Kayak painting

Submitted byRandy onMon, 05/06/2019 - 17:00

Because of my glass/epoxy problem in a different thread I decided to paint the lower part of the hull of the Pygmy Tern 14 I just completed. My first paint job, no idea how it will hold up or even if I use an acceptable paint. So, I said to myself, maybe we could have a thread where we discuss the pro's and con's and do's and don'ts of painting. I personally like the looks of hull painted kayaks with varnished decks.

This is the, "what and how," of my first paint job. I hand sanded the hull with 220 grit paper. Probably a little fine but I could not use the ROS on it because there was to much flex in the plywood and I wanted to eliminate sanding marks. Using a foam brush, I applied a thin coat of paint then a regular coat an hour later. I used Total Boat JD Select paint from Jamestown Distributors. I have to say it is probably the best paint I have ever used. Zero runs or sags, dries quickly, no brush marks or pin holes. It is a water base paint formulated for salt water use. For me it was almost a true, "lay-it-on" paint as I needed very little brushing to get coverage and flow out. I think a foam brush was the right choice at least for this particular paint. I cannot see where I would have gotten a better finish spraying and a roller would have probably induced bubbles / pin holes.

I varnished to just below my paint line then taped it off and painted over a sliver of varnish just to get a good transition line. 

I am very interested in how everyone else paints their boats, what paint, what tools, what techniques.

Thank you


Mon, 05/06/2019 - 19:29


It sounds like your paint choice worked really well.


I started painting boats 7 or 8 years ago - Interlux 2-part LPU paint (expensive) and then switched to Valspar Industrial Automotive paint.

I've used both colour only gloss paint (LIC-40) and also base-coat and clear systems. For clearcoat I'm using House of Kolor clear.

The Valspar LIC can be rolled/brushed with the appropriate reducer (like the Interlux), but I've never done that.

I use a borrowed spray booth and the 'full kit' of safety equipment, including a HobbyAire fresh-air supply hood.

So for most home builders, my recommendation would be to use a brushable product or hire an auto body painter to paint the boat.

Other thoughts:

I would be very careful - do tests- before putting any of the 2-part LPU paints over varnish. I always paint over appropriate primer/surfacer, which makes a good finish a lot easier, besides ensuring a good bond between the paint layers.



I've never painted below the waterline, always used graphite (black) or hex a boron nitride (white) or a combination of both blended into expoxy. They both create very tough anti abrasive finishes and lay out nicely when mixed properly. They are not very easy to sand off which confirms their usefulness as anti abrasion coatings. 



What technique did you use when painting the two part Interlux LRU paint?  Roll and tip or spray?  If spray, what airless setup did you use since Interlux does not recommend HVLP or conventional  How did it turn out?