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How to Waterproof Wood for a Boat


Anyone who’s maintained a home for a long time knows what happens when wood becomes waterlogged. It becomes rotted, weak—essentially useless. That’s why it’s no secret that the wood on your boat should be properly sealed and waterproofed to handle the marine environment. Here’s a quick guide on how to waterproof wood for a boat.

Why You Need to Seal Your Boat Wood

You’ll find a lot of “how to waterproof wood” articles out there. So why is it so special if the wood happens to be on a boat? Experienced boaters know that the marine environment is a completely different animal than the environment around a new deck, for example. Wood for marine use has to be ready to handle the following:

  • UV Rays. Going out on a boat means broad access to the sky. With that comes direct contact with UV rays—and UV rays don’t just damage skin. They can also do long-term
    damage on your boat wood if you’re not careful.
  • Water. This is the most obvious difference: put wood on a boat and it needs to be sealed off from water as tightly as possible. Long-term exposure to water can lead to
    rot and other damage when your wood isn’t properly sealed.
  • Humidity. It’s not just water in lakes you need to worry about. Water in the air can affect wood even while your boat is dry and lifted out of the water.

Since you’re waterproofing wood for a boat, don’t buy just any sealer. Buy sealer specifically designed for marine use. Our End Grain Sealer Kit includes two major parts for application—A and B—which will lock out water and prevent rot, making it great to use on docks as well as boat wood.

How to Waterproof Your Boat

With our End Grain Sealer Kit, you can waterproof your boat’s wood in three simple steps:

  • Prepare your wood by rubbing off any previous finish with sandpaper. You can use two different sandpaper grits—rough to get the tricky parts and then fine to give the wood a uniform finish.
  • Apply the End Grain Sealer Kit according to the instructions. You’ll usually want to use a paintbrush, taking special care to get a uniform coat on the wood. Use the kit in the order prescribed, allowing it to dry as necessary.
  • Make sure that the wood has plenty of time to cure. Even though our End Grain Sealer Kit is a quick cure, you never know when humidity might get in the way of a fast cure. You want your wood to be properly dry and sealed the next time it touches the water.

While these steps will ensure you have a proper seal, don’t forget to set a reminder to revisit the wood every year or so. Examine it to make sure there are no signs of waterlogging or rot, and re-apply sealer as necessary. This will help prevent it from soaking up water and prevent humidity and UV damage over the long term. The result is less money spent repairing your boat—and more time spent enjoying it.

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