Non-Skid Paints and Adhesive-backed Mats

Past Practical Sailor tests cover everything from two part paints to glue-on vinyl teak look-alikes.

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Over the years, Practical Sailor has conducted dozens of test comparing painted-on non-skid exterior coatings. We’ve also compared the heavy-duty textured mats, including faux teak and cork, that are applied with adhesive. Three long-term tests of these coatings and mat products are still ongoing.

Here is a summary of what we found so far:

For long-term use, a two-part polyurethane (LPU) paint with a textured additive will provide the most durable exterior non-skid surface. Among the two-part LPU paint kits that scored the highest in our past tests were Awlgrip Griptex additive (with Interlux Perfection) and polypropylene beads (with Epifanes LPU). Triflex Treadmaster was our top contender among the adhesive mats. Among the textured paint products, Durabak has since been eclipsed by Kiwigrip and Interlux Interdeck for durability. (See Do-it-Yourself Nonskid Options, PS November 2013.)

The faux teak vinyl mats are very similar, and our long-term testing has not yielded any big losers or winners. The budget-priced Plasdeck and Permateek had slightly grippier surfaces in our test. The thicker Dek-King and Flexiteek products were slightly cooler. Testers were also impressed by the cork infused Marinedecks grip and durability.(See Synthetics Go Toe to Toe, PS December 2015).

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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