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Thread: What to use to repair a cracked water butt

  1. #25
    Kerans is offline Germinator
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    Replying to this old thread since it's the top result on Google for 'cracked water butt' etc.

    I used the plastic welding method to fix a cracked/split HDPE Harcostar 300L water butt, which I split at the bottom in two separate places by climbing on it.

    I just used a cheap low powered 15W soldering iron - it could be easier with a better iron. Here's what you can try:

    1. Empty and clean the barrel both inside and out, and scrub the splits clean.
    2. Push the splits back together if you can and then leave the butt to dry in the sun for an hour.
    3. Drill small holes at the ends of each of the cracks to stop them spreading (make sure you drill from both inside and out as the split may be longer on one side or the other).
    4. Cut some strips of plastic about 1/4 cm wide from the top rim of the barrel to use as welding rods.
    5. Cut one of the strips into plugs to fill the drill holes, with a little bit protruding.
    6. Get your soldering iron hot and then melt the plugs from both sides until the drill holes are filled.
    7. You'll have the climb into the butt with a head torch to do the inside - I used a length of hosepipe as a breathing tube so I didn't have to breathe in any 'orrible smoke. Regardless, take regular breaks.
    8. Now solder the strips along/over the cracks, melting them and trying to heat/melt both sides of the crack as well to weld properly. I went over each side of each crack twice. You only want to do this once so take your time and do a proper job.
    9. Smooth down any rough areas inside and out with the flat of the iron so you don't miss any bits.

    Leave the butt for 24h before re-filling a little way waiting to check you've not left any obvious holes. Make sure the butt is on a good base with no sharp bits of wood/brick/stone etc which could re-puncture it, then allow to refill.

    If all is good then your repair should hold when the water butt is full. At 300L mine is obviously very heavy when full but has had zero leaks for 6 months now.
    Scarlet, Martin H, Jay-ell and 1 others like this.

  2. #26
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    roitelet is offline Early Fruiter
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    I find that a hot glue gun, and I do mean hot not one of those low temp ones, works fine. Just clean the crack and pump the hot plastic into it. I only ever do it on the outside ‘cos my arms aren’t long enough to reach inside!
    Last edited by roitelet; 27-09-2018 at 12:29 PM.
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  3. #27
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    I've also use the melt/welding technique for repairing some plastics - in my case a chunky old screwdriver blade heated up with a blow-torch.

    For those who either don't fancy this or who have a butt with a tricky to reach hole then another cheapo method I've used is a) drain the butt, b) mix up a couple of shovel fulls of cement at about 3 parts sand to 1 - c) wodge this in the bottom of the butt and leave for a few days d) warm up some bitumen and pour that in - then leave for a couple of days. This has worked fine for me on plastic and metal - I used it a few times on old metal watering cans for example.
    Last edited by nickdub; 27-09-2018 at 12:58 PM.
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  4. #28
    bario1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickdub View Post
    For those who have a butt with a tricky to reach hole
    I hope no-one stoops to making juvenile jokes about this.
    Nicos likes this.
    He-Pep!

  5. #29
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Hence the expression " he was the butt of the joke" I suppose :-)
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  6. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerans View Post
    ....which I split at the bottom in two separate places by climbing on it.
    You weren't trying to jump over it dressed as a plumber after it was thrown from the top of a step ladder by a mate dressed in a gorilla suit?
    bario1 and Kerans like this.

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