wax or spray?

Just got my kayak out of winter storage, starting to clean it up.  I was thinking of either putting some wax on the kayak to give it a nice shine plus a little uv protection, or using some uv protective spray.  Basically I was wondering if I should  use boating specific wax or a good quality car wax if I go that route.  The UV protectant spray I bought from a local kayak shop and says it's specifically for kayaks and other watercraft.  I can't remember the brand at the moment though.

 The finish that is currently on the kayak is a varnished bright finish, approximately 3 layers of varnish over the fiberglass.

Thanks for any input.


9 replies:

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RE: wax or spray?

PUT DOWN THE WAX TIN AND STEP AWAY! Seriously, don't put any wax or UV inhibitors on your boat. Wax and other contaminants can be a major headache if you ever need to refinish with varnish. You need to remove 100% of it or you will get fisheyes when you refinish. (see MrKim's thread) Marine varnish is designed as a UV inhibitor and looks great so why not just put on a new coat?

RE: wax or spray?

This question has been asked many times and I have read many different answers.  So I wrote to Yacht Paint the makers of Interlux and was told that all wax would have to be removed before another coat of varnish could be applied.

Now with that said... if you dont scratch up your yak, and just want to refresh it, then use a good qualitiy Marine wax.  Stay away from the 303 you got from the Kayak Shop, it is made for plastic boats and is just a concetrated version of ArmourAll.

If you do end up needing to do a repair, then you will have to wipe down (scrub) the yak with mineral Spirits, and then Aceatone.  Plus you will be sanding around the repair as well.

For me it is a cost thing.  Varnish $30 a quart = 1 coat, 3M Boat Wax $12 a can = 30 coats.  And have a little finesse with the yak.  Repair on a wood yak works pretty much the same as it does a composite yak, you gotta strip the wax before the resin or gel coat will stick.  So as long as you dont gouge or punch holes and the varnish is in good shape, then I wax.


RE: wax or spray?

Thanks for the responses.  Main reason I was thinking of using the wax is because I don't have access at the moment to a good place to put another coat of varnish on the kayak, as much as I'd like to.  As for the spray I have, it's McNett UV protectant.  Here's a link. 


 I think for now, I'm gonna wait and see if I can get access to a place and just do the varnish, don't want to mess things up by using the spray or wax untill I've done a bit more research on how well they'll work.

Anyway, thanks again for the input.


P.S.  Link to pics of my kayak during most of the building process and some R/C stuff as well. 


RE: wax or spray?

Kev, you should be able to get a bit more than one coat from a quart of varnish, especially as "touch up".  Are you cutting it at all? 


RE: wax or spray?

PRO WAX:  I use 3M Marine paste wax/polish (with UV inhibitor) on my wooden kayaks.  Reason is is that surface scratches can be quickly buffed out, keeping the boats looking like new for many seasons, without having to re varnish.  The UV protection can't hurt either.  And, yes, it is necessary to remove the wax (easily done with a fine scruffy pad and paint thinner) then sand before applying new varnish.  I like applying a light coat of wax each spring and running my automobile buffer over the boats much better than sanding and varnishing.  I've used the spray you mention on my fiberglass sailboats and kayaks with good result.  Good luck.  Jer (aka mtsailor)  

RE: wax or spray?

Hey FrankP, you are very much correct, I did indeed miss-speak.  I said coats, I meant yaks.  And yes, I get 5-7 coats on an 18' yak with 2 qts. of varnish, thinning enough to spray thru my HVLP.  But the you add the cost of the 333 to thin, and the 216 to clean the gun, and it costs even more.  I still like 3M wax for sprucing.


RE: wax or spray?


Save yourself some big bucks on the gun cleaner. You definitely don't need the manufacturer's specified thinners. Those are only for compatibility with the finish when applying. Use any thinner from a big box store to do the major cleaning and then follow up with a small amount of lacquer thinner shot through the gun. Works like a charm.

RE: wax or spray?

Just finished using the Interlux Perfection varnish on my yak with good results adding the 2333 thinner. It went on with a foam brush no mess or overspray to deal with like spraying would.

 The have some good tips here on applying varnish I found useful.

The main problem I found with varnishing is floating junk that lands on the wet finish. One afternoon I left a window open and came back later to see it covered in specks I discovered with the sun shining into the area it was from a roll of toilet paper near the window.

 Cleaning out a spray gun with lacquer thinner is standard I would put a shot of compatable thinner thru it before loading up the varnish just to be sure the lacquer thinner is flushed out and spray a burst of varnish into something before hitting the boat with it.

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