Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Advice Sought

Hancock Creek
34 56.22 N 076 51.48 W

One of the biggest projects I plan to do this winter is to resurface the top decks.  Regular readers know that I've completely bungled the non-skid areas of the deck.  I've resurfaced them 5 times now, and we are left with two major problems.  1) Adhesion.  The paints keep flaking off.  2) Dirt.  The aggressive non-skid properties of the paint attract and hold dirt and are impossible to clean.

I realize now that what I should have done was to resurface the gel-coat on the non-skid areas.  But now it is too late.  Too much sanding has occurred   I need to sand it down to bare glass and to resurface it.  I would also like to put a new overcoat on the smooth areas too for better cosmetics.

There are two approaches.  1) Use special deck mat materials glued on. For example seadek 2) Put down new gelcoat, using waffle patterns for non-skid areas.

With the mats, I worry about the edges if the matting does not cover everything.  There  might be a tendency for the edges to curl up.  I also don't know about ease of cleaning.

With the gelcoat I worry about my lack of skill and experience working with this sensitive material.  However, a nice high gloss gelcoat surface is by far the easiest to keep clean.  Advice from readers would be much appreciated.  


  1. Several years ago, a friend put a Pick up truck bed liner paint on his trawler decks for non-skid. It has a semi sticky surface with some rubberized chunks in it for non-skid. Despite this, the texture is mostly smooth, so it is easy to spray down and get clean.

    I was pretty skeptical when he was considering going that route. But, I was very impressed with the results. Unfortunately, I can't find the link to the stuff and he is off on an open ended camping trip.

    If I find the link to the stuff, I'll forward it on.

  2. Given that you are starting by grinding/sanding down to bare glass, I think I would probably go with a high-quality two-part paint with a non-skid additive. Two-part means that the "skid" parts (smooth areas) can be tough and shiny (so easy to keep clean), and that the shine will last a very long time.

    Regarding adhesion: Two common culprits for adhesion problems are traces of original mold release wax (even decades later, or if "removed" but without using the clean-towel-every-swipe method), and silicone contamination. If you had adhesion problems over a large area, I would suspect the former (although I don't know how you prepped so I'm just guessing).

  3. Can't beat unfinished teak decks for non-skid, beauty, comfort and ease to keep clean and refinish. I love my 36 year old teak decks. I know most people today seem to dislike them for various reasons, maybe you could find someone removing their old 1/2 inch thick W32 teak decks and put it down with epoxy, not fasteners.

  4. after trying several different finishes over 15 years, we have settled on Kiwi Grip. Its a product from New Zealand, holds up fantastically to UV, easy to apply, and very nonskid. Very easy to mask off areas for a fine finished look. The best part is prep and clean up was easy and we are now on year 3 and looks terrific still. We ordered it from Jamestown Ditributors. Good luck, we can't recommend a better product.
    Liz & Andy
    S/V High Hopes

  5. I have been investigating a method to coat our decks. A current owner of a Manatee has completed his deck with Durabak, a truck bed liner material, which may be what brigantine referenced. He is pleased with the results.
    I also have been investigating KiwiGrip and am pleased to see the recommendation from S/V High Hopes. I am leaning that way.
    Joe & Connie
    m/v Chesapeake

  6. I bought deck paint at West Marine without reading the label. Back at the boat, I was dismayed to read that the decks can't be walked on for two days. We have three dogs and a cat. That won't do.

    Pam's dad also used truck bed paint. It came out pretty nice, so I'm looking at that myself now. I'm glad you brought it up first. Good advice here.


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