View Full Version : how to re-coat a canvas deck?

John P Lebens
01-26-2010, 12:32 AM
I am in the process of stripping years of old enamel off my foredeck. Both the canvas and wood underneath are in good condition. I'll need to re-coat with something and would appreciate your thoughts.

I have heard that a breathable coating is best over canvas. Enamel was used in the past and it held up well except it began to crack because of the many layers. Both Gaco and Deckote are modern elastomeric coatings. Spantex is another option.

Other ideas/experience?

wizbang 13
01-26-2010, 07:13 AM
Ever heard of an old product called "sav-cote"? Friend used to use it on a boat 50 plus year old canvas.As he got older, I used to apply 1 coat a year under his instruction. It never seemed to build up, just went away(in a good way).Very strong smell, special thinner.

01-26-2010, 04:39 PM
sanitred permaflex liquid polyurethane rubber.

01-26-2010, 05:23 PM
Hmmm. You stripped off tons of old enamel paint layers and the canvas and wood are still in good shape after all those years? Sounds like a pretty solid argument for enamel paint. High quality, low gloss with some non-skid mixed in if needed.

- Norm

John P Lebens
01-26-2010, 11:29 PM
That dang enamel started cracking after only 58 years!

01-27-2010, 12:40 AM
John, do a search for Jay Greer's advice on canvas decks, he has done quite a few posts on the subject in response to the same question as your own and I understand that he has many many years of doing canvas decks.

Here is one exerpt of his that I had copied and saved myself, I'm sure he won't mind me repeating it:

"The trick with the paint is not to use marine enamel. Ordinary semi gloss house paint that has been thinned out with turpentine is the way it has been done for over a hundred years. House paint is designed to sluff off as it ages and is scrubbed. In this way, the fabric never becomes paint sick."

John P Lebens
01-27-2010, 11:50 AM
Here is another quote from a Jay entry at the forum -

10-15-2009, 04:45 PM
Jay Greer
Senior Member

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Port Townsend WA
Posts: 4,277
Re: Deck paint...what's your pleasure?
The traditional paint for canvas decks that works equally well over glass fiber is oil based semi gloss exterior house paint. One may wonder why house paint would be used rather than a marine enamel. The truth of the matter is that house paint is designed to sluff off and present a new surface in order to retain its color and avoid build up. It is the build up of paint skin that makes canvas and glass decks slippery, when wet. Decks only need repainting when the color becomes uneven. Another bonus is that, because it sluffs off, little sanding prep is usually needed. Unfortunatly, oil based house paint is becoming difficult to find due to EPA restrictions.

01-27-2010, 11:57 AM
maybe Kirby's Paint Company can help with a oil based paint that might suit your needs. I know that in Vancouuver British Clombia an oil based paint is mighty hard to find -if at all.

Just my two cents;)

John P Lebens
01-27-2010, 01:28 PM
Last year I used a very high quality enamel from Fine Paints of Europe to refinish the interior cupboards. The results (my prep and a skilled painter) were excellent. Calling the local vendor this morning, I learned that this oil based paint is good for outdoors and available in a matt, semi-gloss and gloss finish. It sounds like the semi-gloss may work for this deck.

I like the idea of doing this the traditional way and can get an exact color match with this oil based paint.

Lew Barrett
01-27-2010, 09:08 PM
By reading between Jay's lines you might infer that it needs to be applied thinned. At least I think that's a good idea. If the paint is thick at all, thin it. You want to wash it on and add coats as necessary to get an even color. It couldn't be simpler to do and to paint. You don't want to fill the cloth's texture, so thinning the paint helps protect against that. Even more critical with acrylic/latex if you were to go that way. I like oil based myself though.

01-27-2010, 10:35 PM
Benjamin Moore makes an oil based alkyd enamel...

John P Lebens
01-27-2010, 11:50 PM
Two other questions:

1) the paint I am removing is lead paint and I assume the lead has had something to do with preserving the canvas and deck. A lot of the old material will stay embedded in the canvas. Hopefully the newer non-leaded paint will adequately preserve what's under it.

2) I wonder how a good modern oil based enamel will move with the changes in humidity and heat. Will it be as flexible as the elastomeric stuff? Will it flex enough to maintain it's integrity?

Jay Greer
01-31-2010, 01:45 PM
It is interesting to note that John's deck retain's it's integrity still, after some fifty years of use. Certainly, here is a living testimonial to favor one traditional proceedure as opposed to modern rubberized coatings which cannot match the longevity and reliability of a proven method and product.