Rivets and screws... proper installation

-- Last Updated: Sep-24-05 3:05 AM EST --

Apologies if this has been brought up before, I searched but couldn't find anything dealing with this - hard to believe considering the topic, so I'm sure I made a mistake somewhere...

Anyway, I'm about to start customizing my kayak but want to be sure that I'm installing the bits of metal the right way.

Here's the question: Rivets or screws? Which do you prefer - obviously with a rivet gun I'll need to either purchase one or borrow it from a friend, however I've never used it before and am not sure how they work... is it that much better than screws? Should I put some sort of sealant (AquaSeal, etc) on top of the screw/rivet? Below it? How should that be gone about the proper way?

Thanks in advance.

If I can reach it easily, I prefer screws/nuts and washers. If it’s way in back or front where I can not reach with the nut and still turn the screw, I’ll use a rivet. I don’t rivet is as strong. Rivets come in different lengths. Select the right lenght and make sure the hole is just enough to squeeze the rivet through. Other wise it will be loose and/or pop out easy with any kind of pressure.

I like to applie a dap of silicone or marine goop on screws or rivets just to be sure and hopefully to inhibit rust.


Also with a rivet…
you might want to use a backing fender washer.

I also use both.

Keep in mind if you are attaching something that you might want to remove again, use bolts or screws.

To remove a rivet you will have to grind it or drill it off.

Screws and bolts should be stainless while rivits should be aluminum



Not sure
what/where you are installing. Depending on the material and it’s thickness would determine the best thing to use.

I use machine thread screws with fender washers and acorn nuts on the inside of the hull. Anything else sticking through the inside of the hull will snag and rip flesh, drybags, and other gear.

rivet guns are simple to use; practice once on a scrap piece and you’ll know how it works!

Secondly- if you are attaching plastic eye straps (ie; for seats on SOT’s) the strap usually fails before rivet. I have never had a rivet pull if installed properly.

I am amazed sometimes by the strength of a little aluminum rivet!

BTW- screws work fine if you have the access.


You might check this out. Fairly


I go with stainless bolts if I can reach the spot and I use locking nuts. If there’s any bolt still hanging out I add an acorn nut. Those sharp bolt ends can really make a mess of your gear and your body.

What ever you use make sure
it is stainless steel and a good stainless also.