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How to Fix Leaky Rivets in Aluminum Boat Effortlessly?

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

how to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boat

After a long time of traveling across rivers and oceans, aluminum boat rivets may appear in your craft. This is inevitable since your vessel has been exposed to harmful factors, such as seawater and extreme weather.

Hence, many boaters are trying to find the best way to replace rivets in aluminum boats. Some may search for professional maintenance services while others prefer the DIY route to save money and improve their skills. That leads us to the question “How to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boats?”

If you are looking for proper instructions on riveting aluminum boats, this article is perfect for you! In this post, we will provide a detailed step-by-step tutorial on the aluminum boat rivet repair process.

Also, other tips and suggestions on aluminum boat maintenance will be mentioned so make sure you stay until the end!

What to Prepare When Practicing DIY Aluminum Boat Riveting

The process of fixing Jon boat rivets is similar but there are differences in the equipment and tools utilized:

We suggest purchasing these items separately. However, if you want, you can also get the whole repair kit.

Steps to Fix Leaky Rivets in Aluminum Boats


Before practicing the procedure, the most important task is identifying all the rivets and damages around the craft. This way, you can fix everything just once and save a lot of time and effort.

After that, follow these steps and practice DIY aluminum boat riveting!

Step 1: Re-assess the vessel to search for leftover leaks

Even if you have carefully examined your boat, there are still chances that some leaky spots were missed. To prevent this from happening, we suggest assessing the entire watercraft once again.

Place the boat on the water or if you want to do this on land, fill your craft halfway with water. Leaky spots are areas where water comes out. Mark them with indelible markers and wait until your vessel is completely dry.

Remove grime with a stiff brush to reveal the bright metal surrounding seams and rivets. To make the job easier, use a hand-drill with a brush attachment.

Step 2: Mixing the epoxy mixture

When you purchase the toughened epoxy, make sure you buy the one with clear instructions on how to mix them. Carefully add the epoxy into a mixing cup and thoroughly whisk it with a mixing stick.

Then, fill the plastic syringe with the epoxy mixture. You could extrude the resin at lower temperatures if you trim the syringe nozzle to a 1/16′′ hole. Before applying the sealant, use a butane torch or heat gun to drain the water behind the rivets.

Step 3: Put on the epoxy mixture

Apply a continuous amount of glue all around the rivets as well as along the hot seam with the syringe. Even the slightest fractures will be filled with epoxy. Melt the metal with a torch to thin the glue to a water-like texture.

Then, as you slide it along, make sure it gets inside the seams and behind the rivets. If the heat is kept consistent, the resin will gel then cure quickly. Overheating the glue to the point it changes its color or smokes is not recommended.

Step 4: Reconnect the rivet gaps

Leaky rivets also need to be filled up during the process. To do this, create an epoxy batch that is as large as the size of the gap. In order to improve the thickness of the epoxy, add up adhesive filler and thoroughly stir it.

Utilize a stirring stick when the first coat of adhesive mixture is still wet. It pushes the adhesive filler into the crevices between the seams or behind the leaky rivets. A syringe filled with the heavier epoxy mixture can be used to force epoxy farther into gaps as well.

Step 5: Remove the leftover resins

While the epoxy is still wet, wipe it off with a clean cloth on both faces. If stubborn epoxy must be removed, proceed with solvents such as lacquer thinners. Paint should not be dissolved, and epoxy should not be scrubbed out of the seams. If you want to use detergent for cleaning, you should choose the right cleaner for your aluminum boat.

For more details, please have a look at this video:

Elements to Assess When Purchasing a Suitable Epoxy


As you can see in the previous section, toughened epoxy plays a crucial role in the process of riveting aluminum boats. Therefore, selecting the most suitable epoxy for your vessel is essential. In this part, we will deliver some factors to consider in purchasing affordable yet qualified epoxy:

1. Water-resistant

Because you’ll be repairing leaks in your watercraft, you should select epoxy resins that are waterproof and designed for usage in damp environments. Usually, liquid epoxy ought to be applied on a dry surface, although it is water-resistant once fully set. Some of the products consolidate and repair themselves while on the water, making them ideal for hull restorations.

2. Effectiveness

To have the greatest results, just use the needed blending and conforming item on your leaking rivets. Stay far away from other boats and consider it a seasonal duty to completely clean up the damaged section. After the area has been thoroughly cleaned and scuffed, burn it with a heat gun to remove any moisture. To achieve the desired effects, apply the epoxy quickly after combining it.

3. Flexibility

Some epoxy versions can be used in more places than others. It’s crucial to think about what kinds of surfaces they’ll work with. Determine whether they’ll work for the original purpose or whether they’re adaptable. Certain epoxies can be polished, molded, or painted, so be cautious.


Understanding the procedure of fixing leaky rivets in aluminum boats is essential to boat owners, especially ones who have metal vessels. Still, before every task, boaters should remember to prepare enough tools and gadgets to repair the seams quickly and efficiently. This will make your work easier and faster without causing any damage.

We hope the above tutorial on how to fix leaky rivets in aluminum boat will help you successfully maintain your aluminum craft’s condition. If you need more information about aluminum boat repair, you can check this guide for more references.

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