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I am looking for a way to repair a cut in the plastic (polyurethane?) window that serves as a rain/wind guard on a Burley trailer:

enter image description here

I do not care if the fix is ugly or isn't see-through like the original window. I am only looking for a fix that is:

  1. durable, and
  2. rainproof.

I am guessing some kind of patching would be the best solution. But I am not sure what kind of patch would adhere to that surface and remain durably stuck to it given how much that area is exposed to the elements and gets moved around (the window opens by rolling it up and attaching it with a strap, so it undergoes a lot of flexing and bending as we use the trailer daily).

As a dirty and hacky alternative, I thought about coating the area in superglue well beyond the cut itself. But I have no idea whether that fix would satisfy either of 1. or 2.

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  • 1
    Forget superglue. It's far too brittle. The rubber-toughened sort might survive the very first use, but still wouldn't last long. Superglue also won't bond well to that plastic (which btw I think is PVC)
    – Chris H
    Aug 18 at 20:28
  • 1
    Find an outfit locally that repairs convertible roofs. Aug 19 at 0:59

4 Answers 4

14

I was going to suggest any clear roofing repair tape.

A manufacturer known as Gorilla have a product with the following description. Other brands are available.

Gorilla Tape Crystal Clear is incredibly strong and perfect for virtually invisible repairs. This tape forms a flexible, airtight seal, indoors and out – it even sticks underwater!*

Hand tearable with an ultra-strong adhesive layer, Gorilla Tape Crystal Clear is perfect for professionals, DIY, crafting and everyday uses. You can seal paddling pools, repair camping equipment, phone screens and more!

*Surfaces must be clean, smooth, non-porous and water must be rubbed/pressed out from underneath tape. Not for use on applications under pressure or on seams. Overlapping tape may cause leaks.

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  • 9
    That should work, but get the plastic scrupulously clean first - wash, rinse with clear water, and maybe even wipe with denatured alcohol. The thinner clear repair tape I have would benefit from being used on both sides. Cut the ends nicely, rounding the corners, and overlap the ends of the cut by a couple of cm.
    – Chris H
    Aug 18 at 20:26
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    Totally agree with @ChrisH about rounding the corners. It reduces the possibility of the patch peeling of.
    – Jahaziel
    Aug 18 at 20:43
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    I have to agree with @ChrisH rounding the corners of the patch. Those un-rounded patch corners are weak spots that become the initial points of failure for many a patch.
    – Ted Hohl
    Aug 18 at 20:44
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    Patch both sides also 👍 Aug 19 at 4:39
  • I suspect rubbing alcohol is likely to be adequate. It’s a more common household item than denatured alcohol.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Aug 20 at 1:40
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The first alternative I can think of is a variety of thick and wide, transparent packing tape. In my country they sell "Gorilla tape". It's really thicker than regular and you can get a roll that is 3 inches wide. I have not tried in that specific type of repair, but to protect a label I had made on a ceramic coffee cup and that piece of tape withstood frequent washing and microwaving no problem at all. (Actually the mug got broken due to a fall before the tape shown any damage). You would just need to clean and dry the plastic before applying the tape.

(Edit: For anyone not in the USA, like me, special tapes like the repair tape mentioned by @ChrisH may not be available locally, or may be not popularly known by that name. Here they some times sell specialty tapes, often unbranded or generic but due to similarity, they are located in the same aisle than regular packing tape. For example, clear, fiberglass reinforced tape is available, but you have to personally look for it, since the store clerk may not know it by name. The tape I mention is indeed way thicker than regular packing tape, it would be overkill unless your'e sealing a really big box with heavy contens.)

Second: Here it is very common to use a piece of transparent plastic on top of the table cloth in order to prevent food and beverage spills from staining it. It is sold in some hardware stores and plastic item stores. It is available In various thicknesses. You may be able to buy a yard of the material (for relatively cheap) and sew a whole new window. (replace the whole transparent piece by a new one). Sewn plastic can be rainproof for light rain, just use a needle that is thinner than the thread.

Another source for transparent (or not) plastic is a shower curtain or a rain cape. Those kind of items are easily available on supermarkets and "dollar stores". You may be able to get a color that even works better for you in terms of aesthetics/visibility. For example, if that where me, Id use a thick yellow raincoat. Since you need a small piece of fabric, you may re use an old or damaged one.

A third option is the kind of patch that are sold for inflatable pools and pool toys. Those are light, flexible and usually come with a suitable adhesive. Since they are airtight when applied correctly, they should be waterproof. Such items can be bought cheaply when off season. I once patched the inflatable ring of a large pool that was later "abandoned" in the patio for somewhat longer than a year. The patch did resist very well even under tropical sun. It certainly lasted until the pool ruptured somewhere else.

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    Don't substitute packing tape for repair tape. It's far thinner and weaker, especially in the presence of UV. But you also don't need the premium gorilla brand. Clear repair tape is widely available from camping shops (tent windows are the same) as well as shops selling DIY (home improvement) supplies.
    – Chris H
    Aug 18 at 20:48
  • I'm also not in the US, but gorilla brand is sold in many countries, rather expensively.
    – Chris H
    Aug 20 at 10:08
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    And that plastic sews well as you say - I've done almost the opposite, making a window for a toptube bag out of the plastic from a trailer
    – Chris H
    Aug 20 at 10:11
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Alternatively, I would try a waterbed repair kit if the window is soft and flexible. The downside is that the patch material is usually opaque - the color is often dark blue, brown, or black. On the upside, the patch remains flexible, and when done correctly (on the correct type of plastic), it will provide a water-tight seal that'll last for years with daily use.

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If you do not care about 'look through', ducktape, the silver version that is used for almost all repairs.

Cleaning the plastic before you add the tape will help, but it might even work raw.

This is not the long lasting almost invisible version of the other answers, it is a cheap and dirty version with what many people already have in the house. But this tape often stays on for very long.

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