installing foam seat?

I have a new (used) kayak that came with a foam seat, loose, that the previous owner, a masterful paddler, just threw in the boat and sat down on. I am not masterful, and in the event that my roll fails and I have to bail, that seat will come floating out of the boat unless I secure it.

How should I do that?

I am thinking it would be bad to use Aquaseal to cement it down because then if I wanted to take it out I would have a hard time and a mess. So how about velcro? How about double-sided tape? If velcro, what do I glue it down with?

I would really appreciate any suggestions here. I am sure a fair number of you have sea kayaks with foam seats instead of hung plastic seats. This is my first foam seat, and I love it.

(I am making a back. I just duct taped together four strips of blue closed-cell foam (Walmart camping mat) just to see how that thickness will feel behind my lower back. Later I can get a hard foam brick and shape a proper back and perhaps fasten that down too.)

G in NC

Hey MizG- I have foam seats and have just glued them in with contact cement- no taking them out after that though, so you have to be sure it is where you want it. Sand the hull area and the foam, acetone the sanded parts to clean off the sanding dust and other contaminates, then spray them with 3m contact cement (I generally do one coat,let it dry a bit, then apply another). Masking everything you do not want to spray is a good idea as well. I’ve never known double stick tape to work, and many paddlers that have velcroed their seats in still seem to lose them at inopportune times.The foam block as a back band does not need to be wide- three inches is fine and you get much more rotation without the constraints of a backba nd. Sliding into your boat during rescues is way easier too. Oh yeah- I also run a bead of clear caulk of some sort around the seam of the seat and the hull to keep sand and such from creeping into the cracks and maybe getting behind the foam and abrading the hull. Cheers MizG-------------------

Just glue it in
unless there is some reason you need to be removing it frequently.

If you use contact cement and decide you want it out you will be able to get it off by working under it with a paint scraper and you can get the glue residue off with mineral spirits.

Most folks use DAP Weldwood contact cement (the stuff in a red and black can that says “flammable” on it) as I do. Some prefer 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. Others have advocated Marine Goop or Barge Cement.

securing foam seat
At Peregrine Kayaks we have a custom seat option which is a foam seat and we secure it via high quality Velcro. First clean both the kayak floor (where the seat will sit) and the seat bottom REALLY clean without a spec of sand. If your kayak is plastic, you will for sure want to rough up the floor where you will be gluing the Velcro with some course sand paper and again; wipe the area super clean. Next you can choose Velcro that has adhesive strips already on them or better yet; use a waterproof contact cement or Marine Goop found at most hardware stores. Follow the contact cement directions or the Goop directions and glue the Velcro to the floor and the seat bottom being super attentive to have the hooks on one and the loops on the other! Make sure everything is very dry before you install the seat and now you can adjust the fore and aft a tad and see how it affects your kayak handling.

Velcro works fine
They sell velcro with better glue. But if that doesn’t stick then you can use contact cement to get the velcro to stick. With Velcro you can move it back and forth to suit you and you can try other seats if you want.

Barge Cement
Barge is a contact cement. You can buy it at shoe repair and good hardware stores. It is used to resole shoes, sticks great and is flexible. I use it to put my knee pads down in my canoe.

Is Barge cement anything like ShoeGoo?

From the Mothership

– Last Updated: Jun-27-11 11:22 PM EST –

McMaster-Carr has Marine-Grade Adhesive-Back Polyester Hook and Loop on page 3427, if the gluing options above aren't appealing:

You have to copy the whole link to get to the page, or type 'page 3427' into the search window.

If you install two or three 2" strips fore-aft on the hull and on the underside of the seat, it will be highly adjustable.

Barge Cement

– Last Updated: Jun-28-11 12:26 AM EST –

I experimented with seat position on my Explorer LV by putting in heavy-duty Velcro.

After oh, maybe the 2nd or 3rd time I used it, the glue failed with a peculiar result. I had rolled a few times, when suddenly my body slid forward and I failed the roll. Didn't realize what had happened until I saw the foam seat floating around.

Since by then I'd decided on a seat position, I just installed the seat with Barge Cement. In case I (or someone else) ever wanted to remove the seat, I didn't cover 100% of the contact area. Instead, I laid down the glue in "switchbacked" lines. The seat stayed put and is still solid.

Masterful roller or not, a loose foam seat could go flying if you leave it in the cockpit and forget to remove it before driving.

Smooth-skinned neoprene sticks unpleasantly to foam that doesn't have a fabric cover.

Velcro Seat
I have tried Velcro for foam seat and hip pads with mixed success. I had to glue the Velcro in with Weldwood contact cement. I bought Velcro Extreme 1"x4" from Lowes.

  1. Rough and clean boat and foam seat surfaces.
  2. Put the fuzzy stuff on the bottom of the boat.
  3. Tape the fuzzy side with blue tape while leaving 1/2 inch exposed at the top and bottom.
  4. Place the Hook and fuzzy together. They will separate easily later.
  5. Place seat in boat where you want it. Make some outline marks of the seat on the hull with a sharpie.
  6. Remove the hook tape and place it on the seat parallel to the boat toward the sides in the middle of the seat. Press it down firmly
  7. Remove the tape on the fuzzy side. Slowly align the seat with the marks and press it down.
  8. Gently remove the seat and the blue tape.
  9. Outline the Velcro on the seat and boat hull. Later if the Velcro comes loose you can glue it in with contact cement in the correct place.


One other little wrinkle, and thanks!
Thanks to all for these excellent suggestions.

Here’s something I should have said in my first post. There is a piece of very thin foam already glued to the seat position in this boat, and it is in the shape of the seat. It may have been under the original hung seat. I mean, it is thin. So my foam seat sits on top of this factory-installed (I believe) layer of foam. (This boat is an NDK Pilgrim.)

I suppose I could cement my seat on top of this thin layer, yes?

G in NC

Seat woes

– Last Updated: Jun-28-11 10:27 AM EST –

Hey Ginger , congradulations on the new ride. Was wonder why you where going to sale your Fathom LV. I bought a Romany a little while I go.Love the boat, hate the seat. The factory hung seat is the worst. Toying with cutting it out and replacing it with the foam one. Good Luck with new ride. Hope to see you on the water again soon.

Or you could remove the existing pad.

Attaching the seat with velcro or some other releasable binding has merit if you need to be able to remove the seat or adjust it fore and aft. Otherwise, you will wind up spending more money to install a seat that is at least marginally less secure than you would if you just glued it in, and you will still have something glued to the hull bottom.

If you install hook and loop strips, I would affix them to the hull bottom, not the existing foam pad. You can generally free up existing foam without too much effort. Warming the foam pad with a heat gun on low setting, or a blow drier, or just putting the boat out in the sun for a while often helps. Gently work under the foam with a putty knife or paint scraper to break it loose.

If you need to remove the glue residue, mineral spirits and gentle abrasion usually works, but the solvent may need to be in contact with the foam for a while and may need to be repeatedly applied. If you don’t mind the additional thickness of the existing pad, you can just glue the new seat to it. When using waterproof contact cement like Weldwood, at least 2 coats are needed on foam.

Whether you glue the new saddle to the hull or the existing foam, I would try to shape the bottom of the saddle to match the contour of what you are attaching it to. Foams like minicell or Ethafoam can be shaped with sandpaper, Red Devil Dragonskin, or Stanley Surform tools.

That’s a factory pad
Probably meant to keep grit from getting between the bottom of the glass seat and the hull floor, thus grinding a hole in the floor over time.

I have the same thin foam pad under my P-Ex’s glass seat (which I absolutely love).

If the pad is solidly glued to the hull, then glue your foam seat to the pad. If it’s not secure, remove it, clean the hull, and then glue the seat to the floor. That’s assuming yours is like mine–it seems to be minicell foam.


Hot melt
Hot melt glue is a great semi-permanent adhesive.

It sticks well enough, but not so well that you won’t be able to remove it easily.

i use thickly applied silicone
have foam seats in 3 boats this way. if i need to remove the seat, and i have on 2 occasions over the years, i can pull the seat off, without tearing it, as would be the case with contact cement. it’s sort of permanent, but possible to remove. a bit sloppy though, until it dries.

Pika, this is the boat I should have . .
gotten in the first place – except that I sat in one with a tiny hung seat and my butt wouldn’t even go in. But with the seat removed, the kayak is a terrific fit.


hot-melt, silicone, velcro strips
I love all these possibilities as not too permanent. Thanks to all for really great suggestions. What would I do without PNet?

hot melt
I only got about half a season using hot-melt glue for thigh braces. I’d say it’s not long-lasting enough.

Another alternative is indoor/outdoor Carpet tape.

This stuff is wickedly strong, and waterproof. If you clean the hull and seat with alcohol, and get a good tight fit (no gaps) then I’ve had carpet tape hold a seat in for years without problem. Easily removable too.

Maybe the best idea would be to use carpet tape while you’re playing around with seat placement, and then when you’re happy with it, glue it down with a couple stripes of contact cement. No need to cover the entire area.

I wouldn’t use silicone
Once a surface has been exposed to silicone, nothing else will stick to it. It leaves a layer that can’t be removed even with mineral spirits or acetone. I wouldn’t use silicone anywhere it won’t be permanent.