How frequently revarnish hull

Another rookie question that I haven't been able to find directly relevant info on via google search.  I am trying to get the best sense possible for what I am getting into and committing to before starting.

I realize the answer will be "it depends".  Nonetheless, what are reasonable expectations for how frequently an epoxy + varnish hull finish will need to be sanded and revarnished?

- Stich and glue marine plywood kayak
- Mid-Atlantic region,
- Stored outdoors but in the shade and with a cover. 
- Moderate boat use in mostly calm water. 
- I expect the boat will develop minor scratches on hull bottom due to putting in and taking out at a beach (although I do not expect to be dragging it on sand).

Is the interior more susceptible (from feet / more contact) or less because it is protected from the sun more, and is that much more difficult?

I have owned fiberglass sailboats with teak rails that needed sanding down and varnishing every 1-2 years.  But that was in full sun, saltwater, and with no epoxy coating on the wood, just varnish on teak.  From what I read and intuitively expect, the epoxy layers underneath help the varnish last much longer.


4 replies:

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RE: How frequently revarnish hull

It depends :-)

Other than keeping my boats in the garage, I'm in the same situation as you. Depending on what's happened to the specific boat, I've gone as much as 7 years and as few as 1.



RE: How frequently revarnish hull

>> From what I read and intuitively expect, the epoxy layers underneath help the varnish last much longer. <<

Not really. The epoxy under the varnish helps the boat look good longer. But once it starts to go you're in a world of hurt.

The varnish is there to protect the epoxy from UV, like sunscreen. If you wait until the wear and tear starts getting down to the wood, like many of us do with varnish by itself, then both the varnish and epoxy layers are damaged and you'll need to repair both. Same thing if you only wait until the epoxy starts to yellow. Either means stripping off the varnish so you can fix the epoxy. That's a Big Job.

You'll want to touch up the varnish before the elements wear through to the epoxy. If you're storing in the shade you can probably get by with "every few years". There's no hard rule, though. To quote someone famous: "It depends."


RE: How frequently revarnish hull

   I live in the Hudson Valley in NY. My kayaks are stored outside, upside down,  year-round, no cover. I generally revarnish them in the winter when I have no other boat work or they are scratched to the epoxy or I am prepping them to show off.


RE: How frequently revarnish hull

  " It depends." 

My boat often spends weeks, and miles on the roof rack of my truck. It goes paddling in water with rocks, stumps, coral, oysters and concrete boat ramps.  It gets scratched, sun burnt and bumped.  I usually patch the big scratches that get into the epoxy shortly after occurance. The minor ones wait till after a trip. The deck often gets areas with sunburn from the truck rides.  But not bad. More likely wear marks like under the pump get thin and "burnt" easier.   I usually touch up the deck burnt/scratched areas when patching the bottom.

Stripping the rigging off and re-varnishing..........once in five years. 

Most of my boats are stored inside at other times.   Which is where they are right now while I'm camped 10 feet from a launch to a wonderful cyprus ringed lake. ........Darn......better for them to be out in the weather and used. 

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