Top 10 Best Paint for Wooden Boat Decks in 2024 – Ultimate Guide

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Selecting the perfect paint for your wooden boat deck is crucial for both its appearance and durability.

With numerous options available, it’s essential to choose a product that not only enhances the beauty of your boat but also protects it from the harsh marine environment.

According to DiveIn’s comprehensive review on boat paints, selecting the best paint for wooden boat decks involves considering several factors including durability, resistance to elements, and the finish.

Here are ten best paint for wooden boat decks available on, each with a brief description along with their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Are You in a Hurry? Discover The 3 Best Paint for Wooden Boat Decks

Consider these top three non-skid deck paints for a quick decision. TotalBoat TotalTread offers excellent slip resistance but has limited color options.

Durabak stands out for its toughness and versatility, though application can be messy.

Pettit Paint EZ-Decks provides easy maintenance and good coverage, but multiple coats may be needed. Choose the one that aligns with your priorities and set sail confidently.

Buying Guide: Selecting the Best Paint for Your Wooden Boat Deck

Taking care of your wooden boat involves many tasks, but one of the most important is picking the perfect paint for the deck.

The right paint doesn’t just make your boat look stunning; it also shields the wood from the tough marine conditions and helps keep things safe with slip-resistant features.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the best paint for your wooden boat deck in 2024.

Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into the myriad of paint options available, it’s essential to assess your specific needs:

  • Durability: The marine environment is unforgiving. Saltwater, UV rays, and constant foot traffic demand highly durable paint.
  • Non-Slip Feature: A slippery deck is a safety hazard. Opt for paints that offer non-slip textures.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Look for paints that are easy to clean and require minimal upkeep.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The paint should complement your boat’s overall design and color scheme.
  • Environmental Impact: Consider eco-friendly paints that minimize harm to aquatic life.

Top Factors to Consider

  1. Type of Paint
    • Marine Grade Paints: Specifically designed for marine environments, offering superior durability and UV protection.
    • Polyurethane Paints: Known for their high gloss and excellent durability. They are resistant to chipping, scratching, and UV damage.
    • Epoxy Paints: Provide a hard, durable finish, often used as a sealer before applying the topcoat.
  2. Finish
    • Glossy Finish: Offers a shiny look but can be slippery when wet. Suitable for areas with less foot traffic.
    • Matte Finish: Less slippery but may require more frequent maintenance to keep clean.
    • Textured Finish: Provides added grip to prevent slips. Ideal for decks.
  3. Color
    • Light colors reflect sunlight, keeping the deck cooler.
    • Dark colors absorb heat, which can make the deck hot underfoot.
  4. Application Process
    • Some paints can be applied directly over old paint, while others may require stripping the deck first.
    • Consider whether you’re comfortable applying the paint yourself or if you’ll need professional help.

Application Tips

  • Thoroughly clean and prep the deck before painting. This may include sanding, stripping old paint, and applying a primer.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  • Consider the temperature and humidity conditions recommended for application.

Top 10 Best Paint for Wooden Boat Decks in 2024 – Reviews

1. TotalBoat-409324 TotalTread Non-Skid Deck Paint

TotalBoat TotalTread is a polyurethane, non-skid deck paint designed for creating a high-traction surface on various materials like fiberglass, wood, and metal.

Its easy application ensures a durable and attractive finish that excels in slip resistance, making it ideal for safe footing. However, users should note the limited color options available.


  • Provides excellent slip resistance.
  • Durable under harsh conditions.


  • Limited color options.

2. Durabak Non-Skid Boat Deck Paint

Durabak’s non-skid paint stands out for its toughness and versatility, being waterproof, weatherproof, and saltwater resistant.

This makes it an excellent choice for marine applications, although some users may find the application process a bit messy.


  • Extremely durable.
  • Can be applied to various surfaces.


  • Application can be messy.

3. Pettit Paint EZ-Decks

EZ-Decks by Pettit Paint delivers a tough polyurethane finish, offering a non-skid surface that is both durable and easy to maintain. While it provides excellent coverage, users may need multiple coats for optimal thickness.


  • Excellent coverage.
  • Easy to maintain.


  • May require multiple coats for optimal thickness.

4. TotalBoat Marine Topside Boat Paint Primer

A premium marine primer, TotalBoat’s product is designed for high-solids, one-coat coverage, with fast drying times and high coverage.

However, users should be aware that it primarily functions as a primer and requires a topcoat.


  • Fast drying times.
  • High coverage. Cons:
  • Primarily a primer, requires topcoat.

5. Durabak 18 (for Outdoors), Textured Version

Durabak 18 is a versatile, moisture-cured, polyurethane protective coating suitable for outdoor decks, offering a durable non-slip surface.

Users should be mindful that its textured version may be too aggressive for some preferences.


  • Highly versatile.
  • Durable in various conditions. Cons:
  • Texture may be too aggressive for some preferences.

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6. Ames Safe-T-Deck Granulated Formula Exterior Paint

Ames Safe-T-Deck paint is granulated for slip resistance, waterproofing decks, and providing a durable, granulated skid-resistant surface. However, users may find it challenging to evenly distribute the granules.


  • Non-slip granulated texture.
  • Waterproof formula. Cons:
  • Granules may be difficult to evenly distribute.

7. Rust-Oleum Marine Topside Paint

Rust-Oleum Marine Topside Paint provides a durable, UV-resistant option for boat decks. While it offers UV protection and ease of application on wooden surfaces, it may not be as durable as some specialized marine brands.


  • UV protection.
  • Ease of application. Cons:
  • May not be as durable as some marine-specific brands.

8. Interlux Yacht Finishes / International – Perfection Plus Varnish

This two-part polyurethane varnish from Interlux Yacht Finishes offers exceptional protection and aesthetics for wooden decks, though it comes at a higher cost compared to some alternatives.


  • Superior aesthetics.
  • Exceptional protection. Cons:
  • More expensive than some alternatives.

9. Kiwi Grip Non-Skid Coating

Kiwi Grip is a durable, non-toxic water-based coating known for providing a high-traction surface. Its easy application and customizable texture make it a favorable choice, though users may need some practice to achieve even application.


  • Non-toxic and water-based.
  • Customizable texture. Cons:
  • May require practice to apply evenly.

10. TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint

TotalBoat Wet Edge Marine Topside Paint is a high-gloss option offering excellent UV protection and durability, suitable for harsh marine environments. While it provides a glossy finish, it may not suit all preferences.


  • High-gloss finish.
  • Excellent UV protection.


  • Glossy finish may not suit all preferences.


Each of these products offers unique benefits for protecting and enhancing the appearance of your wooden boat deck. Consider the specific needs of your boat, such as durability, slip resistance, and aesthetic preferences, when choosing the best paint.

FAQ on Best Paint for Wooden Boat Deck

1. What is the most durable paint type for a wooden boat deck?

For wooden boat decks, two-part paints such as urethane or epoxy are highly recommended for their durability and protective qualities. These paints provide a tough, long-lasting finish that can withstand the harsh marine environment.

2. Can I use latex paint on my wooden boat deck?

Yes, gloss latex acrylic paints can be used on wooden boat decks and are known to hold up well for several years. However, they may eventually chalk and lose gloss, especially on flat surfaces exposed to sunlight. It’s a cost-effective option but might require more frequent maintenance compared to marine-specific paints.

3. Is there a non-slip paint option for wooden boat decks?

Yes, there are special deck paints available that contain granules to offer a non-slip finish, enhancing safety on board. Alternatively, you can add grit to ordinary marine paint to achieve a similar effect. This is particularly useful in wet conditions where slip resistance is crucial.

4. How do I prepare the wooden deck for painting?

Proper preparation is key to achieving a lasting finish. Start by cleaning the deck thoroughly to remove dirt, oil, and old paint. Sand the surface to create a smooth base for the new paint to adhere to. For plywood decks, it’s also important to paint both sides and the cut edges to prevent moisture ingress and ensure longevity.

5. What kind of paint should I use if my boat doesn’t live in the water?

If your boat is primarily stored out of water, you have more flexibility in your choice of paint. While marine-grade paints like MDO (Medium Density Overlay) or HDO (High Density Overlay) are still excellent options for their durability, other high-quality exterior paints may also suffice for less demanding conditions. Always consider the specific needs and exposure of your boat when selecting paint.

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