Using Soft Sand Rubber For Awlgrip Nonskid
In this video I take a look at a new product called SoftSand Rubber® used for creating a nonskid texture on your painted deck. This product is manufactured by SoftPoint Industries.
In the past I’ve always used Griptex (which is Awlgrip’s version of their nonskid particles) and it worked fine; it created a nice looking texture that served it’s purpose of keeping you sure-footed, but the application was always something that took a little messing around with to make it look perfectly uniform. Typically I used a combination of coarse and fine grit mixed together to get the right balance between aesthetics and aggressiveness.
Some of the (for lack of better words) drawbacks I have with Griptex is that it is somewhat messy to work with. The particles are very fine and have a tendency to get into every little crack and crevice making cleanup a bit tedious. Because the particles are so fine, prior to application the deck must be sanded very smooth with 320 – 400 grit paper to prevent sanding marks from showing through the paint. The particles do hide some sins, but not many. Lastly is the amount of paint required to properly seal the particles in. Griptex has a tendency to absorb the paint almost like a sponge. This can be looked at 2 different ways; on the plus side, this may help to stabilize the texture to ensure everything stays put. The other side of that coin is that it requires a lot of paint to do this, and when you’re working with material that costs $400.00 per mixed gallon it adds up very quickly when doing large areas!
All this being said, I do still like the product. It’s been around for a long time and has a good track record.
When I heard about SoftSand and the way this product was developed, I found it intriguing. As opposed to Griptex, SoftSand particles are made from finely ground rubber making it a somewhat flexible material. Paint is designed to be flexible to avoid cracking as the boat twists and stresses; to me it makes sense that the additives used in the paint should have the same qualities.
For my demonstration I used a medium grit which was much larger in size than the coarse version from Awlgrip. The larger size particles allow for a much more forgiving surface (both in prep and overall feel). The deck can be sanded with 220 – 320 which means faster sanding and less prep time, and the particles do an excellent job at hiding sanding marks / small imperfections on the surface.
After application I strongly advise sealing the particles with 2 coats of paint (at least for the medium and coarse grits). Their fine and super fine grits I suspect can be done with a single application. Even with the 2 coats, it’s still less paint used than when sealing Griptex. How much less exactly I can’t really say, but it was definitely less.
The SoftSand particles give the surface a nice feel. Because they have some give to them, there are no hard edges to create the ‘sandpaper’ feel that other hard particles have. If you’ve ever spent any time kneeling on deck you know what I mean 😉