Over the last few years I have been painting the skins of my skin on frame boats with polyurethane varnish. The varnish has UV blockers in it that protect the synthetic boat fabric from degradation by the UV. The fabric I use is either nylon and of late, mostly polyester. Both get degraded by UV more or less equally. Degradation means the fiber loses its flexibility and strength and crumbles into dust. This is not a good thing in a boat skin and so it must be prevented.
In the past, I would try to touch up the varnish. That worked for a little while but new polyurethane does not adhere well to old polyurethane. The touch up varnish when exposed to sunlight for about a year starts to peel off.
|Here's the original latex painted boat, exposed to full sun for over two years already with no visible damage to the paint.|
The solution as it turned out is latex paint. Latex paint sticks to degraded polyurethane varnish and it effectively blocks UV radiation and it also is more flexible than polyurethane and does not crack. Coincidentally, the polymer used in latex paint is acrylic, same stuff that they make UV resistant fabric like Sunbrella out of. You might ask, why not just cover the boats in sunbrella. Good question. I suspect it has to do with the price of sunbrella. And you still have to paint the stuff to make it waterproof.
|Here's the King Island kayak about to get a coat of tan paint. Note the previously yellowish varnish starting to turn a chalky white, a clear sign that is near the end of its life.|
The paint I was using was free give-away stuff left over from repainting about an acre's worth of commercial buildings in the neighborhood. The commercial buildings have not peeled and neither have my boats. Only drawback to this paint is its color, an unattractive sort of Desert Storm Tan. Oh well, I also have four gallons of Gulf of Tonkin Gray.
|And here is one of my baidarkas with a new coat of Desert Storm Tan or maybe it should be called, Afghanis-Tan or would you prefer Afghanistan-Tan|
In any case, I painted about 4 boats yesterday. Six left to go.