How to Repair a Rip in Clear Vinyl

How to Repair a Rip in Clear Vinyl

We all know that rips and tears happen, but when they happen to the clear vinyl in your dodger or enclosure it’s a real bummer. Rips and tears often occur when something sharp or heavy hits the vinyl or falls on it. Don’t worry; it’s a common and fixable problem. We’re going to share with you two different methods for fixing your rip or tear, patching it and replacing the vinyl, so your clear vinyl will be good as new in no time.

Patching Clear Vinyl

The quickest and cheapest way to fix a rip or tear in your clear vinyl is to patch it. Ultimately, we prefer to replace the window but if you need a quick fix or just to make do until a bigger renovation a patch is a great option.

To patch the window, use Tear Aid Type B. These adhesive-backed patches can be used to repair holes and tears in any vinyl or vinyl-coated application so they’re great to have around your boat. Tear Aid patches are durable, flexible and puncture resistant to protect against abrasion, moisture, saltwater, UV rays and extreme temperatures. The patches are clear, but they won’t disappear completely on your clear vinyl.

How to Repair a Rip in Clear Vinyl

How to Apply Tear Aid

  1. Cut the patch so that it is one inch bigger than the rip or tear on all sides.
  2. Then carefully peel back the paper liner and start to position the Tear Aid over the rip on the fabric.
  3. Slowly peel back the liner while carefully applying the patch, taking care to work out any air bubbles.
  4. Rub all the edges to seal the patch in place. If you can, we recommend patching both sides of the rip.
  5. Tear Aid Type B will need 24 hours to fully cure.

Getting the patch on without air bubbles can be tricky, so be sure to take your time. It helps to use a straight edge like the side of a credit card to smooth the patch down. If you do end up with air bubbles, you can carefully pop them with a pin and work them out flatter with your fingers.

Replacing Clear Vinyl

The only true way to fix the rip is to replace the window entirely. This can easily be done without having to completely dismantle your canvas work, too. Here we have a video that demonstrates the process of replacing the glass on a dodger window. You can use this same process on clear vinyl that has become wavy, creased or brittle as well.

How to Replace a Clear Vinyl Window

  1. If needed, rip the stitches so the window will lay flat.
  2. Cut a new piece of window material that will fit the window, using the current window as a pattern.
  3. Baste the new window to the old on the inside of the piece.
  4. Sew the new window material in place.
  5. Flip the piece over and carefully cut out the old window.
  6. If you ripped seams in Step 1, carefully sew that area back together

That’s all there is to it! You can find Tear Aid Type B and replacement clear vinyl at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever ripped your clear vinyl? How did you fix it? Share your experiences in the comments.

6 comments
  1. Jim Blackmore said:

    The process described for vinyl window replacement has been used on our cruiser. It worked well with no wrinkles or folds. However, by leaving the one layer of old vinyl, we quickly developed leaks & had to seal the repair with your products. Do you have any other method to prevent leaks after the vinyl repair?

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Jim,
      We don’t have a fool-proof method for preventing leaks but a couple of things that can help are to use basting tape during your window replacement (the tape helps fill the needle holes) and/or an Anti-Wick Thread. After things have been sewn you could try using Iosso Seam Sealer (http://www.sailrite.com/Iosso-Seam-Sealer-4oz) on the inside of the project.

      • Jim Blackmore said:

        We did use Seam Sealer & it stopped all leaks. Perhaps mentioning this in the video would help.

  2. Heinz said:

    Over years, I have replaced theses windows on our dodger numerous times. Leaving the old edge under the new window would not work in this case.

    May way of tackling replacement is to lay out the dodger on flat surface, remove the old window, make an an exact copy, and use double sticky tape to put it into place. Then sew the vinyl to the canvas.

    • Nikki said:

      That sounds like a great method. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Dan said:

    I use a Fisher silver ink pen, the ink can be removed with any degreaser type product like Fantastik or Formula 409, to trace around the original window from the top using a larger, new piece of clear vinyl before removing the old window. I then add the amount that was under the stitching to the first tracing, and sew it back in. Be sure to use witness marks to locate exactly where the new piece goes.

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