Home replacement of a wrist or bootie (sock) dry suit seal is easy if you have the right tools. Follow these directions for a no fuss installation.
What do You Need?
- A new replacement bootie (sock) or wrist seal(s)
- Sharp scissors
- Duct tape
- Plastic putty spatula
- Latex gloves (optional)
- Aquaseal adhesive
- Cotol 240 cleaner & accelerant (optional)
- Sandpaper (approximately 80 grit)
- Wrist & Bootie Seal Replacement Kit consisting of:
- Wrist seal expanding form and shim dowel insert – small
- Bootie or ankle seal expanding form and shim dowel insert – large
Find a large flat work surface and spread newspaper down. Read through these instructions and our tips at the end, and then you are ready to begin.
Part One: Removing The Old Seal
- Remove the old wrist or bootie gasket from the dry suit using sharp scissors. You will cut along the edge of the suit material leaving the ½-3/4” of original seal that is glued to the suit in place.
- If any part of the original seal remaining is not still securely glued to the suit or is dry rotted or gummy (sticky) you will want to remove the entire remaining seal from the suit. Follow our directions in our Tips at the bottom of this page.
Part Two: Prep the Suit & Seal
- Seals at the factory can be glued to either the inside or outside of the suit. Turn your suit either right side out or inside out such that the remaining seal is facing outwards and is visible.
- If replacing a bootie seal, make a small pen mark on the suit just above where the seal is attached in the front of the suit and on center. This will be your reverence to ensure the bootie is glued in the correct orientation.
- Insert the proper form into the opening of the suit – the small form for wrist seals or the large form for booties. Put the suit down such that the remaining seal material that is attached to the suit is at the very edge of the form.
- Now insert the dowel to keep the form expanded and the suit cuff taught to form a good working surface. Use wadded up paper on one end of the dowel to shim it up and create good pressure to the form and suit cuff if the dowel is too short.
- If your suit is inside out, turn the replacement seal inside out (white sizing stamp facing out) or if your suit is right side out, keep the replacement seal right side out (white sizing stamp facing in).
- Slide the seal down over the form and overtop of the remaining seal material on the suit. Be sure to align the seal to the edge of the old seal. NOTE: if replacing a bootie seal, be sure to align the front, center of the seal with the pin mark you made earlier.
- Using a long strip of duct tape (about a 3/4” wide), tape around the new seal just above the ridge of the old seal. You do not want tape over any area where the seas are on top of each other.
- Next roll the new seal back on its self. the tape will help keep the seal from sliding on the form and only allow the mating surface to be exposed.
Part Three: Adhere new Seal
- Wipe the remaining seal material on the suit and the mating surface of the new seal with Cotal 240 (isopropyl alcohol or acetone can also be sued) to clean away any contaminants that could prevent a good adhesive bond.
- Using the sandpaper, scuff the remaining seal material on the suit until it begins to have a white mat finish. The scuff the rolled back mating surface of the new seal. It only takes a few scuffs for any one area to achieve this.
- Now put on your latex gloves (optional) to keep any Aquaseal from getting on your skin.
- In a plastic up mix three parts of Aquaseal to one part of Cotol 240, and mix thoroughly with a plastic putty spatula.
- Use your plastic putty spatula to spread the mixture onto the old seal only. If you have had to remove the old seal completely, you will want to apply the mixture to the fabric where the old seal had been glued and to the new seal.
- Roll new the seal down onto the area with the Aquaseal and be sure the edges of the new and old seal line up.
- Tear off from the roll duct tape a strip that is wider than the width of the glued seals and long enough to go around the seal about one and a half times.
- Tape over top the glued area applying moderate pressure as you do so.
Step Four: Final Steps
- Allow the Aquaseal to dry for 2 hours. If you did not use Cotol 240 then your dry time will be 24 hours.
- Once dry, remove the duct tape and the forms. The repair is finished.
- Make sure you order a new bootie and writ seals to match the size of your suit – a large bootie seal for a size large dry suit, and so on.
- You can use a makeshift home-made repair kit a using a thin flexible kitchen cutting sheet (thin cutting ‘board’) stuffed with paper to create a working/gluing surface.
- If you need to completely remove the old seal because it is not a viable surface to glue a new seal to, follow these directions carefully:
For more details:
Note: Pulling at a gasket that is well glued can rip the fabric of the suit. When pulling at the seal in different directions, go slowly. The fabric may be strong in one direction, but weaker in another and rip when you removal efforts change direction. If the gasket has been stitched on (in addition to having been glued), use a seam ripper to break the treads prior to removing the seal.
For dry suits made of Gore-Tex
For dry suits made of Gore-Tex (or similar three-layer laminates) use a home clothes iron set a medium heat. Heat either the fabric (inside or out) or the latex seal directly until hot to the touch. Carefully pull the seal off. If it remains stuck or does not come off fairly easily, heat the area with the iron further. Because the latex and glue will remain hot, wearing gloves to remove the seal is recommended. Do not use a heat gun or hair dryer – stick with a clothes iron to concentrate the correct amount of heat to the seal mating area only.
For dry suits made of coated nylon
For dry suits made of coated nylon (two-layer waterproof with a white urethane coating on the inside), you will need to be very careful not to melt away the coating. If you do the fabric will leak in that area. Apply heat only to the latex seal. Do not apply heat directly to the fabric of the suit – do not allow the iron to touch the fabric at any time. Use a home clothes iron set a medium heat. Heat only the latex seal directly until hot to the touch. Carefully pull the seal off.
If it remains stuck or does not come off fairly easily, heat the area with the iron further. Because the latex and glue will remain hot, wearing gloves to remove the seal is recommended. Do not use a heat gun or hair dryer – stick with a clothes iron to concentrate the correct amount of heat to the seal mating area only.