Rivets on Your Boat


Step 1: Identify where the leak is

  • Put your boat on the water or fill it halfway with water. This will allow you to observe where it leaks and trace the leaking area.
  • Use indelible markers to mark the leak sites and let the boat dry completely.
  • Flip over the hull of your aluminum boat to get access to the leaking areas.
  • Use a wire brush to remove dirt and reveal brilliant metal around the seams and rivets. Use a drill with a wire brush attachment to simplify the process.

Step 2: Prepare the sealing resin

  • Pour the epoxy/sealing resin and hardener into a mixing cup equally and stir with a mixing stick thoroughly.
  • Fill the plastic syringe halfway with the combined epoxy.
  • Remove the plunger and pour the epoxy into the top of the syringe. If you cut the syringe tip to an approximately 1/16″ hole, you can extrude the epoxy in lower temperatures.
  • Dry the water beneath the rivets and in the seams using a propane torch or heat gun before application.

Step 3: Apply the epoxy mixture to smaller gaps

  • Using the syringe, apply a continuous bead of the adhesive around the rivet heads and along the heated seam. The epoxy will flow into even the tiniest cracks.
  • To thin the adhesive to a water-like consistency, heat the metal using a torch or heat gun. Then, move it along and permeate deeply into the seams and the beneath rivets. The epoxy will gel and cure rapidly if the temperature is kept at a moderate level. Do not overheat the adhesive to the point that it discolors or smokes.

Step 4: Fill the bigger gaps in rivets

  • Prepare a batch of epoxy that is appropriate to the size of the gap.
  • To make the mixture thick to a “mayonnaise” consistency, thoroughly stir it using 406 Adhesive Filler.
  • While the first layer of epoxy is still wet, use a utility knife or stirring stick. It forces the thicker adhesive mixture into the seams’ gaps or beneath the leaking rivets. You may also push epoxy further into gaps using a syringe loaded with the thicker mixture.

Step 5: Clean the excess epoxy resins

  • Trim the tip as needed to make the dried epoxy look appealing.
  • While uncured, wipe residual epoxy on both sides with a paper towel or lacquer. If persistent epoxy has to be removed, use solvents like lacquer thinners cautiously. Avoid dissolving paint or scrubbing epoxy out from the joints.
  • Dry the epoxy overnight at around 65°F (18°C) or higher and use moderate heat for a faster curing process.
  • If desired, use spray paint to match the metal or current paint.

Check out this YouTube video from Fiberglass Supply.


Know the specifics on how to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boat from this tutorial. Prepare all materials to effectively and easily paint your leaking rivets and seams. It will make your job easy and quick without the worry of any damages.

Always get the most out of the versatility of your epoxy for use on various applications. Fix your leaky rivets to make your aluminum boat worthwhile and every boating trip longer.

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