MiddayGun

Non Skid that works & doesn't look crap?

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What's the best way to get a professional looking non skid deck that will last a while & is easy to keep clean?
Don't mind hard work or spending money on good materials.

No KiwiGrip recommendations please, I used it on my last boat & didn't like it, pretty grippy but it was a nightmare to keep clean & didn't seem to last that well. 
Don't mind having a go at spraying, but keep in mind that I've only got about 10cfm available at the boat so i would have to be a fairly small HVLP or LVLP gun. 

Guess that leaves Gelcoat / or 2 pack paint with non skid particles added. 
I made a test piece using gelcoat (with the wax added) thickened with fumed silica and then rolled into a texture using an old kiwi-grip roller, the result was a very grippy but sharp texture, I took the tops off the ridges off with a sanding block & then left it outside a few months to see how it held up. Unfortunately it seems to hold onto dirt really well & I can't scrub it clean. Not what I want on the boat, maybe I got my ratios wrong though.  
I also had a go at adding the international inter grip particles to flowcoat & rolled that out onto a test panel, unfortunately that didn't seem to work as the resulting surface looks good, but is deadly when wet. 

So yeah gelcoat / paint, spraying / rolling, any tips on getting a good looking long lasting finish? 

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Might try gelcoat with salt or sugar, can vary grain size to get a suitable pattern. Gelcoat once sanded loses some sheen. Trick with it is to spray a surfacing agent like pva to get sheen.

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There are really only three choices with lots of variants:

  • Additives to paints: KiwiGrip, walnut shells, sand, etc
  • Non slip surfaces like SeaDek, Treadmaster or teak
  • Better shoes

All the additive solutions are difficult to keep clean. All the solutions wear over time. There's no magic.

 

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I used Quantum 99 2-part polyurethane to redo all my non-skid surfaces, but Awlgrip or other 2ppu would work as well.  For the grit I used SoftSand, which are small rubber particles that are much easier on bare skin while providing superior non-skid properties.  Work effort is sand the old non-skid smooth, prime.  While the primer is still very tacky, but not fully wet, broadcast the SoftSand liberally.  When it dries, use a clean shop-vac to vacuum up the excess grit.  If you avoid getting foreign debris mixed with the grit you vacuumed it can be reused.  Then apply 3-4 coats of Q99 to complete.  The Q99 goes on extremely thin, almost watery, so don't be surprised at the number of required coats to get a uniform finish.  Oh, and be sure to use a high quality paste wax on all shiny surfaces before beginning so you can easily remove any splatters.  Otherwise you ain't getting the s**t off!

It turned out IMO better than the original.  It doesn't show dirt, looks great, and as I said, is grippier while at the same time less harsh.  Search on Boatworks Today, there is at least one video showing the process, and another segment reviews Quantum 99.  Good luck!

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Caster sugar onto 2 pack poly paint.

One person rolls/brushes, the other follows closely behind and using a fine sieve liberally spread the sugar onto the wet paint.  The more even, the better it looks, but make sure you put plenty on.

Once the paint is dry, vacuum then hot water wash off the excess sugar (or just leave it for the ants to eat!

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Might do a test panel & give the sugar a go, does Caster sugar work? In the UK its basically so fine its like dust. Not sure if its the same in Aus?

Soft sand rubber I've heard good things about and watched the videos, but I can't find a European supplier, so would have to import from the US. 

 

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The best deck paint I ever used was a Sikkens product but it seems to have been killed when International bought them.

I haven't seen Interdeck on a boat but if they were smart they relabeled the Sikkens product. It had an extremely fine grit that was virtually unnoticeable by knees, pants etc. but gripped like mad - never slipped once. The finish came out almost like a flat paint but had the drip of a textured surface.

Does anyone here have experience with Interdeck? Does it sound like my description of the Sikkens product?

This is what it looked like.

 

 

deck (4).jpg

deck (3).jpg

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3 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

The best deck paint I ever used was a Sikkens product but it seems to have been killed when International bought them.

I haven't seen Interdeck on a boat but if they were smart they relabeled the Sikkens product. It had an extremely fine grit that was virtually unnoticeable by knees, pants etc. but gripped like mad - never slipped once. The finish came out almost like a flat paint but had the drip of a textured surface.

Does anyone here have experience with Interdeck? Does it sound like my description of the Sikkens product?

This is what it looked like.

 

Cheers Jon, I actually used the single part intergrip paint on my first & second boats. 
It looked good when first applied & did grip well, but it always needed redoing after one or two seasons & held the dirt a lot. 

I didn't mind so much on an older beater quarter tonner, but I care about this boat a bit more so want to try and do something a bit longer lasting that hopefully looks better as well. 

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Ditto on Interdeck, good product for the price but you get what you pay for.

I would experiment with different grain sizes of salt or sugar on a test panel.

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Use Shark grip by H&C products it made for concrete but it stays suspended very well in paint

also to keep it form being slick you need to use flattening agent to a satin finish per paint manufactures

instructions , Just did a deck and it came out like a Pro did it

PL. Oh and tint the primer so you don't have to put to many coats of paint

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My wife did our decks and it has held up really well.  One part petit easy poxy paint and sand.  About the time you need to repaint from washing wear etc its enough that you retain the non skid on the paint.  Her process was prep prime all, tape off non skid area, roll on coat sand it. wait a few days, vacuum. roll coat over non skid,  pull tape coat everything. We are in the process of repainting after about 6 years of full time use, mostly cosmetic, still good footing.

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9 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

The best deck paint I ever used was a Sikkens product but it seems to have been killed when International bought them.

I haven't seen Interdeck on a boat but if they were smart they relabeled the Sikkens product. It had an extremely fine grit that was virtually unnoticeable by knees, pants etc. but gripped like mad - never slipped once. The finish came out almost like a flat paint but had the drip of a textured surface.

Does anyone here have experience with Interdeck? Does it sound like my description of the Sikkens product?

This is what it looked like.

 

 

deck (4).jpg

deck (3).jpg

I've just finished painting our deck with Perfection/Intergrip, sprinkling the Intergrip onto wet paint.  It looks good and is very grippy; we'll see how it performs.  I did a couple of test panels and sprinking gives a much more even texture than mixing the Intergrip in with the paint.

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Its looking like 2 part paint & some kind of additive is the best option then. 
Soft sand rubber looks good, but importing from the US is a put off, had a look around but the stuff we can get is the stuff they put down in kids playgrounds, particles are way too big. 


I might have a few more try's doing test panels with the gelcoat, maybe if I add a little less cabosil a and then wait for it to kick before rolling it again I might get an acceptable pattern. This is the result of Cabosil & a kiwigrip roller and then after about a year outside. 

IMG_20190624_092335.thumb.jpg.94b438f4bf58c8e34ec0f6e1d386108b.jpg

IMG_20200206_095628.thumb.jpg.0d414d6e6291ba8e54a7ba9bf9997082.jpg

 

The colour difference is more due to the light than any colour change, but that's as clean as I can get it after a couple of scrubbing. 

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No wonder you hate Kiwigrip. Looks like you chose to lay down a lot of Kiwigrip (too much?)  and create a really aggressive texture. We experimented and use the smallest tooth edge of a west epoxy spreader to lay down a relatively thin layer before rolling. It gives full color coverage and a significantly less aggressive texture that cleans well and grips well too. 

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2 hours ago, ghost37 said:

No wonder you hate Kiwigrip. Looks like you chose to lay down a lot of Kiwigrip (too much?)  and create a really aggressive texture. We experimented and use the smallest tooth edge of a west epoxy spreader to lay down a relatively thin layer before rolling. It gives full color coverage and a significantly less aggressive texture that cleans well and grips well too. 

I think that is his gelcoat experiment done using a kiwi grip roller to texture it. Looks like most of the meat grinder gel coat decks I have lets square yards of skin on over the years.

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18 hours ago, MiddayGun said:

Might do a test panel & give the sugar a go, does Caster sugar work? In the UK its basically so fine its like dust. Not sure if its the same in Aus?

Soft sand rubber I've heard good things about and watched the videos, but I can't find a European supplier, so would have to import from the US. 

 

Not sure about the UK but here in the US I think the equivalent would be baker's sugar, which is a fine grained sugar kind of half-way between granulated and powdered.

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I’ve been happy with Awlgrip and their Griptex (coarse).  

Mixing the grit with the paint did not produce even results.  Shaking the grit onto wet paint, vacuuming the excess after the paint dries and and covering it with another THIN coat produced uniform results.
There’s an extra coarse griptex that’d be worth a look.

Sherwin-Williams SharkGrip sound like the same stuff.

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Biggest objection I have to kiwigrip is the weight. Temperature you sail in makes all the difference in how you perceive the grits.

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@ghost37 That's gelcoat, not Kiwi Grip. The KiwiGrip deck I did on my old 4ksb looked good when I put it down, didn't stay very clean though. 

Has anyone tried adding griptex to gelcoat? Or sprinkling it on top and then gelcoating over it? 
Can't imagine that it would stick to it the same way it does to paint. 

 

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On 2/6/2020 at 5:21 AM, MiddayGun said:

What's the best way to get a professional looking non skid deck that will last a while & is easy to keep clean?
Don't mind hard work or spending money on good materials.

No KiwiGrip recommendations please, I used it on my last boat & didn't like it, pretty grippy but it was a nightmare to keep clean & didn't seem to last that well. 
Don't mind having a go at spraying, but keep in mind that I've only got about 10cfm available at the boat so i would have to be a fairly small HVLP or LVLP gun. 

Guess that leaves Gelcoat / or 2 pack paint with non skid particles added. 
I made a test piece using gelcoat (with the wax added) thickened with fumed silica and then rolled into a texture using an old kiwi-grip roller, the result was a very grippy but sharp texture, I took the tops off the ridges off with a sanding block & then left it outside a few months to see how it held up. Unfortunately it seems to hold onto dirt really well & I can't scrub it clean. Not what I want on the boat, maybe I got my ratios wrong though.  
I also had a go at adding the international inter grip particles to flowcoat & rolled that out onto a test panel, unfortunately that didn't seem to work as the resulting surface looks good, but is deadly when wet. 

So yeah gelcoat / paint, spraying / rolling, any tips on getting a good looking long lasting finish? 

I've done two of my boats with AwlGrip and plastic particles added.  Excellent non-skid, easy on the knees.  However - absolute bitch to clean.  Even soft scrub with bleach, my old go-to on gelcoat surfaces, doesn't seem to touch the stains / ground in dirt.

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After thirty years of screwing around we  FINALLY made a showroom perfect non skid deck. 
A couple years later we made another good one. 
Since about 2005 we have been consistently creating the look I want. In another couple decades we might know if we have found a way to create decent durability.. All I can say is the 1997 deck still looks fine. 
   We use Awlgrip, flattening agent, Grip Tex, lots of thinner, and a Binks model 69 on a one quart siphon cup with a drilled out 66 fluid nozzle . 
   After preparing the deck surface and masking it, it takes about an hour to spray a J-24. The Gun clogs a few times  And there is gooey sand everywhere after we finish but the deck looks fabulous. 
     Note: I am well versed in the manufacturer’s application recommendations, have attended factory rep seminars, and have carefully followed the directions and tried their systems. 
      I like my way. I can’t describe my non factory authorized ways further as I don’t want any liability if you try it. 

except!!

if you have old pattered non skid in nice condition except for its appearance and lack of grippable relief, I have another sweet cure that seems to last about a decade.

**Scrub the surface. I mean scrub it!!!

***do not sand!!! The old gelcoat is porous and paint will soak in and stick.. unless you didn’t scrub off all the dirt and oxidized material. 
 

*** really.. scrub it!!!

**tape the perimeter and around fittings 

*** Roll on some Awlgrip and immediately sprinkle just a little Grip tex over the wet paint. 
note: I mean hardly any. If you can see it  it is too much. A few dozen  grains per square inch is the upper end of the wanted sand. 
 

notes: we use almost as much flattening agent as Awlgrip. The mix ratio might be 6:3:4:2 for Awlgrip: brushing catalyst: flattening agent: 31 thinner

* We add some of the 98 fast cure stuff so the non skid might be a little harder

* We use a shaker can for the non skid particles. 
( I went to the cooking store and told the sweet old lady salesperson I wanted a shaker like Mom used to use to sprinkle flour on her Pie crust rolling canvas. She grinned, walked across the store, and grabbed one off the shelf. )
 

When we do this: Old Pearson’s and J boats with colored non skid often begin to show brush marks after a few years. I wasn’t there but I think they brushed the gelcoat over the non skid parts of the molds and then sprayed the gelcoat over everything.  
The older Catalinas often have a black look where the gelcoat has eroded away. 
All we are trying to do is make it all one color without making the deck look like a lousy paintjob. 

 

We painted  the entire tan non skid on J-22 #234 sometime around 1991 using about half a quart of my attempted color match of  tan Interthane Plus. The boat, with its new oversized teak rails, looked new again. 

Since then we must have done a hundred more. 

A couple years ago the paint finally started to look bad again on #234 and we decided it was time to do it again. We sanded the teak almost  down to factory original size and  slapped another layer of tan on the  non-skid. 
 

(The paint  has to be the same color as the non skid and it cannot be shiny. )

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@Gouvernail Your second solution might be just what I'm after. 
The deck looks pretty good in direct sunlight, but as soon as its shaded & especially when there's water on it then you start to see staining, discolouration & a generally worn appearance. 

The decks are pretty grippy, the coach roof is pretty deadly. The actual non skid pattern still seems reasonable. 

IMG_20190411_134423.thumb.jpg.d8bd38bc2bedf5debeb41405eb55394b.jpg

 

However close up in some sections it looks like someone has tried to re-gelcoat in a few areas with some kind of non skid added:

IMG_20190309_132830.thumb.jpg.9fa45b0e912f60665ed4e3a2a5cbecb4.jpgIMG_20190309_132847.thumb.jpg.32c2ce6163418cae71dc0abb69eae7e2.jpg

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I sprayed mine with the international additive, put in 3 times as much as it said. For the cockpit and coaming sand side decks aft where there is heaps of traffic, I used hydro turf. It's super grippy, nice to walk on and nice to sit on. 

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39 minutes ago, Alcatraz5768 said:

I sprayed mine with the international additive, put in 3 times as much as it said. For the cockpit and coaming sand side decks aft where there is heaps of traffic, I used hydro turf. It's super grippy, nice to walk on and nice to sit on. 

Did you use perfection or some other paint?
And do you mean spray with the additive in the paint itself? What tip size did you use?

Cheers

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8 hours ago, MiddayGun said:

Did you use perfection or some other paint?
And do you mean spray with the additive in the paint itself? What tip size did you use?

Cheers

Yep, just sprayed it with 2k (2pack car paint although I've used many 2pack marine paints) mixed in before spraying. Keep swirling the gun around. Used the same tip as normal. The grit starts fine and expands as the paint sets. Comes out mint. 

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On 2/6/2020 at 11:21 AM, MiddayGun said:

What's the best way to get a professional looking non skid deck that will last a while & is easy to keep clean?
Don't mind hard work or spending money on good materials.

No KiwiGrip recommendations please, I used it on my last boat & didn't like it, pretty grippy but it was a nightmare to keep clean & didn't seem to last that well. 
Don't mind having a go at spraying, but keep in mind that I've only got about 10cfm available at the boat so i would have to be a fairly small HVLP or LVLP gun. 

Guess that leaves Gelcoat / or 2 pack paint with non skid particles added. 
I made a test piece using gelcoat (with the wax added) thickened with fumed silica and then rolled into a texture using an old kiwi-grip roller, the result was a very grippy but sharp texture, I took the tops off the ridges off with a sanding block & then left it outside a few months to see how it held up. Unfortunately it seems to hold onto dirt really well & I can't scrub it clean. Not what I want on the boat, maybe I got my ratios wrong though.  
I also had a go at adding the international inter grip particles to flowcoat & rolled that out onto a test panel, unfortunately that didn't seem to work as the resulting surface looks good, but is deadly when wet. 

So yeah gelcoat / paint, spraying / rolling, any tips on getting a good looking long lasting finish? 

For roller application 

mix your awlgrip to the same viscosity that you use for roll and tip ..thin 

add griptex...best results are 50 percent fine griptex, 50 percent coarse griptex ..the addition of fine griptex   fills in the spaces between course particles and produces a better low sheen appearance 

apply the griptex loaded awlgrip with a high quality short hair roller..do not use a foam roller ..they leave railroad tracks 

 

roll this way , that way , any which way 

Roll on plenty of paint 

 

Then immediately take a second ...dry short hair roller ..and roll over the painted surface 

 

the dry roller soaks up the excess paint ...very important 

When this dry roller becomes full of paint,  dry it out or replace with a new dry  short hair roller 

 

the finish you will achieve will be the same as spray on non skid

 

tape off carefully and use Plenty of paper to protect surfaces..rollers tend to splatter paint blobs 

 

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On 2/10/2020 at 12:11 PM, OldmateFred said:

Do you get tredgrip where you are?

Never heard of it so probably not. 

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On 2/11/2020 at 12:19 AM, slug zitski said:

For roller application 

mix your awlgrip to the same viscosity that you use for roll and tip ..thin 

add griptex...best results are 50 percent fine griptex, 50 percent coarse griptex ..the addition of fine griptex   fills in the spaces between course particles and produces a better low sheen appearance 

apply the griptex loaded awlgrip with a high quality short hair roller..do not use a foam roller ..they leave railroad tracks 

 

roll this way , that way , any which way 

Roll on plenty of paint 

 

Then immediately take a second ...dry short hair roller ..and roll over the painted surface 

 

the dry roller soaks up the excess paint ...very important 

When this dry roller becomes full of paint,  dry it out or replace with a new dry  short hair roller 

 

the finish you will achieve will be the same as spray on non skid

 

tape off carefully and use Plenty of paper to protect surfaces..rollers tend to splatter paint blobs 

 

I'm curious about this method and might try it on an upcoming job. Why is it important to soak up excess paint with the dry roller? How much nonskid to paint?

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^ I would guess it's the same effect as tipping, the heavy coat with nonskid will probably end up with pools of paint in spots and be uneven if you don't pull the excess out.

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3 hours ago, Russell Brown said:

I'm curious about this method and might try it on an upcoming job. Why is it important to soak up excess paint with the dry roller? How much nonskid to paint?

It works well

 

this is how pro painters in The Netherlands paint non skid on mega yachts 

you should practice on a test panel to get your technique down 

what you are attempting to achieve is uniform particle density and no awlgrip sheen , shadows 

Remember    Thin paint , apply plenty of paint to the surface .. then carefully mop it up with a dry roller 

only a short nap roller ...no foam 

 

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I won't be using Awlgrip but a 2 part Aliphatic Acrylic Polyeurethane by PPG.  Hopefully its suitable. 
This one in fact: https://www.ppgpmc.com/products/SIGMADUR-550

I have the correct thinners for it but no idea what the correct viscosity should be, are there any rules of thumb? Like dipping a stir stick and then observing the drips, something like that? 

Do you have any pics knocking about of the kind of finish that you achieve with this method? 

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7 hours ago, slug zitski said:

It works well

 

this is how pro painters in The Netherlands paint non skid on mega yachts 

you should practice on a test panel to get your technique down 

what you are attempting to achieve is uniform particle density and no awlgrip sheen , shadows 

Remember    Thin paint , apply plenty of paint to the surface .. then carefully mop it up with a dry roller 

only a short nap roller ...no foam 

 

I have used AWLgrip paint with their non skid course particles using a short nap roller and have not be able to achieve a consistent finish. I believe the best way to apply the particles is to mix a batch with the paint and apply using a Shultz type air spray gun. this method does not require any moping up and produces a more consistent finish. I would be interested in some feed back from anyone who has sprayed on the non skid using this approach as I would like to re-apply my non skid again.

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Spray on non skid works great 

the reason roll is used is to avoid the huge paper off job to protect  all freshly painted surfaces from overspray 

non skid application  is typically the last paint procedure before launching 

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Has anyone tried Total Boat     Total Tread Nonskid Deck Paint from Jamestown......curious......I used interdeck on several cape dory sailboats....it was never hard enough and had to be recoated every other yr....wantiing to try something different ...thanks...craig

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3 hours ago, shavdog said:

Has anyone tried Total Boat     Total Tread Nonskid Deck Paint from Jamestown......curious......I used interdeck on several cape dory sailboats....it was never hard enough and had to be recoated every other yr....wantiing to try something different ...thanks...craig

Yes, works well. With these caveats:

The usual problems with temperature at application. Difficulty with evenness if surface gets hot. Same as any painting. 

It is one part PU so not as hard as two part PU. So wears faster. But I’m a barefoot shorthanded cruiser so wear is minimal compared to racers or charter uses. Countering that it is very easy to sand and recoat vs. harder finishes like gelcoat or two part PU. I think the grit is some plastic.

Like it better than the WM offering.

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10 hours ago, Bruno said:

Much misunderestimated is the importance of flattener.

Flattener is great in the fact that it reduces glare, evens out the surface, and makes the deck grip even more.  It’s one drawback is that it makes the paint very porous, which I found harder to keep clean. 

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9 minutes ago, silent bob said:

Flattener is great in the fact that it reduces glare, evens out the surface, and makes the deck grip even more.  It’s one drawback is that it makes the paint very porous, which I found harder to keep clean. 

Agree with your comments, flatter must be used otherwise the glare on the non skid looks awful. I do find the cleaning a problem 

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Read all the comments above.  I did my last boat with gelcoat and a Fibretex textured roller, no additives at all.  The trick is knowing how long to keep working the roller - longer and you get an aggressive surface good for the bow, not so long and you get a non-skid texture suitable for the cockpit and side decks.  The end result received a lot of complements and questions about how I did it.

The Kiwigrip roller can also be used but it gives an inferior result as can be seen in some of the pictures above.  The problem is that the Fibretex rollers are getting hard to find - though a quick search shows that HomeDepot is carrying them now.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/pintar-fibretex-texture-roller/1000738542

It takes 30 years to get as good as Gouv at what he does.  My method should get you to 60-80% of a pro job.  If you fuck it up just sand it off and try again.

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if i was giving you commercial advice i would first ask you to rate 1-10

1/   how easy to clean and nice it looks

2/   what safety do you need from it

 

cause those 2 are in diametrically opposite areas

ie

the more grip it has the more dirt it will retain

then you will have some of the answers as to which method to use

i found the best for me was high solids epoxy paint and sifted silica sand for a fine finish and really large 10-20 grit size for absolute safety working areas

paint companies normally use syloid as their flatting agent of choice .. but it needs dispersing ..albeit its one of the easier ones to work with

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@phill_nz
The reasons n to buy the Grip Tex or similar particles is the paint soaks into those particles.

if you use sand, the paint does not soak in and, when the thin paint over the sand wears away, you end up with sand colored sand 

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yup

so you can guess from that my scores would be

safety ... 10

looks   ... 0

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@Rain Man

fifteen years ago we did some very nice decks by rolling on  gelcoat thickened with fumed silica ( Cab-O-Sil) 

1. As we had sanded off 100% of the original gelcoat, the 40 year old deck was porous, prepared with 36 grit paper, and the color of bare fiberglass and resin. We rolled on a couple layers of Gelcoat. We probably thinned it some with acetone so it would fill pinholes and self level.

2. We bought a dozen Whizz foam rollers designed for applying latex texture paint. They didn’t last long and we blew through eight of them doing the non-skid on the Electra deck

3. we messed with gelcoat and cab-o-sil until we managed to roll a sample we liked on a shiny piece of cardboard. We checked our sample on a hunk of fiberglass sheet and on a piece of sheet metal. After a few minutes of practicing we decided our technique would produce something a lot like I used to do when repairing Hunter  brand sailboat non shod in the eighties.

** Hunter used to sell a pre thickened non skid gelcoat and I used to buy carpet like rollers from Standard Brands Paint store. Both sources were gone. 
 

3. we mixed and rolled for a couple hours until the deck looked about right and then we sprayed on about a half gallon of PVA. 
*The PVA makes the gelcoat cure by keeping air off it . ( the anthropomorphic gelcoat thinks it is against a mold) 

4. we hosed off the PVA and rubbed our fingers over the surface..... OUCH!!!

it was way way way way too sharp 

5. we Hand sanded it a bit with some 80 grit.... still too sharp

6. we used a DA with 80 For mist of an hour and created a surface upon which we could sit or place our hands but it was still “fall down and go to the hospital” rough. 
 

7. That was 15 years ago. We still occasionally grab some sandpaper and make some areas a little smoother but it also still looks like new. 
*We regelcoated all the smooth parts with white, sanded, and polished to a “looks like it was molded” shine.  On the rare occasions when we clean  it, the entire deck still looks like new.

practicality: If someone wanted us to do that again It would probably cost over $10,000 just to do the Electra deck. Most other Sailboat  decks are both bigger and have more corners, ridges, and grooves.  Somebody has to very much want a showpiece to make absolute deck restoration sensible . 

 

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22 minutes ago, phill_nz said:

yup

so you can guess from that my scores would be

safety ... 10

looks   ... 0

$20 worth of the fancy polymeric particles make  that ugly look pretty. 
 

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42 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

@Rain Man

fifteen years ago we did some very nice decks by rolling on  gelcoat thickened with fumed silica ( Cab-O-Sil) 

1. As we had sanded off 100% of the original gelcoat, the 40 year old deck was porous, prepared with 36 grit paper, and the color of bare fiberglass and resin. We rolled on a couple layers of Gelcoat. We probably thinned it some with acetone so it would fill pinholes and self level.

2. We bought a dozen Whizz foam rollers designed for applying latex texture paint. They didn’t last long and we blew through eight of them doing the non-skid on the Electra deck

3. we messed with gelcoat and cab-o-sil until we managed to roll a sample we liked on a shiny piece of cardboard. We checked our sample on a hunk of fiberglass sheet and on a piece of sheet metal. After a few minutes of practicing we decided our technique would produce something a lot like I used to do when repairing Hunter  brand sailboat non shod in the eighties.

** Hunter used to sell a pre thickened non skid gelcoat and I used to buy carpet like rollers from Standard Brands Paint store. Both sources were gone. 
 

3. we mixed and rolled for a couple hours until the deck looked about right and then we sprayed on about a half gallon of PVA. 
*The PVA makes the gelcoat cure by keeping air off it . ( the anthropomorphic gelcoat thinks it is against a mold) 

4. we hosed off the PVA and rubbed our fingers over the surface..... OUCH!!!

it was way way way way too sharp 

5. we Hand sanded it a bit with some 80 grit.... still too sharp

6. we used a DA with 80 For mist of an hour and created a surface upon which we could sit or place our hands but it was still “fall down and go to the hospital” rough. 
 

7. That was 15 years ago. We still occasionally grab some sandpaper and make some areas a little smoother but it also still looks like new. 
*We regelcoated all the smooth parts with white, sanded, and polished to a “looks like it was molded” shine.  On the rare occasions when we clean  it, the entire deck still looks like new.

practicality: If someone wanted us to do that again It would probably cost over $10,000 just to do the Electra deck. Most other Sailboat  decks are both bigger and have more corners, ridges, and grooves.  Somebody has to very much want a showpiece to make absolute deck restoration sensible . 

 

Interesting.  I sanded all the old non-skid off to smooth gelcoat, then used waxed gelcoat, one coat, I didn't roll it for too long.  If there is a flaw to my method it is that because it is one coat it will not cover any discolouration in the deck.  I had an area which had soggy balsa that I fixed with the swiss cheese method.  I used epoxy filler which was a different colour from the deck.  In the end you could see the swiss cheese through the gelcoat. 

Luckily my boat was made from standard beige gelcoat so no colour-matching was needed.  This was a key thing - it would not have looked good if the gelcoat didn't match.

I did the deck in sections because you have to be able to keep rolling it while it goes off.  I think I did 6 sections on a 34' boat - bow, 2 x side decks at the same time, cabin top, cockpit coaming, cockpit seats and floor.  I had one roller cut down for the narrow sections when there were tight spots.

If I left the boat over the winter and air pollution like ash got to it, I would have to pressure wash it to get it clean in the spring.  Once a year was enough.

I wish I had pictures of the result but I don't own the boat anymore.

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Cheers for all the suggestions.

Its hard enough getting rollers than don't melt just at the smell of epoxy / 2 part paints over here, let alone those fibretex ones.
I'm gonna do a few new test panels with gelcoat that's been thickened, but using some different styles of rollers this time, if I can get a good looking non-skid then I'd like to go the gelcoat route.

Failing that I'll bite the bullet buy some griptex.

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