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How to Repair Inflatable Pool Floats

Pool season isn’t complete without enjoying the warm weather and relaxing in the pool on your favorite float. However, the fun might temporarily stop when you notice that your float doesn’t hold air the way that it used to. It’s typical for a float to experience damage over time, so what should you do? You might think that it’s time to throw it away and purchase a new one, but after reading this article, there will be no need to! Let us show you how to extend the life of your pool float with a simple DIY repair. 

Locate the Leak

flamingo pool float

Before you can fix your pool float, you have to find the leak! Damage to pool floats commonly occurs along the seams, specifically in high-stress areas or where multiple seams join together. However, pinholes are also common, so it's crucial to check the entire float thoroughly. You may even find more than one leaking area. 

Start by fully inflating your pool float. Once it’s completely filled, listen closely for a hissing sound (air leaving the float) and even feel around the float for airflow. If you’re having a hard time finding the area in need of repair, gently press on the float to make the sound of airflow louder and easier to find. 

For pinholes and slow leaks that are harder to locate, we recommend trying the water and dish soap method. Spray your float with a mixture of water and dish soap, which will cause the pinhole to create bubbles — making it easier to find the leak!

Mark the leak with painter’s tape or a washable marker, so you’ll know exactly where to place your repair patch.

Gather Your Supplies 

vinyl repair kit

Next, grab your deflated pool float and a vinyl repair kit. Leslie’s offers two types of vinyl repair kits, both of which can be ordered online or purchased at your local Leslie’s. Both types work well, so the choice comes down to personal preference and convenience. Here are your options: 

  1. Peel-and-Stick Patches: These easy-to-use patches provide a quick fix for your deflating pool float. 
  2. Glue and Clear Vinyl Patch: These kits include an adhesive and a clear patch, offering a more traditional repair method. 

Ready to fix your favorite float and get back into the water? Follow these next steps for a clean and effective repair! 

Clean the Area

Depending on where the leak is located, deflating the float may make your DIY experience easier to complete. 

Before applying the patch, clean the area for a smooth application process. To make sure your patch adheres properly, you’ll need to clean the area surrounding the leak with a clean cloth and rubbing alcohol. Pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol onto your cloth, then gently wipe the area around the leak. 

Cut and Apply the Patch

Next, take your patch and cut it to size. We suggest rounding out the corners of your patch to help prevent it from peeling off of your float. 

Now it’s time to apply the patch! The application method will vary slightly depending on the type of repair kit you have. Here’s what you’ll need to do for each type of kit: 

  • Peel-and-Stick Patch: If you have a peel-and-stick patch, simply peel off the backing and carefully place the patch over the leaking area. Firmly press down to ensure it sticks well, smoothing out any wrinkles or air bubbles.
  • Glueable Patch: If you have a glueable patch, apply the adhesive to both the damaged area and the patch. Carefully place the patch over the leaking area and press down firmly. Make sure there are no wrinkles or air bubbles, as they can compromise the seal.

The Waiting Game

This is arguably the hardest part — waiting. You need to give the adhesive time to set. Follow the instructions on your repair kit for the recommended drying or setting time. If you used peel-and-stick patches to repair your float, the standard wait time is up to two hours. The wait time for glue-on patches may take up to 24 hours.

In the meantime, resist the temptation to re-inflate or use your float. Patience is key to ensuring a strong, lasting repair.

Test Your Repair

Once the wait is over, it’s time for the moment of truth! Re-inflate your float so that it's nice and firm, and give it a test float. If it stays afloat without losing air, congratulations! You've successfully fixed your float, and it’s as good as new.

If you ever find your favorite float looking less than fully inflated, don’t fear! Repairing your inflatable pool float is an easy process. Just remember these simple steps: locate the leak, clean the area, apply the patch, and wait. You’ll be back to floating in your pool in no time. 

For more helpful pool care tips, tricks, and resources check out our Resource Center, visit our YouTube channel, or stop by your local Leslie’s and speak with one of our experts!

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Leslie’s makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and Leslie’s assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Leslie’s assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.