Boat paints must withstand both low and high temperatures and be UV-resistant. The water and abrasion resistance of clear varnishes for boats must also be even more effective and offer more protection than regular clear varnish. In contrast to coloured lacquers, clear varnishes are transparent and thus preserve the natural colour, structure and beauty of wood on boats and yachts. Specially developed clear varnishes are available to match the many different types of wood. Discover our wide range of 1 and 2-component clear varnishes, clear varnishes for hard wood, for interior and exterior coatings, high-gloss and satin-finish clear varnish, parquet varnish & boat oil from International, Hempel, Le Tonkinois, Epifanes, Star Brite and Owatrol.
1-component clear varnish or 2-component clear varnish
Some clear varnishes consist of one or two components (base and hardener). The type of clear varnish you should use for your boat depends on the type of wood. Wood varies depending on how much moisture it contains. A 1-component clearcoat is more suitable for heavyduty wood, such as in carvel planking, or clinker planking constructions, as it is more elastic than a 2-component clearcoat. When using 2-component clear coats on wood or areas where there is a lot of movement, the likelihood of flaking and cracking is high. Hard 2-component clear coats are ideal for areas subject to high wear, such as skirting boards, hatch edges or walkways.
Preparation for clear varnishing
Before starting to apply clear varnish to your boat, you should put on suitable protective clothing and clean, degrease and sand the surface to be treated. Make sure that the wood is not too damp. Measure the moisture level with a hygrometer and apply the first clear coat if the moisture content of the wood is below 16%. Any layers of varnish that are already peeling must be completely removed. If the old surface is in a good condition, you only need to lightly sand the old varnish with 280-320 grain. In the case of wood surfaces that have not yet been treated, it is advisable to dilute the clear varnish according to the manufacturer's recommendations for the first 1-2 coats. This allows clear coats to penetrate better into the wood and better adhesion is achieved.
Applying clear varnish and number of layers
Clear varnish can be painted with a brush or a roller. To do this, pour the transparent varnish into a separate container. Applying clear varnish with a roller is the fastest and easiest method, especially for flat, large surfaces. If applying varnish with a brush, hold the brush at a 90° angle for the first coat. We then recommend painting over the varnish with the brush at a 45° angle. If the grain in the wood is strong or the surface is coarse, we recommend painting in the direction of the grain and thinning the clear varnish for the first coat. The number of recommended layers and thickness can be found on the label of each clear varnish. As a rule, manufacturers recommend between 2 and 6 coats of clear varnish. The more layers you apply and the more frequently you sand the previous layer in between, the more gloss you will achieve. Every year at least one new coat should be applied to maintain the UV protection of the clear coat.
Document the work you have carried out in your personal "paint logbook". Stored safely, it will make it easier for you to make the right decision for later repairs.