No thanks to harsh elements like wind, rains, and extreme heat and cold, any boat is bound to show signs of wear and tear over time. Nowhere is this depreciation more obvious than in the paint coatings on our vessel, on the decks we regularly trudge.
What’s good is that there’s always a remedy for a beaten up deck that’s becoming unsightly and deteriorating. There’s nothing that the best boat deck paint can’t polish up in no time. The icing on the cake is that these coats do more than beautify a boat.
Some naturally impart non-skid perks that would make any Navy sailor green with envy. Others add years to your boat’s life by making it waterproof and dustproof. A few marine deck paints can even deliver all these things altogether, as proven by this review and buying guide.
Table of Contents
- Best Boat Deck Paint Reviews
- 1. TotalBoat TotalTread Non-Skid Deck Paint
- 2. Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint
- 3. TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint
- 4. KiwiGrip KG10171R Non-Skid Coating
- 5. Evercoat 853 Skid-No-More Rubberized Coating
- 6. Rust-Oleum 207009 Marine Anti-Slip Additive
- 7. Durabak 18 Textured Non-Slip Coating
- 8. KILZ L394811 Over Armor Smooth
- 9. Liquid Rubber Smooth Polyurethane Coating
- 10. TUFF Coat UT-100 Non-Skid Coating
- 11. KILZ Over Armor Textured
- 12. INSL-X SU031009A-01 Sure Step Coating
- Factors To Consider When Choosing Boat Deck Paint
- What Is The Best Boat Deck Paint
- How Should I Prepare My Boat Before Painting
- How Do You Paint A Fiberglass Boat Deck
- Is Anti-Slip Decking Paint Any Good
Best Boat Deck Paint Reviews
1. TotalBoat TotalTread Non-Skid Deck Paint
A breeze to use and offers excellent traction, TotalTread guarantees a smoother finish and lasts for a long while when properly applied.
I love this paint’s combination of benefits, as I said above. It’s not hard to manage and use. I always pair it with a proper marine primer prior to application, and oftentimes, I only need to apply two coats to get the results that I want.
It imparts a smoother finish than most non-skid varieties I use. I reckon it’s because it uses finer sand than others. It’s more comfortable for barefoot walking, that much I’m certain, though I rarely do so. Also, take note that its non-skid perk is no less great despite the said facts. It’s a balanced type of traction, not too sharp.
As for complaints, it takes around two days for me to be confident that the paint has sufficiently dried and convinced that I can put full pressure on it. I’m also not too sure that it should cost as much as it does, considering the alternatives. Still, it heads this list for the simple reason that it’s a solid choice for me and many boaters.
2. Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint
This paint is difficult to beat even by some of the products listed here. It delivers everything I look for in deck paint for boats, from durability and speed of drying to ease of use and adhesion.
This one can astound anyone who has given most boat deck paints a try but ended up with short-lived finishes. One of my Jon boats whose decks I painted with this 5 years ago is still going strong. Sure, it has faded a bit and could use a fresh layer any time, but I can’t say the same for other brands.
Protection and durability go together in my book. This paint wins in both. I’ve exposed my boat to the whole nine yards of abuse over those 5 years, and all I’ll say is that it gave little ground against sun and moisture damage.
It’s a breeze to apply. Any roller will do for the majority of the coverage, and I use a $2 brush to perform the required touchups. It self-fills quite nicely as a bonus. It also offers slip resistance to a degree, but there’s not as much traction as a purpose-built non-slip boat deck paint.
3. TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint
Wet Edge lasts a long time, flows like butter, and keeps for a long time.
I’m going to go ahead and say that I love applying this paint. I can’t get enough of how smoothly it flows, and you don’t need a whole can of thinner to get it to that consistency. I use the recommended thinner and get an eye-catching finish every time. It self-levels, too, and if you know me I can’t get enough of paint that manages this.
I stick to recommendations of applying thin coats, normally three coats in total. I found that I don’t need an assistant for tipping because, again, it’s so easy to apply. I would even go so far as to say that it’s made me “addicted” to painting boat decks and hulls, taking every chance I get to freshen up a vessel or two.
I use a primer if the previous paint has worn out. But if that’s not the case and the paint’s still solid, I discovered that it still provides excellent coverage even without a primer. It takes less than a day to dry in most applications in optimal weather. It’s the kind of dry that I know won’t mess up once I plant my feet on it.
The brand recommends xylene as a thinner, and that’s a downer for me because it’s not always available where I live. I also appear to be struggling to find stocks of this paint even on online shopping platforms nowadays.
4. KiwiGrip KG10171R Non-Skid Coating
KiwiGrip reviews have lauded this boat deck coating as the best paint for boat decks. I agree to a certain degree, especially if I’m going to compare its non-skid magic to other brands.
To be completely honest, this product had me scratching my head when I learned that it doesn’t use sand or any other filler that paints usually add to impart a non-skid benefit. I was a doubter at the start and only tried out the cheapest and smallest container that came in. Well, long story short, it blew me away the moment I learned how it does its magic.
It’s because it’s so easy to apply AND you get outstanding traction from the finish. Do take note that I make it a point to sand any surface I’m applying it on first. Sometimes, I also use acetone to great results. Overall, you don’t need to take too much prep time to apply it properly.
However small its coverage, the roller that it comes with undoubtedly deserves as much praise because it produces the kind of texture that results in great traction every time. It’s grippy traction minus the harsh, all-too-sharp texture of most non-skid finishes. Unlike other paints, it doesn’t stink up the workplace or storage shed, either.
As for durability, I have a center console whose deck still looks close to good as new after 2 years. I don’t always subject it to torrential rains and heavy sunlight, though. Even so, it’s still a miracle it maintained its finish in my opinion.
5. Evercoat 853 Skid-No-More Rubberized Coating
This marine non-skid deck paint is tough in more ways than one. It can be tough to handle, but it won’t leave you disappointed in the durability department. Moreover, it’s one of the few that can do well on both metal and wood surfaces.
I use this on most of the aluminum and wood decks of my own sailboat and the pontoon that my brother owns. To me, it lasted longer in the aluminum deck; it’s been close to 4 years and it still looks good. It peeled in certain parts, but a day of sanding remedied it before long. On wood decks, the most that I’ve got out of it is 2 years before I reapplied a fresh layer, but that’s just my experience.
Speaking of application, it’s quite a puzzle to apply properly the first time I tried it out. I need to stress the word “properly” because you have to make sure its grits are distributed evenly. I didn’t get the results I want (i.e. the right leveling) with the squeegee recommendation so I used a mud knife instead. It leveled out better with the knife and it stuck like glue with the standard Rust-Oleum primer I used.
I like the relative affordability of every can as well. For what I always get out of it, it’s a bonafide bang for my buck. Even so, I wish it would come in basic black and white colors, and for the available hues to at least be more attractive. Nothing a more eye-catching top coat won’t remedy before long, though.
6. Rust-Oleum 207009 Marine Anti-Slip Additive
If your deck paint doesn’t have the skid resistance you want, you can always have a way out of that common rut with this additive.
This is the additive that I won’t mind using on my boat decks, bathroom floors, and venues where accidents, life-threatening or otherwise, are more likely to occur. It imparts the kind of grip you would expect boats in the Navy would have, as long as you apply it properly. Incidentally, it’s quite easy to apply.
It’s not choosy with the paint it works with. In fact, as long as it’s suitable, I make it a point to mix it with my other deck paints to just give them the kind of traction I can trust, especially if the seas get rough.
I’ve gotten consistent results in the anti-slip feature even if I sometimes use less than what the brand recommends to add. It pairs well with the brand’s Topside marine paint, but I also tend to use it on other paint brands because it doesn’t really limit itself to the brand’s catalog. It’s not hard to use and mix at all, a quart of paint will do. It self-levels nicely, and I get consistent results with a roller, spray, or brush.
7. Durabak 18 Textured Non-Slip Coating
The Textured version of the Durabak 18 serves as the better non-slip deck paint for boats than the Smooth variety. Though pricey, I always get the durability and grip I want.
I once painted this, on a Jeep and not on a boat deck, when it was close to 101 degrees Fahrenheit outside. It still adhered well and cured excellently after a day in the shade. Sure, I most probably won’t be doing that again, but I wished to highlight this product’s adaptability in that regard; it’s bound to exceed your expectations.
For boat decks, I’ve applied it on a few fiberglass, wood, and metal surfaces to great results. It comes ready to be used after opening every can. Of course, I often do the sanding, use a primer like a xylene if available, and other preparations if necessary, but the said aspect does save me loads of time.
That last aspect, plus the fact that it comes in a variety of attractive colors, convinces me that I’m getting my money’s worth despite the relatively high price of each quart. For one, I often don’t have to cover the finish with a better-looking topcoat.
8. KILZ L394811 Over Armor Smooth
Over Armor’s Smooth version is a steal for every gallon, especially if you have to work with a wooden boat deck. It’s attractive, has good coverage per coat, superb adhesion, and great durability.
I like the light brown, peanut butter-like finish of this. It’s more pleasing to my eyes than the chocolate-brown finish. It’s a little hard to manage, and I need to do the basic prep work every time. But once you get the right consistency, it’s going to stick for good and wows me with its superior coverage that can beat the others featured here.
I often rely on this budget-friendly paint when I need to restore decks that have peeled and cracked. I painted this on the teak deck of my center console 3 years ago. It’s still looking good besides a few peels here and there. That’s what convinced me it deserves a spot here.
Do take note that this is a very thick paint, too thick to my liking. I often have to thin it out with water to get to the consistency so I won’t struggle to spread it. It takes time and that’s one of the main downsides. Considering the price, I wasn’t that surprised. Still, it’s not a problem that doesn’t have a ready solution, so it’s a minor issue to me at best.
9. Liquid Rubber Smooth Polyurethane Coating
This coating can fool anyone who has handled coatings and stains before. In a very good way, I must add.
It doesn’t advertise itself as a non-slip coating but this is actually one of the few Smooth coatings I’ve tried that doesn’t feel slippery at all when wet. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this, so I’ve been liberally applying it to most of my boat decks ever since. Sure, it’s not as strong as other naturally non-slip paints out there. Even if that’s the case, I never use an additive to get the grip I’m aiming for whenever I use this.
I can readily compare it to other brands I’ve tried and there are more than a handful that pales next to it, especially if we’re going to consider durability. I can’t say much about how it manages to keep the elements in check, but I think the coatings that last for 3 or more years speak for themselves.
I love the nuances in color options. I’ve tried out a number of them over the years and found the greys and browns to be the most ideal for my boat decks. A one-gallon can is not exactly cheap, but for the quality, this should be obvious. It’s worth every penny, though.This paint almost always guarantees that it’s better than the paint you last used on your deck.
10. TUFF Coat UT-100 Non-Skid Coating
TUFF Coat is a heady mix of durability, aesthetics, environment-friendliness, and marine-grade slip prevention.
This coating’s claim that it is “extremely durable” caught my fancy from the get-go. I like brands that make bold statements and am more than willing to test their claims. Well, I’m glad I did because this is probably one of the few coatings here that I would never have second thoughts using on any kind of boat deck.
It looks and feels great and safe when stepped on. In addition, this paint doesn’t have the harsh texture you normally associate with non-skid coatings. I attribute this to the rubber, which you need to make sure is mixed well with the paint to ensure optimal coatings. The former tends to stay at the bottom of the can, after all.
The options for boat deck paint colors are excellent to boot. I prefer the chocolate-looking finish it provides because it does well to hide the stains that we usually get when we’re out boating and fishing in muddy waters. Though it provides a potent non-skid grip, it’s actually not a pain to clean with a regular garden hose. Stains come right off in the first blast.
11. KILZ Over Armor Textured
Over Armor Textured is the more complete, marine-ready option in the KILZ boat deck paint catalog.
Is my favoritism for this brand beginning to show? I’m not really being biased, though. If I’m going to ensure excellent coverage and durability Over Armor, why not go all the way and make it more slip-resistant and provide better protection against bad weather?
Yes, the Textured version is far more expensive but if I mix a non-skid additive with the Smooth, I think the price difference evens out to a certain degree. The non-slip feature of the Textured is fantastic and consistent, though, making it hard to ignore altogether. It still feels smooth, too, even when you walk barefoot on it.
This very first coating still looks great after 2 years, so I’m satisfied with the general durability. It more than makes up for the effort and time it asks from you. I’ve subjected that center console’s deck to hours of sun and moisture during that span of time with minimal cleanups. Take note that I applied only one coat, and it dried remarkably quickly. I did clean the surface thoroughly first.
12. INSL-X SU031009A-01 Sure Step Coating
This premium paint delivers your money’s worth by imparting strong traction and keeps for a long time.
I like the consistency of this paint. It’s thick like rubber but won’t leave you tired to your bones the moment you roll or brush it. It takes some effort to stir, but not much to complain about. Plus, I won’t trade this paint’s excellent coverage for the world. I usually don’t need excessive amounts of it to cover the areas I’m working on, and it dries fast and feels hard and thick once it does.
I’ve tried more than a handful of paints that claim to be non-skid before. More often than not, the majority of them aren’t able to achieve the kind of texture or traction I can be confident in; usually, I had to add more coatings than was recommended. This one is an exception in that it imparts the right traction with two layers every time. No slips and falls to note since application.
I said it keeps for a long time because my current Jon boat’s aluminum still sports its smooth finish 2 and a half years after the initial application. It’s not exactly UV resistant so I made it a point to refrain from letting it take in too much of the sun’s rays, especially if the temperatures are on the high side. Other than that, I believe its waterproof and abrasion protection deserves a thumb’s up.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Boat Deck Paint
I suggest you don’t steer away too much from these vital criteria when making your decision.
- Slip Resistance and Water Protection
The safest choice is always a paint that offers anti-slip because you need to be confident that you won’t slip or fall regardless of how much your deck gets wet. Not all anti-slip paints and additives are slip-resistant and vice versa. However, getting any of the two would always be a good step in the right direction. Waterproof paint not only tends to stay on longer but is easier to clean, too.
Paints that are UV resistant can resist most weather conditions and can handle the pressure of regular foot traffic and abrasions are what you should aim for if you want coats to last. Epoxy boat floor paint tends to be a safe option for this, but as my list above proves, you should also give other kinds of paint a try, even water-based ones.
- Color and Aesthetics
Your boat’s deck is often the one area of your vessel where you can flaunt your style. The colors you choose can either make or break that factor for you. If you want coatings that can hide the dirt and grime, then I suggest you choose darker ones. As much as possible, don’t let the color for boat decks depart too much from its overall theme.
What Is The Best Boat Deck Paint
You’ll see a lot of reviews and feedback raining praises on household brands like KiwiGrip, Rust-Oleum, and TotalBoat for a good reason. Their products exemplify the best qualities of paint for boat decks.
However, I simply can’t ignore my positive experiences with KILZ, Tuff, Durabak, and the other brands mentioned here. They excel in key areas that I normally can’t do without in my boat paints, namely, slip resistance and durability.
How Should I Prepare My Boat Before Painting
Oftentimes, the paint products themselves would give you detailed instructions about how to prepare your boat to achieve optimal results. In most cases, I’ve discovered that it’s best to stick to these instructions.
Otherwise, it’s always best to sand surfaces prior to application, especially if you’re doing a repaint and have to remove flaky stains and coats. It’s standard practice to make sure the surface is spick-and-span clean before you apply any paint product on it.
How Do You Paint A Fiberglass Boat Deck
Besides a few unique steps you need to take, it’s not that much different from painting wood or metal surfaces actually. Make sure you keep the fiberglass clean and dry before applying any kind of paint. Let it dry in a place where it won’t be subject to further moisture or dirt.
An important step you shouldn’t forget is to mask off the area you intend to paint. You can use a suitable painter’s tape for this to make sure the final finish won’t have irregular co.
Paint for fiberglass boat decks usually requires a primer, but not always. Only use it if the specific paint product calls for it. With the area dried and masked off, you can now begin painting. After you’re done, you can now remove the tape and from there, it’s a waiting game till the coat you applied dries completely.
Is Anti-Slip Decking Paint Any Good
Yes, there’s no shortage of paints and additives that give the traction you want in your deck surfaces. However, not all of them last long and may need regular application over time. Some are so easy to apply that you won’t mind rolling a fresh layer should the previous coatings begin losing their grip.
The best boat deck paint can give you that much-needed Zen-like peace when out boating, fishing, or cruising. Why? Because you won’t have to worry about slips, falls, and a worn-out deck once you apply it. The products I’ve highlighted here can, more or less, help you attain that as long as you pinpoint the best ones for your purposes.