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Should You Paint or Varnish Your Boat, and Why?

Should You Paint or Varnish Your Boat, and Why?
Yay!!! You’ve now completed construction of your boat! Good job on sticking to it! Now you’re wondering whether you should paint your boat, varnish it or maybe a combination of the two.
Paint seems to be a much more durable substance than varnish is. Varnish does do a good job at masking any rough surfaces, but paint is more likely to protect the epoxy and wood the best, which ultimately should be your aim.
If you find yourself torn between the two, then it could be a good idea to varnish the interior of the boat and paint the exterior.
If you plan on storing your boat in a place that is protected from the elements, then varnishing your boat is still a viable option. If, however your boat will be outside and unprotected from Mother Nature I would stick with paint again because of its durability.
It is quite clear, that I am a proponent of using paint over varnish. If you’re still unsure, find and talk to other boat builders and owners and find out what they are doing; as a means to achieve peace of mind.
Regardless of which way you go, always follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly to get the best results.
The key to building a sturdy building is to have a sturdy foundation. The same can be said here. The key to having a great looking boat is very much dependent on your prep work. Your planking surface must be as smooth as possible, so sand like you’ve never sanded before! It’s best if you use a very fine steel wool to do so.
Because you will be sanding quite a bit, make sure you use a high quality primer that will be able to withstand all the sanding. If you won’t be spray painting your boat, then your best alternative is to use rollers. Stay away from using a brush on the larger surfaces, and perhaps keep then for smaller touch up or detailing jobs.
Why? The reason being that each coat of paint should be very smooth and thin. Using a paint brush defeats the purpose since paint brushes tend to hold too much paint and you will have thicker and less smooth coats, which again is not what you want.