Outside rivets


Well-Known Member
Does anyone know of a place that will re-rivet boats from the outside only for access?
Is this even possible?
You can get closed end pop rivets at your local Fastenal store (there is one in Simcoe near Procter Marine). They will likely have to order them in but they only take a day or two. I got some last year and they work fantastic. Make sure you order Aluminum rivets with Aluminum mandrels (not steel mandrels) otherwise you will have a rust staining problem from the mandrels. Here is a link to the catalogue page:

do you need a special riveter. I have no idea what rivets suck and with no access to floor i can't fill boat up and watch to see which ones leaking. I just want to take from the chine down, remove one, put one in, due the whole bottom. I have a buddy who has a paint booth so boat will most likely be getting a paint job.
Is this the proper way to do it or should the inside be exposed and done the way the factory did it?
This is the correct way! Make sure you do not have a cheap rivet gun. You may even consider renting an air powered rivet gun. Use some 3M marine grade sealant available at Proctors to put in the hole before setting the rivet and a little drop in the divot left in the rivet. It is easy just take your time.

one more question. I really appreciate this guys. i've drilled out rivets before. You can usually see the centre of the rivet from the outside, or regular old rivets. how do i know what size drill bit to drill them out?
I think i'll just rent an air riveter and just drill a couple out at a time and put in new ones. I'll do the entire bottom of the boat and be done with it. New floor and a paint job and boat should be good to go for a long time again!
Most boat rivets are 3/16" but the only way to tell for sure is to drill one out. You will need to centre punch on the centre of the rivet to get your drill to start without wandering. The sealant in the holes is also a great idea but if the seams are leaking you may need to give the bottom a coat of "Gluvit" to seal it up 100%.

You can buy an air riveter at Princess Auto for about $69 and they work pretty well and last for thousands of rivets (I've worn out a couple of them over the years doing stock car bodies). I'm not sure if you can rent one or not but for $69 it would likely be worth buying it because it sounds like you may need it for a while...

i have a lund and it is leaking from loose rivets and was not aware that there was rivets that can be used from the outside without takeing the floor out. So these rivets have no hole in the midddle of the rivet does a regular rivet gun work and how does it work. This would be great as my boat is leaking quit bad and could fix it on my own any more info would be great thanks in advance.
You do not need as special rivet gun. If you follow the first link I posted for Fastenal, you can get all the details on the rivets. They look and operate just like a regular pop rivet but the end is solid aluminum instead of hollow.
We have done our big boat (18ft Starcraft)more than twice and find it is much better to take the floor out Mark . You can find your leakers by filling your boat up with water from a hose while it's on the trailer and watch the hull for the leaks marking them with a black magic marker. If you are going to replace existing rivets careful removing them or you while make the hole too big for a new rivet. Like they said above make sure you use a sealant around the rivet when you replace them either with or without removing the floor.
When we did it with the floor out after you have identified the problem rivets sometimes it just needed a new hit with the air powered rivet hammmer but have someone on the inside with a solid piece of metal to go against the rivet when it's hit to ensure it expands .
I have even used regular rivets to temporarily repair a missing rivet just make sure it is well covered with sealant .
thanks for all you help guys, i'm doing my floor first hopefully and will be filling up the boat as much as i can. I've already identified some buy having the boat with a bit of water in it and then lowering the tongue, i found 4 rivets that leaked, with a bit of silicone, they stopped, but obviously thats just a quick bandaid.
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