How to Weld PVC Fabric

Torn PVC fabric loses its ability to hold pressure, as with inflatable boats, or to keep rain and wind from entering a protected area, as with large tents.

Inflatable boats use PVC fabric to hold air.Inflatable boats use PVC fabric to hold air.
Torn PVC fabric can be patched, using heat to weld the pieces. Incorrectly welding the material can burn the edges of the tear, causing the fabric to lose its strength, or result in a weak repair that pulls apart soon afterward.

Lay the plywood on a stable work surface. Place the PVC-coated fabric on the plywood.

Sand a 2-inch-wide path along the edges of the tear in the fabric with 180-grit sandpaper until no clear coating remains. Do the same with the patch. Wipe off the sanded surfaces.

Mix the cleaner and water in the bucket until they are well blended. Soak the sponge in the solution, and use it to clean the sanded sections of fabric. Allow the solution to remain on both pieces for 30 to 45 seconds. Rinse the fabric with clean water and let it dry for three to four hours.

Slide the adapter onto the welder. Turn on the welder. Adjust its setting to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and wait until it reaches that temperature.

Set the patch, sanded side down, over the sanded tear. Slide the nozzle between the two pieces of fabric. Let the welder sit until smoke emits from the seam. Slide the welder one nozzle width down the lapped seam. Immediately compress the heated section of the seam with the roller.

Continue working down the seam with the welder and roller until the patch is welded over the tear. Let the welded seam cool for 30 minutes before moving the fabric.

Things You Will Need

  • Plywood
  • PVC fabric patch
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Rag
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose cleaner
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Plastic bucket
  • Sponge
  • Flat nozzle adapter
  • Hot air welder
  • Rubber roller

Tip

  • Move the welder more quickly if the edges of the fabric start to turn brown.