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Old 05-31-2013   #1
San Francisco, California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 105
Paint vs. Spar Varnish

Hello, fellow buzzers,
I just finished making a front cargo deck cover out of marine grade plywood. I had precise cutouts around the speed rail fittings, and routed the corners with 1/4" roundover, and I loved the result.

Now, I need to put some strap holes and seal it. I am debating whether I should go with grey deck paint or marine spar varnish. Which will be more durable? Or practical? I looked at oil based paint called DryLok. Seems to be very durable and UV/Water resistant paint.

I'd appreciate any input from those who are familiar with either kind.

verendus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2013   #2
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
Rhino liner. Spar varnish is expensive and doesent last. Modern bed liners are tough. I've gone the SV route and am going to bed liner after seeing how it lasts on the wood on my buddy's motorcycle trailer. You can get it in a few different colors.

spider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013   #3
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 37
Go with marine spar varnish, paint will start to chip, and once its chipped the water will get under it and make it even worse. Spar will last a very long time. Plus a nice stain and clearcoat look much nicer than paint.
Toshkya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013   #4
prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 276
on my raft and cat i've been using spar urethane varnish on top boards and polyurethane porch paint on bilge boards. this combo seems to be working best for me.

the spar is a little pricey but holds up well if not submerged and has a nice look too. after a few years it gets that honey gold color.

The one thing i would suggest is to epoxy the inside of the holes you make for your strapping and the outside edges of your plywood, too. whether you you paint, spar or whatever, those spots take the beatings and the epoxy holds up better and you can still varnish (or paint) over it.

down-side to the paint and spar: maintenance. you have to redo it sooner or later (depending on your usage and ab-usage & how pretty you want it to look).

86304 is offline   Reply With Quote

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