Put on keel strips

We tried to put keel strips on our boats a couple of years ago and it was disaster…We purchased in-stock kayaks at Canoecopia and are now trying to find someone/someplace that can expertly put keel strips on two 18 ft. boats.

We live in Southeast Iowa (famous for its sea kayaking) and are willing to travel to Chicago- St. Louis - Kansas City - Madison - Des Moines - Minneapolis to have this done.

Any ideas? Thanks!


– Last Updated: May-06-13 3:43 PM EST –

I just put a couple of feet on the bow on my kayak and it was as easy as peel and stick... I did after the fact watch some videos on YouTube where they recommend using a heat gun to make the tape complies better to the hull shape, so I blasted it on a bit, though not sure if that made any difference or not - it seemed well stuck without it... A heat gun is needed for sharp corners to make sure there are no wrinkles in the tape...

Edit: I used Keel Eazy... The only questionable issue I had was that the adhesive was about 2mm narrower on each side than the width of the tough protective side - I saw no way but to trim the excess 2mm that had no adhesive (using scissors, prior to peeling off the disposable film on the adhesive side before installation).

Assuming we’re talking about “glass”
boats, you could have bias-cut 1.5" seam tape put down the keel line with epoxy resin. You can get it from


“We carry bias tape in fiberglass and aramid fibers. The bias materials are stronger for a given weight because all of the fibers cross the seam line. They also conform around curves better. The glass tapes are extra heavy weight so just one layer makes a tough seam.”

They’re talking seams, but it works great as a hard-wearing keel strip. Ignore the “aramid” which is same as Kevlar and fuzzes as it wears. The glass tape wears smooth and takes compression blows better than aramid. Plus glass is much easier to repair.

Glass is the hardest cloth you can use on a boat. All other cloths are softer. I’ve had good results using glass tape for keel reinforcement.

Keel-Ezy has not worked so well for me. While it is much easier to apply than a resin type strip I find that Keel-Ezy doesn’t last too well and is peels a bit on the edges especially curved parts of the keel. I cleaned the keel with acetone and carefully applied heat gun to contour it to the bottom of the kayak. It looked good for a couple of months than the edges started to peel off a bit and sand started to creep into the gap. I prefer to spend the time to apply a proper resin and fibreglass keel strip.

I epoxied on
A 2’ x 1/4" piece of polyester yacht braid on the stern of an old rental Tofino. The stern was worn flat through the Kevlar so I soaked up the line for ten minutes in slow cure then bedded it in with thickened epoxy. It has held up great.

Did your strip have adhesive all the way
To the edges of the tape? I just curious. It struck me as illogical to not have adhesive all the way to the edge… I have had mine only for a few weeks now so can’t tell how well it will stay put over time. My boat also has a very gentle curve, so hopefully not a lot of bending at the edges too… It’s on a plastic boat so I did not have a glassing option…

I have the…
…Keel-Ezy on my Illusion and it has held up very well for a year. No puckering, peeling or sand, however, I would probably opt for a glass strip next time. The thing that I find with my Keel-Ezy strip is that compared to glass it has a higher coefficient of friction on rocks, logs, gravel, all the stuff we put them on to protect against and I feel it grab a bit rather than simply slide over things.

Probably an insignificant complaint but I think about it and all of the glass strips that I have had didn’t do that.


keel strip
Thanks for all the advice, folks, but…

We are not going to attempt it ourselves again…we are willing to drive anywhere and pay a reasonable price for someone else to do this for us…

If YOU can do it for us and have it look as good as if it was factory installed, we would be more than happy to drive the boats to wherever you are and pay YOU…

adhesive not
adhesive on the Keel-Ezy was NOT all the way to the edge (about 1/16 back) and in some places the strip has “shrunk” after application leaving a bit of glue residue on the ends.

Maybe has something to do with the hot climate where I live (think Florida conditions)

Polyester tens to wear smooth, while
nylon and Kevlar fuzz. So, polyester could be used, and it’s certainly lighter than glass.

how is polyester lighter than glass?

Are you referring to the fabric alone or the more relevant combination of polyester fabric and resin (epoxy or flow coat).

I thought that the material had little relevance since the material to bond it to the hull (I use epoxy for better wear) is so much heavier. A single coat of resin would offer less wear protection than several coats; it would be lighter but not as durable?

Hi Koncho,

I know it sounds illogical to not run adhesive all the way to the edge, but there is a very good reason. The edge folds down and keeps sand out of the adhesive. I have seen what happens when the adhesive comes all the way to the edge and it isn’t pretty.

Chicago contact…

I don’t know anyone in that area personally. But contact Bill Reiner, Equipment Director for the Chicago Kayak Club. He can probably point you in the right direction in that area.

His email is - equipment@chicagokayak.org

Makes sense, I guess
I see a bit of adhesive outside the strip on mine, having cut the “extra” width. I don’t know which is better - having this or having unglued edges to catch on things or allow moisture to hang in there… Anyway, I only put a couple of feet so I’ll se how it holds-up before doing a full-length application.

Gnarly, if you buy “seam tape”, the
weight of the same physical dimension of polyester fabric seam tape will be less than the weight of glass seam tape. I don’t know what sort of polyester cloth he’s using, but I think it likely that, wet out with epoxy, it’s going to make for a lighter seam than one I would do with bias cut seam tape from sweetcomposites.

Thanks, Tim!
THANKS! Will do!

Thanks, Tim!
Thanks, will do!