We’ve recently seen more complaints on social media about how expensive pickleball paddles are getting. It’s true that many of the newest pickleball paddles on the market are often over a hundred dollars with some pushing the $150+ mark. While paddle companies are launching some pretty amazing products with high tech materials, it’s definitely disappointing for people that buy an expensive paddle only to see it wearing out before it’s time.
One of the most common issues we see and hear complaints about is the paddle’s edge guard coming loose, falling off or lifting up from the paddle edge.
The guard is obviously there to protect the paddle and keep the whole thing together so it’s concerning to see it coming off. One of the biggest problems with a damaged or missing guard is that the paddle layers begin to separate.
Almost all paddles, except for a few brands that make solid, unibody paddles (like the edgeless paddles by Gearbox) are made up of multiple layers usually a core (made of aluminum, Nomex or polymer) and a paddle face made of graphite/carbon fiber or some other composite material. Once the edge guard starts to come off, even partially lifted up, it’s only a matter of time for these paddles (that were designed to have a guard) will start to break down.
Apart from the overall integrity of the paddle, the damage can cause more mishits and give the paddle a weaker feel. Often times you’ll get more vibration or what some player describes as a ‘rattle‘ which can be annoying, negatively affect your shots, and if if the vibration is bad enough could aggravate anyone who suffers from tennis elbow pain.
What Kind of Glue to Fix a pickleball paddle?
The first step is cleaning up the old glue to make sure the new glue will hold. I use Goo Glue for stuff like this, but you don’t need to run out and buy it just for this, (alcohol on a cotton ball works well for a lot of adhesives). You’ll want to get a (small) bead of glue on the inside edge of the guard and then firmly press the edge guard to the paddle.
- Remove old glue
- Don’t overdo it on the glue-people often use too much (glue doesn’t dry/stick properly)
- You’ll need to press the two layers (paddle + guard) together firmly. Depending on which brand of glue you use, it could be 30 seconds or many hours. I do not recommend “Superglue” or similar for this job. A lot of the good quality glues are NOT quick-drying and take longer (some like the E6000 actually work best if left for 24-72 hours to fully cure).
- Leave it to dry: you can use strong rubber bands around the paddle at a few different angles to hold it in place. I would use a velcro strap but again, I just have this stuff around the house for projects, you wouldn’t need to buy it just to fix one paddle- but find something that works to hold it together – before you start with the glue! You need something that can go around the entire paddle and be tied/cinched together.
We’ve asked our readers and followers on social media which glue has worked for them to fix paddles: here are the top three recommendations:
- J-B Weld Plastic Bonder
- Loctite Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic Repair Adhesive
- Best Quick Drying: Gorilla Clear Grip Contact Adhesive
How to prevent damage to your pickleball paddle:
Do not leave your paddle in the car!
I know some friends leave their paddle in the trunk of their car- you never know when you’ll be passing by a court or get a last-minute request from a friend looking for a partner to play. It makes sense to keep an extra paddle in the car, apart from unexpected opportunities to play pickleball – you never know if a paddle will break or someone will show up to the courts and realize they forgot their paddle (seems to be getting more common with my age group ;).
You can definitely save the day – and be the pickleball hero- by being prepared with an extra paddle in your car.
The problem is the inside of your parked car can get very hot- very quickly. If you live in places like Arizona or Florida you’re very aware of this…but you don’t have to live in the hottest parts of the county to experience this.
Even Minnesota, known for its freezing winters, has plenty of summer days that reach into the 90s. Here is how fast a car can heat up on a 95-degree day:
5 mins: the inside your car can go to 110 degrees. By 15 minutes, 122 degrees inside the car. At 30 minutes, your car can get to 128 degrees and after an hour: 135 degrees!
That’s plenty hot for the glue to start getting messy! That’s the main problem, the edge guard to the outer rim of the paddle is almost always held together with glue and the adhesives used to stick them together will start to break down at that temp. Temps inside the car can also get hot enough to start damaging thin layers of polymers and other materials used to make the paddle.
So if you want to have a spare paddle in the car I’d recommend you keep an inexpensive backup paddle. Wood would be the safest option, these paddles usually don’t have an edge guard and even the hottest temperatures in the car should have little effect on the paddle. The one thing I’ve noticed is the grip tape on the handle may get overly tacky from being in the heat but the paddle itself should be in good shape.
Store your paddle in a bag:
When you’re not playing with your paddle, I highly recommend you store it in some kind of pickleball bag. You don’t necessarily need to buy a full backpack, even just a simple paddle case neoprene cover will be enough to give a protective layer in case the paddle gets banged around or you happen to drop it accidentally. Over time, it will save the paddle from wear and tear and should extend its lifetime.
We hope this was helpful if you have any additional suggestions for fellow readers or things we should add to this article please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!