Varnish & Paint Sequence

This is a really dumb question, I know. But it must have gone through the minds of many about to start the final varnish and paint job on their boats.

On the assumption that one is going to finish the boat (kayak) with a varnished deck and the hull painted.  What do you do first ?

My own choice would be to do the hull first.


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RE: Varnish & Paint Sequence


I painted first (the bottom, up over the hull chine, and a stripe along the shear line and across all seams), then I varnished right over top of the paint.  It looks nice and I didn't have to re-tape to varnish.  Someone on here also said something like "varnish sticks over paint better than the other way around." 

Only issue is the amber hue in the varnish.  It gave my green paint (Brightsides) a richer, warmer color.  I liked the final result!

Chese 17LT

Good luck,


RE: Varnish & Paint Sequence

Thanks for this Larry.

I have decided to paint the entire hull ~ boring white (but at least it will be visible in poor light), with a varnished deck.  I shall do as you did, bring the paint over the sheerline and about an inch onto the deck.

I had considered doing the paint-job (hull) first, but thought I'd put it to the forum.

I did see the posts to do with varnish-over-paint vs using lots of fineline tape. Mixed opinions there.

Still some hand-sanding of the chines and sheer to do, but it's almost over !

I like the paint-scheme of your boat. Mine isn't too pretty along the side panels, so I chose the (safer) paint route.


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