Paint compatible with Royalex?

-- Last Updated: May-21-07 5:20 PM EST --

I'm thinking of painting the central floor area on my canoes. I expect I can paint the floor of a composite boat with practically anything, but I'm not so sure about Royalex. I may want to paint the floor for two reasons: to prevent long-term wear and tear from the combination of foot traffic combined with sand and dirt, and to provide a rougher surface that a kneeling pad will not slip on.

I'm in absolutely no hurry to start worrying about the wear-and-tear issue. I may put that off forever. However, keeping my kneeling pad (mainly my smaller pad) from slipping around when the floor is wet is something I'd like to do. I do NOT want to attach permenant knee pads or glue the pad down, because I prefer the all-over-the-floor padding of a pad, and if I'm going to use a pad, being able to shake out/wash off the dirt or quickly swap it for a different pad is good.

I figured that a non-slip floor paint, or porch enamel with "grit" added would do the job, but I see that some shops (such as Blue Mountain Outfitters) sell a so-called "Royalex paint". Does Royalex "need" a special kind of paint? Will I risk solvent damage to the hull with regular paint? I would assume that latex paint would be pretty safe, but latex primers are not as good overall as oil-based primers, so I'd use an oil-base primer if that is permissible.

What say you folks about this? I may try to get one boat done before an upcoming whitewater trip.

how about outdoor non-slip strips?
I’d think a couple of those, well placed, would do the trick. They are fairly course.

Thanks so much
Okay, how about applying primer. Can I get by without that, or would that be a lot better?

Those traction strips sound like a quick-and-dirty solution too. Thanks.

it’s just that
… cleaning a boat with large areas of painted-in sand sounds like PITA to me.

Actually, I was thinking it probably wouldn’t be too bad. Remember, it’s not rough like a brick, with all sorts of crevices for dirt to get stuck in. On a small scale, (as dirt “views” the surface), it would still be smooth, as even the “bumps” are under a surface skin of paint. Shop floors with non-skid paint clean-up with a mop quite nicely. Might be worth checking out, though.

non slip pads

– Last Updated: May-21-07 6:51 PM EST –

are available...they have a smooth side for your knees and a textured rubber side that won't slide, not much anyway. Used to get them from Grade VI back when Charlie Wilson was a "fabric engineer". Think there are a couple folks doing it now.

Don’'t like the idea of painting royalex

– Last Updated: May-22-07 5:45 PM EST –

So here are some alternatives.

What you want is just a way to keep your temporary placement kneeling pads in position.

Here are two simple ideas:

1: Velcro. Hooks on bottom of pad and loops on bottom of boat.

2. Get or make a kneeling bed. This is a T-shaped pad that fits snugly against gunwales and canoe seat brackets, and extends below the seat to pad your feet. I bought one from Hemlock Canoe to fit my Peregrine. It doesn't slip at all and its easily removed at the end of the day for cleaning both it and the boat. You can buy one or cut one yourself to fit your boat from minicell foam.


I already have a T-shaped pad

– Last Updated: May-21-07 7:40 PM EST –

I guess you skipped the part where I said I prefer across-the-floor padding of a foam sheet to using knee pads.

I already have a T-shaped kneeling pad, and its semi-sticky, textured backside grips great when the boat is dry, not so well when wet. It doesn't go gunwale to gunwale, but it lacks the structural rigidity for that to be an advantage anyway (ever hear the saying "you can't push anything with a rope"?). Maybe minicell foam is a lot stiffer than a regular kneeling pad, so that being in contact with gunwales would make a difference. Would you need to "carve" it from a block to make a sheet that fits the curve of the boat? I'm really not familiar with the stuff, but whitewater pedestal seats I've seen were pretty hard, so I assume you'd need to carve it to get it to fit.

picture from Hemlock Canoe website
Gunnel to gunnel removable minicell kneeling pad

Thanks! I’ll check it out.
It looks pretty substantial, so that my “pushing something with a rope” notion would not be in effect. That might be all I need to accomplish what I want.

No Turning Back!
In the interest of getting one boat modified before an upcoming trip, I put a coat of primer on the kneeling area of my Supernova tonight. Tomorrow I’ll have to choose what kind of paint to use for a high-traction surface. I’ll report back once I know how well it worked. That’s just one boat out of three, so the other options are still open for the other two.

Thanks everyone!

My pad…

– Last Updated: May-21-07 11:32 PM EST –

My Bell T shaped pad works fine for me, whether it's wet or dry.

You didn't say what T shaped pad you used?

BUT.......if you want to go the gunwale to gunwale route.....Why not get a piece of closed cell foam pad, cut it to the length & width that suits you, put some industrial strength velcro on each end of your pad(the width of the pad), and underneath each gunwale(the width of the pad). I gurantee if you get the "right" velcro; it won't move.

I had a whitewater solo boat that had ankle braces that were adjustable, using velcro on the bottom of the boat & the bottom of the pad.
Great adjustability.

Have a friend that has a whitewater tandem(Dagger Caption) with saddles he can set up for either tandem or solo paddling. Velcro strips attached to the hull; saddles have velcro strips that attach to velcro strips on the hull. Don't know who makes it(it's white colored), but the saddles are really pretty difficult to get loose once you attach them. And again, great adjustability. He travels with the saddles in the boat; hasn't lost one yet. Did a 1,400 mile trip with them last Summer.


Hey Bob,
I’m seeing that there are a lot of ways to skin this cat. I have two kneeling pads, both of which are made by Bell. The smaller pad tends to slip pretty badly when the inside of the hull is wet, but I can prepare myself for not slipping if I really push it down and slide it a bit with my knees, as that will tend to make it stick again, just a little at least. I really haven’t used the big T-pad enough so far to say how much it might slip when wet, but since the little one slips so much, I figured I’d play it safe with the big one too. From what you are saying, maybe I could get by without any modifications.

I like the Velcro idea, but since I’m halfway done with providing a rougher floor on one boat, I’ll try that and see how it goes. There can’t be any harm in trying, because who cares about an ounce or so of paint on a boat that already weighs more than 60 pounds.