Painting my composite wood canoe

Wood with a layer of FG and epoxy. What is the best paint from someone with experience? Latex house piant has been recommended and I’m sure enamels would work since varnish does. How about epoxy paint?

porch and floor enamel
I have painted several glass boats and one woodstrip epoxy hull. The glass boats were polyester resin so I sanded and coated with epoxy before painting. Epoxy is an excellent substrate for just about any finish. My favorite for toughness and thickness is a porch and floor enamel. Very high solids content and its made to take a beating. It is also cheap which is good if you use your canoe hard and need to refinish often.

Be aware that if you paint…
every little blemish and un-eveness will show up through the paint and be magnified from what it would be if it were “bright” finished…or so I hear.

Q: How nice do you want it to look vs.
hold up ?

Lots of possblities.

Epoxy (fully cured) is just about the ultimate ‘primer’ … what are you using (if any) for fairing compound ?

CLC offers paints
thru their site and catalog.

I’ve seen CLCs painted and they look great and the paint seems to hold up.

What is a fairing compund?
I have used a scraper and sander to fair, but no compound.

Fairing Compound…
…at least in VOLKKSKAYAK building, is an epoxy “sludge” used to smoothly blend in the lines left by the fiberglass tape along the seams. We make ours by mixing a batch of resin and hardener, then thickening it with microballoon filler powder until it reaches a peanut-butter consistency (just barely hangs on the mixing stick - won’t quite drip off). We spread it with a putty knife to barely ‘fair’, or fill the bump the tape edge leaves above the hull or deck, let it cure throughly (1-2 weeks), then sand it out until everything’s nice and smooth.

Re paint - I’ve used various types over the years, and haven’t found anything I like better than plain old TremClad anti-rust paint - a good, tough oil-based enamel, relatively cheap, readily available most anywhere in a range of colors. A liter will do at least two coats on a VK hull/deck. Contrasting trim colors come in the wee little cans…

Any ??'s, or for pix, e-mail me.



Thanks for the explanation.
I have used epoxy and wood flour.

Interlux Brightside
I used this on the last kayak I built. The finish is quite durable, though any paint will scratch through eventually. To minimize that I used a pigment in my epoxy so any scratches show through as a shade of the hull color rather than a contrasting dark line.


Painting your boat
Good morning String. What finish do you want?

Work Boat or Show quality?

I have built 6 boats and did a lot of reading over the years as well and always come back to the basic argument made by the folks at Stevensons Projects that for a good to great work-boat finish just go with a good brand name oil base like Rustoleum or Krylon. The argument made is that you will get equal or greater protection and finish for the work-boat category by going with these versus a can of paint from the boat store as these will have fresher chemicals and would have been on the shelf for much less time than your typical quart of marine paint down at the boat store. Price would be substantially less too. I have used Krylon or the Ace hardware brand oil base for my boats and it holds up perfectly.

For a show quality finish go with the new linear polyurethanes like Interlux offers. Fantastic finishes. High priced but the only way to go if that is the finish you are after.

Good luck!

Look at: (Sorry I do not know how to post a link)

In my experience you should use a paint formulated for water resistance as these will have better gloss retention and durability. They might be more expensive but you get a longer coating life from them.

Working boat finish is what I’m after.
I would like to think that I can make a boat(my 2nd) worthy of show quality paint, but I know better.I like the epoxy tint idea for hiding scratches.

Base coat clear coat
If you have a paint gun and air compressor I’d go with a good epoxy primer then base coat/clear coat polyurethane. The base coat or the primer can be wet sanded to hide any imperfections in the glass. Then once you got it nice and smooth, clear coat it for a nice shine/slick surface.

Gel coat will also work well on fiberglass as it’s used on a lot of boats, but polyurethane is widely used too and holds up well for a cheaper price. I have used it on 45-75 foot sail boats.


Honestly do not know how to do
just a working finish, but epoxy will accept just about anything. Polyester gelcoats will stay on but not bond so great to epoxy, even after it has supercured and has been prepped. Interface is not happy. Gelcoat does not ‘flow out’ like paint and requires much time to get it looking nice.

Good, tough finishes can be had with mid grade two part paints( Acrylic Enamels) which do not cot 100.00 + per quart to apply.

I like the PPG product line better than DuPont, or Sherwin Williams ( automotive / marine ) Durability is there and cost is less than Marine or Aeronautical (sp?) supplys.

Even the smallest amount (usually quart system) you can buy will be enough to spray, brush or roll a boat several times allowing you to use the top coat itself as the primer/wetsand coat.