What sticks to polyethelene?

I am finally taking a canoe trip with a buddy on some class I & II stuff and need to outfit my Discovery 164. My question is, can I add a PVC Canoe D-Ring Patch to a polyethylene boat? If not, what can I use? Do I need a different patch or special glue? I need to tie down gear and float bags and did not want to add lash points to the gunwales if I dont have too. Does anybody know what I can do OR have any other good option for me.

Thanks in advance for any help.


You might get by with West G-flex .
I’ve heard another adhesive touted that’s called Plexus. Some others here will know more.

The way I have my principal WW cruiser set up, the foam saddle is held in mainly by thwarts. My thighs are held down by padding on the center thwart, and my knees are located by knee wedges, knee pads, and the sides of the boat. This kind of outfitting would be more than adequate for an OT 164, because you’re not going to roll the boat or run slalom courses.

People sometimes assume that the kind of outfitting used by class 3-4 whitewater OC-1 paddlers is also necessary in longer canoes. I know a couple of guys who could paddle your boat, or an old Blue Hole OCA, and beat most of those class 3-4 guys on a slalom course, because they’ve already done it. And both used “loose” outfitting with no thigh straps.

Someone over on C-Boats is recommending 3M 8005 or 8010. It’s designed for polys. I found it on Amazon.

I was told…
I was in my local boat shop the other day asking the exact question. I’m prepping my poly Charles River for a trip. The shop owner told me to take a torch and very gently warm the plastic. Don’t melt it. Apparently, this will allow the softened plastic bond better with the glue and adhere to the D-ring patch.

I haven’t tried it, and putting torch to a plastic boat has me a little nervous.

Contact cement
The kind in the red can is the only thing that has worked for me in really gluing down outfitting in poly boats. Light torching beforehand helps but is rarely needed if the patch surface for the d ring is big enough.

torch on poly
is used to oxidize the surface to improve the bond.

I used Weldwood contact cement
on my OT Disco, 20 years ago and it is still holding strong today.

If I were to glue something to it today, I would use Marine Goop. You have some wiggle room as you attach it

Jack L

plastic welding is the best way
I’ve done quite a bit of research and after a lot of experimentation, I believe plastic welding is the best way. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. Glues, regardless of how compatible they may be made, just don’t bond as well as heating the plastic. There is a lot of advice on this and someone already mentioned the torch thing so all it really is is heating the plastic a bit so that it would bond with a similar piece of plastic. Note however, that not all plastics can re-bond this way. Check the manufacurer of your boat. Also be carful of gravity acting on the area you heat so that it could ‘sink’ downward. heat as small an area as possible at a time. There are small plastic welding kits avaiable or you can use an electrical soldering iron with a flat tip. If you choose this way need more advice pleas ask. I will be happy to guide you.

Various Welding Solutions
It is extremely important to know what the boat is made of - first !

Then you can go ahead and fix it with welding


I’ve had very poor results from welds done by the local dealer on my poly boat. After three attempts the boat was replaced under warranty. I would try some epoxy or even contact cement before welding on Poly. The welds were brittle and cracked quickly.

I did enjoy the replacement but it took an entire year to make all the required repair attempts first.

What sticks to polyethylene?
Anything hot.

I once had a coal stick to my old polyethylene drysuit. I bet you could get a coal to stick to a boat.

PE can’t be glued the same way like other polymers, the bonds are too weak. You can enforce it using an increased surface (sanding) or oxidizing (flame), but the best thing to attach something to PE is simply to use a screw.

G-Flex should work
I have used West Systems G-Flex epoxy for repairs on polyethylene boats with good results, both to repair cracks and to bond fiberglass to polyethylene.

I have not tried bonding PVC to poly but West Systems adhesion data shows a tensile bond strength for properly treated PVC (nearly 2100 psi) that is nearly as great as that for properly treated high-density linear polyethylene (just over 2300 psi).

DAP Weldwood and other contact cements are not adequate to hold in D-ring patches that are subjected to any real stress, in my experience, although they work fine for securing foam pedestals and kneeling pads and other items not subject to traction forces.

Thermal welding has been popular for repairing cracks in high-density linear polyethylene boats and appears to work well. It has mixed results on cross-linked polyethylene. I have never heard of anyone trying to thermally weld dissimilar materials (like polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene) together with thermal welding.

Proper surface preparation for both PVC and polyethylene is to thoroughly clean the surfaces to be bonded with isopropyl alcohol and then after they dry passing the tip of the flame of a propane torch over the surface to be bonded a few times. As was correctly said by one poster, flaming the surface is all about oxidizing it. It has nothing to do with warming or softening the plastic, and you don’t even want the surface to be particularly warm to touch after doing so.

This was helpful to me.

G Flex

Take a look at the article entitled “D-Ring Pads and G Flex Epoxy.” I found that stuff to hold to poly like nothing else. I credit g2d for turning my on to G Flex a couple of years ago when I asked a qustion similar to yours. Great stuff.


Good article
Any idea how many pounds are typically exerted on a d-ring used for thighstraps in whitewater?? I’m guessing typically in the 30-100lb range?

3M DP8500
Very expensive and has a six month shelf life, so don’t buy it on ebay.

check this…

not sure if they are even in business anymore ,it’s been a few yrs since last time i seen this stuff @ a show. Worth a try

Don’t do that