Durabak paint: keel strips & other uses


I read a prior post about Durabak polyurthane being used by a couple of you (swordfish etc.) for keel strip. I am wondering how it’s holding up? How would it be for deck to prevent spare paddle scratches? Does it tear (e.g. from a paddle scrape)?

I thought I would ask before spending $150/gallon for the stuff (shipping included).

It says in FAQs that one has to use the gallon pretty much right away. Is that true or else it dries out?


for spare paddle?
There are so many better options. Don’t paint something on that costs a fortune and will be impossible to remove. Try some anti slip stickers or something.

holy god it looks tough

– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 10:47 AM EST –

Thanks for sharing about this product. I looked at a marine testimonial about this and it looks godly tough.

Where did you get the price? It shows as 79$ a gallon (it isn't cheap), but two or three coats of it along with the ease of application and ability to retouch it later if it gets worn make it a consideration for use. Applying a keel strip has some labor intensiveness to it so this may be a good alternative.

I yield to those here with experience installing their own keel strips to weigh in though, as all my boats either came witha keel strip or have an internal one.

keel strip
I put on an epoxy/glass keel strip, and painted it with gelcoat.

For me the point of the keel strip was to reinforce some worn areas, and provide better impact protection, not just to provide a wear strip against abrasion. So I don’t think any paint, no matter how tough, would really add strength. A layer of epoxy and glass tape seems to be the answer for that. And what you cover it with is just cosmetic, so I wouldn’t spend too much on that.

Thanks, but has anyone used it?
There was a keel strip thread on here and just like you say, tideplay, putting onn a decent keel strip is labor intensive (to do it right).

Durabak was tried by a couple on the thread with great results. I think swordfish was one of them.

Anyhow, it is $139 plus $20 shipping (click other page above to see), none are $79 like they say, but one black, non-uv protected rough type is $89. I need smotth for kayaks. But they do warn to use rapidly or it’ll congel in the can. So, I have 11 kayaks total… I suppose I will line them up, masking tape the keels, and throw down some Durabak, and then quickly spread the rest on my pickup truck or something. Done right, I think it’d be fine for the area under paddles, maybe wear spots in the cockpit )like under heels), et cetera. But I relaly need more feedback before springing for it.

Use of Durabak

– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 5:53 PM EST –

For your intended use, I wouldn't bother with Durabak. I would buy the heaviest Scotch packaging tape (clear) and cover the area of your deck. There are also colorful decals that you can peel and stick. I got a pair of "flames". My boat went a couple of knots faster ever since.

I used Durabak to cover the entire bottom of my kevlar canoe which has no gelcoat protection. It is purely sacrificial. I also don't want Durabak to be permanent, so I have a layer of that heavy gauge Scotch tape underneath as my primer. (I am not sure how permanent Durabak is on epoxy.) I also painted over Durabak with a coat of glossy Interlux Brighside the color of my choice. (note: Durabak is nonskid. If you need to mount your boat using hydroglide pads, you need to paint it over with something that skids.) Once every two years, I peel everything off and re-do it. The bottom of my canoe looks mirror finish just like when I bought it. When I sell my canoe, I can say "Used canoe, no scratch". Durabak protects your boat bottom when it hits gravels or rocks. It is not intented for you to drag your boat over concrete.

If you want to use it for keel strip, http://Newlinesafety.com sells quart size for under $50. If you get a gallon, you will waste half of it because, like you said, it congeals over time in the can. Don't get the kind that contains rubber particles or you will be very sorry. Get the "smooth" kind. Don't ever use the "accelerator" that comes with the package or you will be very, very sorry. Durabak does not level like regular paint does. Therefore, use a disposable foam brush, not a roller, to get a smoother finish. Still, it does not look as good as regular paints.

I wish there was a better solution.

You have 11 kayaks? That’s just sick!
Uh, wait a minute, I have a couple more boats than that.

How much weight did your resurfacing
add to your kevlar boat?


– Last Updated: Jun-03-09 5:54 PM EST –

Less than a quart of Durabak, a few oz of paint,(both dry weight), and a half roll of tape, that would be.... I will get a gross weight tonight.

it’s not paint
It’s basically truck bedliner.

thanks for this

but my point, or question, was does it provide any structural strength. It doesn’t appear to.

So I guess there are two reasons for putting on a keel strip, strengthening the keel, and protecting against abrasion. Perhaps this stuff is better for those who only need abrasion protection.

I haven’t used it
but I"ve seen it used on boat decks. Purely my opinion but I think it would be a total waste of time to put on a tough high friction coating down the middle when the bulk of the wear a “keel strip” can address is the wear at the very ends. And at those very ends it’ll be a hard ablative material at least 1/16 thick. Instead of a 2"x18’ strip that’s 1/16" thick why not put a 1/2" x 8" strip that’s 1/8" thick that will actually put the material where the greatest wear occurs?

A keel strip doesn’t address the wear in the middle of the hull adjacent to the keel. The only place I can see a full length 2" wide keel strip having utility is dragging a kayak across a straight edge corner. Otherwise you simply have a straightline that happens to be the same width as a 1 1/2" piece of fiberglass tape added to a british boat as an option.

I am with Lee
Yep. The main reason for the keel strip is abrasion. That is why most companies say wait until the keel strip wears and then put one on.

Regarding strengthening, I don’t think it affords all that much, given the keel is already much stronger than the adjacent hull.

In fact you might be surprised and terrorized to find out how thin and vulnerable most hull bottoms are! Because your weight is held up and distributed by the water companies shed kayak overall weight by building incredibly thin bottoms to hulls.

To really get more strength order an expedition weight layup!

I read an account…
…on a Canadian website about a year or so ago. The guy was really stoked that he could use it instead of gelcoat. He did the keel strip for one boat and a more “expansive” application on another boat. About 6 months later he posted an update. He regreted doing it. It didn’t hold up as well as he had hoped, looked bad, etc. He made it sound like something that seemed like a good idea but wasn’t.

Thx all
I’m glad I asked. I’m going to skip it. Sounds mediocre at best. Thx for all input.

I know this sounds bizarre but I’m going to try a waterproof shower sttrip like they sell for five bucks at Lowes.


– Last Updated: Jun-04-09 1:22 AM EST –



keel reinforcement
Well, banging around in rocks or surf, the first and last couple feet of the keel take more of a beating IMO, because they’re going up and down faster, and because they have much less give than the rest of the bottom. I definitely wanted some added strength from my keel strip, since one blow on the aft end of the keel had created a slow leak on my boat. I ground down and repaired that small area, and then applied the epoxy strip over the repair. The hope is that the epoxy tape layer on the first and last 4 feet of teh keel will help prevent such damage during subsequent beatings.

Maybe we need a personal keel strip too!
I am with you regards not wanting to have my boat get trashed. But mechanically speaking a layer of cloth tape will add only about 2 JND of structural protection (JND is Just Noticeable Difference).

This is just an inherent problem for the bow and stern, You are very right, that area has a small area and absorbs a great deal of force.

The best way to increase structural integrity is to lay in some added layers INTERNALLY. Then the external keel strip only has the task of protecting from gouges, chipping, and cracking. This can be done without too much trouble actually.

I have this feature on my Xcite and it definitely strengthens these to crucial areas.

It is important to realize that no matter how much you beef these areas up that there is NO risk until we place ourselves in it. And, one cubic yard of still not even moving water weighs one ton! So having a large wave slam you into a sharp rock is enormous force. And, just think if you not the boat is being slammed here. Maybe we should be putting on a keel strip on us too! : > )

Sooner or later the safetyniks will make it a requirement!