Varnish on Companionway Stairs - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-20-2008 Thread Starter
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Varnish on Companionway Stairs

I am redoing the varnish my companionway stairs. I need to ask what type of varnish does everyone recommend to use in this area. I want something with a little grit in it so I don't slip while descending down the stairs. I don't want to put the ugly black sandpaper looking strips down.

Melissa Renee
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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You can use just about any good quality varnish, and add abrasive to it. I used Minwax Helmsman spar urethane on mine. You can add interlux intergrip to that if you want. Don't use additive from the hardware store, it's just sand and will look bad in varnish.

You could also go with ultimate sole. The ad says it has superior traction when wet. That way you don't have to add anything to it.


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post #3 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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Ultimate Sole truly does have non skid characteristics even when wet. And it seems to be a pretty tough product. However the companionway steps are an area of high traffic and high wear.

On our last boat we found some clear stick-down non skid (from Home Depot or somewhere similar) that we put on our freshly varnished steps - looked way better than the "black sandpaper strips" (which we have now on our current boat - I hear what you're saying). This clear stuff worked, stayed stuck and did not visibly stick out.

Even Ultimate Sole is going to wear in that location.....

Ron

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post #4 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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We have medium brown soft rubber diamond non skid pads installed by the PO. Looks better than the black sandpaper; soft grippy feel, decent match to the darker brown wood stain. I'm not sure the abrasive in the varnish will provide a safe enough grip on an important spot.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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Ultimate Sole is a wonderful product. It does indeed have non-slip properties when wet, and it's very easy to apply. I think you could tip over a can on your sole, walk away, and it would self-level and dry bubble-free in a few hours. Well, almost!

Don't know how tough it is. I've put some in my forward cabin sole and in the head over 2 years ago. Still looks great. For kicks, I tried some on the cabin teak trim....looks great, too.

Next spring, I'm gonna re-do my companionway steps with Ultimate Sole. I may also put some sort of attractive step material there, because it is a very high traffic area and sometimes you have heavy boots carrying sand, dirt, etc. No varnish is gonna withstand that, not even the incredibly tough, resilient, and expensive Coelan varnish I used 3 years ago on my cockpit trim (and it still looks good....amaaaazing). But my dog Max -- an 85lb Lab Retriever -- can rather easily scratch it when he boards and I forget to put down a towel for him. And, this is the toughest varnish I've ever seen.

Bill

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post #6 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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I made non-skid on stairs once using ground walnut shells. I put down two coats of finish and covered the second coat in crushed walnut shells while it was still wet. Once it dried, I vacuumed off the excess walnut shells then put on a third and fourth coat. The surface was incredibly tenacious non-skid; almost to the point of being uncomfortable in bare feet.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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I also used Minwax spar urethane on mine. I find that it's really not slippery at all and has been wearing quite well

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post #8 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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salt or sugar on the next to last coat of varnish while it's still wet, has a nice non-slip grip that's re-finish friendly because it doesn't tear up or clog the sandpaper.

Ken.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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I used the Ultimate Sole with excellent results but also used clear stick on strips that are normally used for bathtub traction. Looks professional and held up well and easy to replace without re-doing the varnish job.

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post #10 of 16 Old 12-20-2008
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Hey Melrna, did you manage to ply the soft liner off the coachroof ? Was it as easy as ABC ?

Ken
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