We are using a two-part polyurethane paint and we're wondering if we need to use wax on the newly painted topsides and deck? We have used Don Casey's book (This Old Boat), but it doesn't mention this.
Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. The reason that Casey doesn't cover waxing over your new polyurethane paint job is that it's unnecessary. When properly applied, polyurethane paint provides superior abrasion resistance, chafe and erosion resistance, toughness, flexibility, gloss, and color retention. It comes from the aircraft industry originally, and as you can imagine, applying wax over it would simply add weight that would be costly in terms of fuel efficiency. Of course that's much less of a concern for sailors, but it's really unnecessary.
Regarding the use of wax on deck, I wouldn't recommend it for any areas that are meant to be stepped upon. You're going to want to have the best footing possible in those areas, and a slick coat of wax will work against you in that regard.
Here's wishing you the best of luck with your refit, so that you can get back out sailing as soon as possible.