Fact Checked

What is Vinyl Sealant?

J. Airman
J. Airman

Vinyl sealant is a specialized adhesive that bonds to vinyl plastics to create watertight and airtight seals. Repairs to rips in vinyl-covered automotive and marine upholstery, luggage, above-ground pools and rain gear are often made using vinyl sealant repair kits. The flexibility and strength of the vinyl sealant helps it stand up to continued use and environmental elements once it has been allowed to fully dry. Applying a thin coat of clear sealant to cover such vinyl surfaces as outdoor upholstery and siding prevents much of the wear and tear associated with vinyl products that are exposed to external conditions.

Boats and other marine vehicles have vinyl upholstery that takes the brunt of the worst conditions being out on the water has to offer. Reupholstering worn and discolored vinyl on a marine vessel can get expensive quickly. The preemptive application of a few thin coats of vinyl sealant can guard most new vinyl surfaces against sun bleaching, rain and salt water damage. Sealing the upholstery also causes wet sticky spills to pool on the vinyl surface so they can be easily wiped away. A vinyl sealant application can inexpensively protect the upholstery as well as extend its life and usefulness.

Vinyl upholstery in boats can be sealed to prevent damage.
Vinyl upholstery in boats can be sealed to prevent damage.

Experts typically recommend reapplying vinyl sealant every six to eight months on items that are regularly used or stored outside. Over time and with exposure to weather, the majority of soft pliable vinyl materials can warp and stretch. As a vinyl surface changes shape, it may cause the sealant to lose its adhesion in some areas. Peeling away any old patches and as much of the old sealant as possible before the new product is applied and allowed to fully set can help ensure a smooth application without rough, bumpy patches.

Vinyl sealant may be used on luggage.
Vinyl sealant may be used on luggage.

Sealant repair kits can also be an inexpensive way to save vinyl items that are already damaged and bound for the trash or thrift store. Punctures on inflatable rafts and other water toys can be fully fixed to like-new condition with a sealant repair kit. Many marine sealant and automotive sealant kits include a small vinyl patch that is placed over the hole. The most complete sealant repair kits come with a grain pattern that is pressed into the drying vinyl sealant to give the surface a consistent texture. Vinyl repairs commonly require six to eight hours to fully set up before the repaired item is ready for normal use.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@bluespirit - Great question, I was unaware of this type of sealant as well which is embarrassing since we live on a lake and therefore have water proofing needs, but now my vinyl will be looking much better as soon as I seal it.

As far as toxicity goes I would always be careful if pregnant as there is likely to be some strong chemicals involved in waterproofing an item that is super duty enough to work in "marine" settings.

The good news is, that with the emphasis on being "green" you are more likely, with a little bit of searching to find a non-toxic which is usually of the eco-friendly sort of even vinyl sealants.


Our pool toys have always only lasted approximately one summer season and that is it. I'm talking from rafts to our inflatable basketball goal - all of them might last a week or two into the next season but not much longer.

But now I have a solution for those toys that are vinyl! Are there any toxic factors to consider when using such a sealant, for example, should you avoid vinyl sealant like you avoid paint when you are pregnant?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Vinyl upholstery in boats can be sealed to prevent damage.
      By: Vidady
      Vinyl upholstery in boats can be sealed to prevent damage.
    • Vinyl sealant may be used on luggage.
      By: xcid
      Vinyl sealant may be used on luggage.