How To Repair A Leaky Pool Raft

Pool rafts made of vinyl and canvas often develop leaks. A leaky raft can easily be repaired by using a raft repair kit.

Pool rafts are great for adding fun and relaxation to your swimming pool activities in the summer. But with heavy use they are susceptible to punctures and tears. Nothing is more discouraging than having your favorite raft lose air. Pool rafts are becoming increasingly more expensive, so it is not cost effective to replace them as soon as they develop a leak. Following are the procedures for repairing leaky pool rafts so you do not have to dispose of your favorite rafts. Also some general tips for preventing leaks are included.

If your pool raft starts to slowly deflate and become squishy there is a good chance it has a hole. The first step however is to check the air stem caps. The stem is the opening that you use to inflate the raft, the cap closes over the stem to keep the air in the raft. The cap can be loosened and opened with normal pool use. Sometimes children pull on the caps opening them in the process. If the cap is opened air will leak out. Fill the raft back up with air and close the cap. If the raft holds air then the cap was the cause of the leak. The caps can be faulty over time and just not stay closed. If this is a problem you can purchase tape that is waterproof and place it over the closed cap to help it stay in place.

If your stem caps are fine then you have a tear or puncture causing the leak. It can be difficult to locate the source of a leak because only a tiny pinhole can cause a raft to lose air. First visually inspect the raft. If a larger hole or tear is the source you may be able to easily find it by just looking. If you cannot locate the leak by sight there are two other methods to use. If the raft has lost a good portion of its air place it in the pool. Push the raft under the water. Apply pressure with your hands on the raft starting at the top and working your way to the bottom keeping the raft under water. Turn the raft over and repeat the procedure. Bubbles will form in the water as air escapes from the hole so you can locate the source of the leak. If the raft still has too much air to easily submerge it completely in the pool you will have to locate the hole by sound. Place the raft on a soft surface such as grass, making sure there are no rocks or sticks underneath. Apply pressure with your hands on the raft starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. Listen carefully for any hissing sounds. This tells you air is escaping and you have located the leak.

You will need a patch kit to repair the leak once it is located. Many times a repair patch is included when you purchase a raft. If not you can go to any pool supply store and purchase a raft repair kit. The kit consists of a patch of vinyl or canvas that is self-adhesive. Simply peel the protective paper off the back and place the patch over the leak. Press down firmly on the patch and smooth it over to ensure an even, firm bond with the raft. You can then re-inflate the raft and it will be ready to use again.

A few simple preventative measures will help protect your favorite rafts from tears and punctures. Rafts should be stored away from sharp objects when not in use. Do not drag rafts across rough surfaces such as cement or wood decks. If rafts are placed in the grass to dry be sure there are no rocks or sticks underneath. Teach children not to sit or jump on rafts when they are out of the water. Repeated jumping on rafts even when in the pool can weaken the vinyl or canvas material making them more likely to puncture. Have fun with your rafts; just use good judgment on the amount of abuse they receive. With a few preventative measures and raft repair kits you can get many summers of fun from all your pool rafts.

© High Speed Ventures 2011