raft deck coating/varnish question - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-06-2017   #1
Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 6
raft deck coating/varnish question

I am considering some sort of rubberized coating for the wooden raft decking I've made: similar to tuff coat, super deck or truck bed liner. Have any of you made your own boards and used a similar coating with any success? Suggestions? I'm a bit overwhelmed by the options, so I would love to know what has or hasn't worked for any of you.

Or, would I be better off to stick with good ol' fashioned sparr varnish?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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Old 04-06-2017   #2
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I use Spar Varnish on my plywood dancefloors and redo them every couple of years or so. I like the look of the wood and the texture that a decade of wear has added makes for nice traction. I left them outside this winter and was looking at them yesterday. They held up really on the fresh coat from last summer.
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Old 04-06-2017   #3
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Belgrade, Montana
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I also use spar varnish but add aluminum oxide powder to the parts I want grippy. It's worked great for me. Previously I've used deckover type paints, varnish with sand and some varnish with rubber in a driftboat. The rubber doesn't last well as the little spheres deform and pop out after a time. I've been very happy with the aluminum oxide and it doesn't change the appearance - you can still see the wood beneath. It's also very fine grained and doesn't abrade body parts. The perfect amount of grit in my opinion - it's kind of like 220 grit sandpaper, but with much fewer grains.
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Old 04-06-2017   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: May 2011
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Over 5 years ago I cut my running boards out of some standard 3/4 MDF and sparvar'd them. They lasted about 2-3 years. I sanded and reSpar'd and got on more season.

Then I did a light sanding and painted with some DYI Truckbed Liner from Monstaliner do-it-yourself roll-on truck bed liner outperforms Herculiner Bed Liner, Duplicolor and Rustoleum Road Warrior. Coming up on my 3rd season and they look great. Totally would recommend this, especially since you can pick your color and they have a UV protectant. I did a dark grey and they don't really get hot in the sun either.
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