Question on a finish coat over epoxy

I just refinished a boat using West Systems epoxy and want a clear top coat for RV protection.
The manufacturer suggested a “Marine Spar Varnish”, but there is non available in my area. I checked Lowes and Home Depot and various hardware stores and the only thing I can come up with is Minwax"Helmsman Spar urethane".
Has anyone here used it for this purpose and if yes; did it work out OK ?

Jack L

Yes, I have been using Helmsman on my Pygmy. I don’t know if I can tell the difference between that and the Schooner that I started with. The kayak is stored inside when not in use and I refinish every other year.

Sounds like the same brand I used on my GP. I ended up sanding the area around the shoulders with 600 grit because the finish was too slippery for a paddle. I do like how the high gloss makes the paddle reflect light, and this would be even more so on a boat.

It’s very durable stuff and somewhat self leveling. If you’re any good applying finishes you should have satisfactory results. As with most finishes, the full hardness will be achieved over time and baking in the sun a while can help speed things up.

Thanks a lot guys !
I have great confidence on the West Systems epoxy and have used it many times on the hulls of our canoes as well as repairs with glass, but this will be a first with the urethane.

I’ll report back on how it goes

Jack L

Helmsman Spar Urethane is not bad stuff. It should provide good UV protection and itself is relatively resistant to UV degradation and weathering.

In my experience, it will not provide quite the same clarity and depth of finish as a good marine varnish, but that is probably more an issue if you are finishing wood. In my hands, it is a bit more prone to running and sagging than good quality marine varnish.

@JackL said:
…………. a clear top coat for RV protection.………

:wink: I just carry the boat on the truck instead of the RV.

Oh, wait. I checked and it’s not the same brand. This is what I used and was pleased with.

I’ve used Spar Urethane on the two wood boats I’ve built and refinshed a friend’s Pygmy. It is tough, durable, and easy to work with.

I don’t know how compatible water based outdoor urethane is with epoxy, but Varithane water based spar urethane is all I use on my wood working projects. It is extremely easy to apply and does not amber. It dries to the touch in about five minutes, so a perfect dust free environment is not necessary as is more often the case with slower drying solvent based urethanes and varnishes.

It might take a few coast to achieve the desired depth of finish, but you can do two, or three coats per day. In any case, use the highest quality fine bristled brush you can find. Always lightly sand with very fine paper, or scotch pad between coats.

I use this Varithane brand outdoor water-based urethane (gloss) on my polyethylene hulls to bring back the luster.

First coat done and I am not too happy !
It went on good, and looks ok, but it looked better with just the epoxy finish. It showed a few imperfections that didn’t show up before.
Maybe I put it on too thin.
I just put the second coat on and I’ll see how that is when it dries. Right now while it is wet, it looks perfect

Jack L

Are you using gloss or semi gloss?. I always use semi.

Semi, Jim

Beauty is in the eye…
Semi is not as flashy as gloss.

The second coat is now dry and came out perfect !
I guess I was expecting too much with the initial coat.

Thanks to everyone for you comments

jack L

Woah… I just noticed the size of that picture I snapped with my phone and uploaded as is. There should be some autosizing done for situations like this!

Weird reply from Minwax.
A while back I sent them an e-mail asking if it was ok to use their “Helmsmens urethane over epoxy and since I didn’t get a reply right back, went ahead and used it.
I just got a short reply " None of Minwax products are compatable with epoxy” with no explanation given.
I sent back and asked “why” ? ( I wonder if I’ll hear back)
My finished product came out the way I wanted it to, but I guess now time will tell !

Jack L

I wouldn’t worry about it. I have used a variety of marine varnishes and urethane over epoxy and never had an issue.

A lot of manufacturers of paints and other finish products will not say their product is compatible with epoxy or other resins because they have not specifically tested them. Having said that, amine blush when it occurs can interfere with the cure of paints, varnishes and polyurethane finishes. Amine blush doesn’t always form is most likely to be a problem when applied in conditions of high humidity. But to be on the safe side, I always wash the cured epoxy with soapy water, rinse well, and wipe down the surface with denatured alcohol before painting or applying varnish.