Non Slip Varnish.

Here is a great idea for non slip varnished areas.

This is particularly useful on that beautifully varnished cabin sole or hatch cover.

You've spent hours making it, sanding it and varnishing it but it’s gong to be slippery when wet.

But most non-slip solutions for boats are going to spoil the appearance of the varnished wood.

This idea is similar to sprinkling sand onto wet paint or varnish except that you use a water soluble 'grit' such as coarse sea salt, which when the varnish or paint is dry is washed off to leave a stippled surface.

Using this method on varnish not only gives a clear finish but is also a softer less harsh non-skid surface, much kinder to bare feet.

Salt is an ideal ‘grit’ to use on a wooden boat, though you could use anything that is water soluble, however I wouldn’t use sugar or anything which could make a sticky mess or attract insects.

So, when you've sanded off ready for that final coat you can if you wish mask off the areas to be made non-slip.

Having glossy frames around the non-skid areas will look better than just doing the whole area.

It will look even better is you can radius the corners.

Now, lay a thick coat of varnish within the masked areas making sure you go right up to the edges of the tape.

Then before it dries sprinkle the coarse salt, as evenly as possible over the wet varnish.

A sieve or kitchen sifter of some sort will help in getting an even covering.

The salt just needs to sit on the surface, don’t rub it in as it needs to be washed off when you have finished.

When the non slip areas are dry brush off or vacuum any loose salt, take off the masking tape and then finish varnishing the smooth areas.

Once the whole area is completely dry then you can wash off the salt to reveal the clear non slip areas.

For areas such as companionway steps traditional, gritty non skid solutions, while they may not look as good will give better grip and be safer.

PS. Normal masking tape if it is left stuck on for too long will be a devil to remove.

That bright colored electrical tape is a much better option for those of us weekend boat builders who need to leave it in place for any length of time.



For more detailed questions, tips, photos, etc. go to the Forums in the top menu.

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