What is Styrene?

I am about to do some gel coat repair and stumbled across this product, it’s uses, and it’s many warnings. Must be God awful stuff and I am thinking it’s not around to buy in the US.

What is the alternative and is reactivating the gel coat necessary for more than a physical bond?

It is easy to get at any fiberglass supply store.



Styrene is everywhere
Every drink coffee from a white foam cup? Polystyrene.

Every drink water that came through black plastic pipes? ABS is the plastic. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

ABS is also the outer skin of royalex.

Got tires on your car? Styrene-Butadiene rubber.

Ever walk on a carpet? Styrene butadiene latex is what holds the pile to the backing.

Brush your teeth? Toothbrush handles are made from Styrene Acrilonitrile plastic.

There is no need to use styrene…
…for gelcoat repairs. Just sand the damaged gelcoat and apply the new. For more details, see my Webshots album on the subject at:


I went there
Very helpful photos.

Why did you take your molded in seat out? And a question about the hip braces or uprights you cut. DOn’t you still need something there to support the sides of the coaming when entering and exiting the kayak?

Thank you,


What is Styrene?

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 8:55 AM EST –

Styrene is one of those chemicals that once it's stabilized in finished products is relatively harmless but in it's raw form it's a chemical you don't want to play with unless you have the adequate ventilation. Note: the key word is ventilation with good ventilation it is used all the time in the manufacture of plastic and fiberglass products.

Without going into a long boring explanation it's listed by OSHA as a carginogen(cancer causing), the following is from a typical MSDS for Styrene.

Human health hazards - Aspiration into the lungs may cause chemical pneumonitis which can be fatal. Harmful by inhalation; may cause lung damage if swallowed. Irritating to skin and eyes. Slightly irritating to respiratory system. Target organs: Central nervous system, auditory system, liver, respiratory system.

Safety hazards - Flammable liquid. In use, may form flammable/explosive vapor-air mixture. Electrostatic charges may be generated during handling. Highly reactive. Dissolved oxygen and inhibitor should be maintained at proper levels to prevent runaway polymerization. Vapor is heavier than air, spreads along the ground and distant ignition is possible.

Not to quibble (but I guess I will), but vinyl is the outer skin of Royalex. Royalex is a laminate comprised of a foam core ABS sheet (sometimes in multiple layers) sandwitch covered by a protective vinyl outer layer.

Styrene does suck by the way, I used it at a former job extensively; it’s quite nasty. In most cases, I think you’re better off spending the extra cash on true epoxy; it’s stronger and generally safer to work with.


The stock seat wasn’t comfortable for my paddling style. Other than that, there was nothing wrong with it. I have three of them sitting in my basement.

The cheekplates and seat don’t support the coaming, it’s the other way around. The seat hangs from the coaming and only has foam pads underneath. Removing the seat actually reduces stress on the coaming. The replacement hip pads are simple and effective.