Eurybia is 27 years old and the pre-formed nonskid deck was failing. The gelcoat is still in excellent condition, but the non-skid is stained, cracking, and you could see the silvery thread of fiberglass showing through in places. In the past we have used KiwiGrip paint on our decks and we decided to use it again. We love it because it is water-based, attractive, easy to apply or re-apply and best of all it has a grippy texture which still manages to be easy on your skin. It comes in grey, cream, white or blue. We selected the light grey over our tan non-skid. The colors do seem to darken slightly over the first year or two.
If you have a boat with new decks with no non-skid you will need to define your own areas and allow for water run-off. Read about applying non-skid to new decks.
The instructions for applying KiwiGrip over non-skid decking are brief – clean it and de-wax if wax has been applied in the last five years. And then:
To prepare the old nonskid to accept KiwiGrip, scrub the surface thoroughly with a rotary green pad or wire brush, making sure that all the peaks and valleys are well dulled off. Then scrub with boat soap and water, allowing the surface to dry before masking and applying KiwiGrip. KiwiGrip will typically hide old non-skid that is less than 1.5 mm in height.from the KiwiGrip site
Since our deck was already quite scuffed and worn with no wax, we did not sand or scuff it after washing. KiwiGrip also cautions that dish soaps, which can contain grease should NOT be used to clean the decks, use a traditional boat soap. Although we also need to clean and buff the gelcoat, because of the sensitivity of the KiwiGrip to wax we will wax and buff the gelcoat AFTER the non-skid has completed curing.
After the deck is clean and dry you start taping. I used green tape which is a little more flexible than blue tape – great for gentle curves. You will also need an exacto knife for trimming the corners. I use an Olfa 300 with snap-off blades. Since I am changing both color and texture I ran the tape slightly outside the existing non-skid to make sure it would be completely covered. I decided to paint starting at the bow and moving backwards, so for each section of non-skid I started taping at the AFT end of the section and taped forward – in the opposite direction I would be moving as I painted. This caused the forward pieces of tape to be taped on top of the more aft sections, allowing me to more easily remove the tape from the forward edge first. Tape across the curves then use the knife to carefully remove the excess tape. Tape in relatively short sections of 1-2 feet. This paint sets up quickly and you need to remove the tape as you go – before it sets up. Also tape off all hardware in the path. The roller is large and it’s all too easy to touch the stanchions or rigging as you move along.
Interestingly it took me about the same amount of time to tape a section as it did to paint it. Your mileage may vary.
After the taping is complete for the area you want to paint in one day, it is time to start painting. You will need a trash can with a trash bag (a five gallon bucket works well), paper towels to clean up splashes, a wide palette knife and the provided loopy-loop roller (see image). Rubber gloves help as well, although you may want to leave your left (non-dominant) hand without a glove to make the tape easier to peel up. It tends to stick to the glove.
The paint is quite thick, about the consistency of yogurt. I used a 3-4″ palette knife to scoop out the paint and spread it to the edges of the area I was working on, applying one or two square feet at a time. Then you use the provided roller to raise the texture. Roll back and forth to completely cover the area. Then a light roll over the whole section to even out texture, erase lines or furrows, and make sure the tape edges are well covered. Then start the next 1-2 foot area in the same way. After the second area is complete it’s probably time to remove the tape for the first area. Pull carefully and toss the paint-laden tape in the trash can.
That’s it. Now all you have to do is stay off the decks for two days and then enjoy your new-looking boat! From the KiwiGrip manual:
At 60° to 70° F, KiwiGrip will tack up in under an hour. You can walk on your new decks without shoes in 24 hours. The product will be tough but slightly rubbery in less than 48 hours, and will reach final hardness in 48 to 72 hours.from the KiwiGrip site