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Thread: Finish for deck

  1. #1
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    Default Finish for deck

    Im after a finish for a white beach deck and transom
    Ideally I would like a matt or semi gloss finish and one that can be touched up or recoated with just a light sand.
    This is for a boat that is kept under cover and used mainly on fresh water.
    Any recommendations.

    Nick
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  3. #2
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    Default

    Given your desire for an easy touch up, varnish is the only good choice. It's not as durable as the polyurethanes, but a hell of lot easy to repair, touch up and recoat. Tradisional oils (Dutch oil, etc.) will not offer anywhere close to the durability of varnish, nor the gloss retention.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply
    Would that be oil or water based varnish
    Does it have to be marine grade?
    Will varnish penetrate and colour the wood
    How often would I need to recoat

    Thanks in anticipation

  5. #4
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    Real varnish is oil based. Some new products are acrylics (water based) and these don't hold up as well as the oils, but can be easier to apply and don't smell, plus can dry really quickly in comparison. You can try house hold varnishes, but these don't have all the things in them as marine grades. The price difference isn't that different, so why take the chance. Lastly, buy the best varnish you can, as you'll get a better product. The cheap stuff is cheaper, because it doesn't have as much of the stuff in it as you want or need, so these products aren't as durable.

    If the wood is raw, unsealed, then yep, it'll penetrate a bit, depending on several things like; application techniques, temperature, humidity, viscosity, etc. Penetration isn't as important as film thickness, so several thin coats, not a few heavy ones. I usually start with 6 and go up (often quickly) from there. If you want a show quality finish, then you're looking at 6 - 9 bulking coats and 6 - 9 finish coats, with scraping, compounding and polishing afterward. I just did a deck hatch, with 10 bulking coats and 7 finish coats, eventually getting me to a point where I could progress up from 1,000 grit, though 2,500 grit, where I polished out the surface with a buffer for a mirror finish. Don't expect mirror quality with hand applied finishes, unless you've got some serious "flowing" skills. I spray all coats.

    Recoating or touch ups depend on the amount of abuse the finish sees. In your enviroment, exspect annual touch ups with recoating every couple of years. If the boat is stored indoors, out of direct sunlight, you can get longer recoat times. I have a runabout I built in 1988 that's been refinished once since built. It lives in a windowless barn, that is covered with trees, so it doesn't get hot inside (I'm in a sub tropical environment). This is how it's lasted nearly 30 years with only one recoat, but most don't have this luxury. Lastly, varnished surfaces don't last well under a tarp or boat cover, unless the cover is suspended over the boat and not physically touching the finish. Even the slightest wind will cause a cover or tarp to move (flap, wiggle, etc.) and this is simply abrasion against the finish. BTW, paint doesn't like it all that much either, but is generally a bit tougher.

  6. #5
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    Default Another option

    Well, I am not a yacht designer etc. but I do own a couple of boats in the Queensland sun. Varnish and survivable are on two words that go together here so I would respectfully disagree. i do have varnish finish on Queensland Maple, yes, but it only survives under canvas covers. No canvas means re-coat every two months minimum! I also have a Huon Pine open boat with an oil finish, Deks Olje. That lasts really well and can be re-coated easily - I would suggest that you look in it.

    I have also been told about a finish called Coelan, which is supposedly a self-healing polyurethane finish. May be worth some research.

  7. #6
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    Default

    I would agree with previous post that Deks Olje is worth a look at.

    Have heard plenty of other good reports about it too.

    I have just done floorboards in a new open boat using this product. Too early to tell yet regarding longevity, but very impressed with the finish I have obtained and ease of application.

    In Australian conditions, varnish is a major commitment to keep up to. That hasn't stopped me using it in other applications though, so if you really want to use varnish then I recommend International Goldspar. There is a new Awlgrip product that sounds good too but I have not used it yet so can't comment.

    Cheers, Cameron.

  8. #7
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    Deks Olje is a semi unique product and one of the first of the modified alkyds to hit the market. It's developed a good reputation and the new Deks Olje 2 would be my choice for your finish application, if you go the urethane route. Naturally, they recomen you use Deks Olje 1 over raw wood, though I'm not convinced this is necessary for good bond, as the original version of Deks Olje was just a resin rich, moderately high solids content alkyd varnish. Deks Olje 2 has some modifiers in it to lower the elongation properties of the cure resin, which makes is more flexible, a good thing on a unencapsulated deck. Do read the instructions with this stuff, because their minimum recommendations will be 2 coats of Deks Olje 1 on raw wood, then 6 coats Deks Olje 2 over the Deks Olje 1. That's 8 coats of not a cheap products, so be careful what you wish for.

    Cameron is correct in that tropic and sub tropical environments can eat a brightly finished deck in no time at all. It's all about what's in the finish (UV inhibitors, solids content, etc.). The better (read more costly) products have more of the stuff you need. I use Bristol Finish up here in the states and it's a high cyanoacrylate modified polyurethane. It's a pretty sensitive goo to apply, easily pissing you off, if you screw up, but it's durable and flows nice with brush and spray application ($50 a quart, including catalyst). I can buy a gallon of the cheap stuff for this price. AwlGrips clear coats and their new varnish are very similar, all being polyurethanes and you can mix and match, using one to over coat another. I don't have any data on this stuff yet, so the jury is still out.

    In the end, it still boils down to the level of care and the storage location the boat will receive. You can use your aunt Millie's special honey corn flour mixture f you want, though it'll need to be stored indoors, out of the sun, probably away from the ants too. On the other hand, if you expect regular to rough treatment and outside storage, a strong argument for a polyurethane would be wise. Good varnish is in between the high end polys and the low end oils, plus it's easy to repair, if you catch it soon enough. I make my choices by what can be sprayed well and long term durability, so I'm using acrylic urethane and modified polyurethanes. They're harder to apply and repair, but more durable that any of the others.

  9. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks to all for your help
    The Deks#1 would be my preference as I don't want a gloss finish.
    So I'll go with 1 and can add 2 if I'm not happy with the finish.


    Nick

    Sorry for the late reply

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