Installing d-rings to a Royalex hull with adhesive

D-Rings are commonly applied to the inside of canoe hulls to be used as tie-down points for gear, flotation, thigh-straps, etc.  

They consist of a metal D-Ring fastened to a vinyl patch with a piece of webbing.

The outer layer of Royalex is a sheet of vinyl.  The adhesives generally used to adhere the vinyl patch of the D-Ring to the vinyl skin of the Royalex are:


  • Waterproof Contact Cement
  • Vinyl Adhesive

In either case, the approach to use is as follows:

  • Mark the position of the D-Ring by drawing around it on the surface of the canoe
  • Sand the surface of the canoe and the underside of the vinyl patch on the D-Ring
  • Sand only enough to roughen the surfaces of both the patch and the canoe hull.  
  • The webbing holding the D-Ring to the vinyl patch is stitched in place.  If you sand too vigorously, you can break or weaken this stitching and the D-Ring will eventually pull loose.  Sand ONLY the vinyl surface, not the stitching.
  • Remove the sanding residue and wipe both surfaces clean with denatured alcohol
  • Apply a LIGHT coating of the adhesive to both surfaces (hull and patch) and allow to dry until it barely feels tacky
  • Apply a second thin coat to one of the surfaces and allow to dry completely
  • Roll the edges of the patch up and begin to stick it to the hull from the centre outwards
  • Align carefully before you touch the patch to the hull.  There's no second chance here.
  • Maintain pressure until the bond is secure.
  • Wait 24 hours before applying any load to the D-Ring


The two most important things to remember are:  

  • Apply the adhesive as a THIN layer
  • Allow the adhesive to dry before sticking the patch to the hull.

Adhesives in general, and contact cement specifically, emit styrene as they cure.  If you place a thick coat on the hull, then cover it up with a patch, the styrene will migrate into the foam core of the Royalex and partially dissolve the hull material.  This can result in a soft, spongy spot in the hull.


These instructions are general recommendations.  You should consult with your boat manufacturer to ensure they agree with this technique before starting.

Applying too much adhesive; or applying the wrong type of adhesive can result in a permanent soft spot on the hull.