Looking for advice on kevlar/fiberglass repair

Can anyone help identify the different layers in the photo? I see the kevlar at bottom and the orange/red gelcoat on top, but what is the clear substance in the middle? Part of the gelcoat? Fiberglass layer?

I’m hoping to fix this hole/crack this weekend but am unsure what exactly the different layers are that need to be filled. Any advice on this is appreciated :blush:.

(the kayak is a Dagger Lattitude)

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I would check with Dagger, but it’s most likely fiberglass over the Kevlar. You’ll be able to tell more once you sand away the gelcoat. It looks like you’ve got a really large repair to do, as there’s damage on the other side of the fitting and it probably extends fore-aft for several inches in each direction.

Gotcha, thanks. That makes sense. And yes, I think this will be a big one!

The clear layer is likely polyester or epoxy resin that is used to impregnate and coat the Kevlar. The resin comes in two parts, the resin an a hardener. It can be found at marine and auto parts stores as well as hardware stores. Many carry complete repair kits. for fiberglass and Kevlar.Some come with a thickener to fill in larger gaps. With most you need to work rather quickly as once the hardener is added the process is rather quick, especially in warmer weather.

Thanks @rstevens15. I spoke with a rep at Dagger this morning and he advised me to fill the hole with Marine Tex, which I think is similar to the epoxy you’re describing: http://marinetex.com/products/marine-tex-products/marine-tex-epoxy-putty/

He said if I’m worried about the structural integrity of the kayak then I could add kevlar layers on the inside to re-build its strength. But given it’s on the deck he didn’t think it would really be an issue unless I was cinching the boat to a car very tightly over the repair area.

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For what it is worth. Many years ago I used Marinetex to fill a hole in the bottom of a Royalex hull. The hole was near the end of the canoe centered at point just before the stern angles upward. While it filled nicely, after curing it could not withstand the hull flex when the canoe returned to WW use. The repair cracked, leaked and caused me to return the canoe to the shop for another approach.

You may have better results given you are above the waterline.

Marinetex is a two part epoxy putty. Some of my friends have recommended it for composite boats. I bought some but never used it. Having watched professional fiberglass and Kevlar repair, in a case like this they would sand off the entire damaged area and fill it back in with Marinetex or another thickened epoxy resin. They would then sand this down to the original shape. Once this was done they would apply color matched gel coat. I’ve only done this once in a class years ago and didn’t do the color matching. It all depends on how good you want it to look. It’s not a structural issue, you just want to keep water out of the Kevlar fabric.

While it’s certainly possible to just fill the area and call it done, you won’t have anywhere near the strength of the original deck, Judging by the crack that’s visible in your picture, there’s a lot of Kevlar and 'glass that should be replaced. Granted, it’s less of an issue on a deck than a hull, but I’m not a fan of cutting corners on boat repairs.

Color matching can be really difficult on any older boat, where the gelcoat has faded. Sanding/buffing/polishing can restore the deck’s original color, but unless you do the entire deck, you’ll end up with color variations. For a better idea of what I’m talking about, check out this tutorial: