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A boat is a big investment, and you want to do everything in your power to keep that investment safe. In this article, we’re checking out an oft-overlooked product for keeping your boat safe and dry – waterproofing spray. Waterproofing spray is an essential tool for extending the life of your boat cover.
We’ll start with our favorite sprays on the market, and then jump into a full buyer’s guide that contains everything you need to know to make the best decision.
In this section, we’re examining our favorite boat sprays on the market. We’ve filled this list with lots of variety, so that you can pick the ideal spray for your needs. Let’s get started with our top choice.
Our top pick is Star Brite Waterproofing Spray. We chose it as our top product because of its unique blend of value and functionality. This product was specifically built with boat tops in mind, and it shows!
It has a unique formula which utilizes petroleum distillates to clog the fabric’s pores and repel any water. Star Brite claims that this formula does not affect the fabric’s color or breathability. This is a bit of a bold claim, but it does seem to affect the look and feel quite minimally.
Best of all, it just works. It’s very easy to apply, with no dilution required, and you can watch as the water pools and drains instead of seeping through your canvas. It can be used on nylon, canvas, polyester, or acrylic.
This package also has great value. This 1-gallon bottle covers 465 square feet of fabric! It’s definitely enough for your boat cover, and might last you multiple years. It’s multi-purpose, and can be used on various outdoor furniture, tents, tarps, and more.
Overall, it was an easy choice as our top pick. When it comes to a waterproof spray, the most important part is that it simply works, and this one does.
Here’s another boat waterproofing spray we really like. Better Boat advertises their formula as water-based, and claims that it won’t damage boat covers like other sprays. While we don’t think that most quality sprays will damage a boat cover, it is good to know that Better Boat has focused on a safe and effective formula.
This formula is effective for use on various fabrics including polyester, nylon, canvas, and more. This means that it can be used on various outdoor equipment, furniture, and of course, boat covers.
Best of all, it’s an effective spray. It’s super easy to apply, and you can watch the water bead up instead of seep through. It’s quite a satisfying experience to use a quality spray.
The one downside is that it definitely emphasizes safety over longevity. It probably won’t last as long as solvent-based formulas, but it will leave your fabrics looking fresher. This is a trade-off you will have to consider.
Here’s another product from Star Brite – one of our favorite brands. We picked this as our best premium option because it’s among the most effective sprays on our list (if not the most effective). The price tag is high, but the quality more than justifies it.
This spray contains PTEF (commonly known as Teflon). You know it for repelling moisture in your non-stick pots and pans, which makes it highly effective as a waterproofing spray as well.
If you’re looking for a formula that works best, you’re looking for a formula like this. We can’t say enough about how well this waterproofs.
It’s very easy to apply, simply spray and wait to dry (about 6 hours depending on the moisture in the air). The product even acts as an additional guard against UV rays!
The one downside is that it does contain potentially hazardous materials, so you do want to spray in an open area (which shouldn’t be a problem with boat covers). It does give the cover a bit of a harder feel, but any effective spray will change the composition of the fabric somewhat.
Boater’s Edge is another waterproof spray that we like for one simple reason – it works.
Made with a unique blend that includes petroleum distillates, this is another spray that emphasizes functionality above all else. Simply spray on, wait about 6 hours to dry, and you’re good to go! It works great on a variety of outdoor materials. Boater’s Edge claims that this is safe to use on all fabrics.
Best of all, the formula was specifically designed for boat covers. It places a clear emphasis on this usage above all else. It’s meant to extend the usage of new covers, and restore old covers to their former glory.
Just note that the actual sprayer is a bit touchy. By their own admission, it takes about 10 pumps to prime the sprayer before it actually starts! An odd design choice to be sure.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 22 fl. Oz.
Surfaces: All fabrics.
Drying time: About 6 hours.
Safe to use on all fabrics.
Highly effective – specifically designed for boat covers.
Unique blend which includes petroleum distillates for effective repellant.
Combustible liquid and vapor, be sure to spray in open area.
Moving on, we have this great spray from 303 products. This is a versatile spray which was designed as a moisture and stain repellant, and was designed for use on all fabrics.
It’s an effective formula that protects against water and oil-based stains. Depending on how much rainfall you get, you should be good with a once-a-year application of this fabric guard to your boat cover.
We also like that the squeeze bottle is quite a bit bigger than most other bottles on our list (an extra 10 fl. Oz.), which makes it a high-value pick. You’ll get a lot of use out of this bottle.
The one downside is that this was designed primarily for outdoor furniture. While it is still effective for use on boat covers, you might be more comfortable with a spray that was specifically designed for that purpose. We don’t think it makes a big difference, but it’s always nice to support a specialized product.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 32 fl. Oz.
Surfaces: All fabrics, including synthetic and natural fabrics.
Atsko silicone water-guard is our best budget choice, and the choice was easy. This is a classic product, made with a silicone formula. It simply works. The silicone is extremely effective in clogging the fabric’s pores, and this one lasts even longer than many of the spray son our list.
Atsko is a classic brand, and this product is extremely versatile. It’s suitable for everything from outdoor fabrics, to leather, to shoes, to clothing! It’s a true jack-of-all-trades, and thousands of satisfied customers attest to its effectiveness.
The one downside of such an extensive silicone solution is that it takes quite a bit longer to dry than most other sprays (about 24 hours). Additionally, it does noticeably change the texture and feel or your fabrics. It’s not too drastic, but it is noticeable.
Overall, if you want an affordable waterproofing spray that puts functionality above all else, then you want Atsko Water Guard.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 10 fl. Oz.
Surfaces: All fabrics, leather, clothing, shoes, etc.
Drying time: 24 hours.
Very effective silicone spray.
Very affordable price tag.
Extremely versatile – fabrics, clothes, shoes, etc.
Here’s another spray that emphasizes effectiveness. It’s a heavy-duty silicone spray that has been proven to work on a variety of outdoor product. Kiwi actually has several waterproofing sprays, but this one is the best for boats.
It’s easy to apply, simply spray on from about 7-10” away. Silicone is one of the most effective waterproofing materials. It effectively clogs pores, while still allowing some space for the fabric to breathe. It’s also an odorless formula, which is a big plus.
As is the case with silicone sprays, it has a longer drying time than most. It takes about 24-48 hours depending on the material you apply it to. Be sure you apply in an open space, as the contents of the aerosol can are flammable.
NikWax is a wax waterproofing formula that works great. It is designed for use on any waterproof fabrics, including different clothing and materials.
As you can probably imagine, wax makes for an effective sealant against moisture. The spray-on solution goes on easily, and dries quickly (about 6 hours). It’s also significantly lighter in harsh chemicals than many options on our list. This means that it is easier on most fabrics, and doesn’t contain that harsh smell.
It’s not quite as effective as some other sprays (such as silicone), but it’s a good trade-off to make for a more “natural” formula. It works great still, you just might have to apply it more often.
It’s a little on the expensive side, but we think the price is fair.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 500 mL
Surfaces: All waterproof fabrics.
Drying time: About 6 hours.
Not harsh on fabrics.
Quite effective for waterproofing purposes.
On the more expensive side.
Might have to apply more often than silicone sprays.
Here’s another high-value choice from MaryKate. It’s a full gallon of heavy-duty waterproofing solution, and the solution was specially designed for boat covers.
You get a lot of bang for your buck here. The 1-gallon product is intended to cover 600-800 square feet of material. And it’s not just for boat covers either. It can be used on basically all types of outdoor fabric – including biminis, umbrellas, car covers. It even works on clothing and shoes.
The one thing to note about this product is that it is quite a bit more complicated to apply than spray-on waterproofing solutions. You need to be sure to apply exactly as the instructions state, or it won’t meet its designed effectiveness. It takes quite a bit longer to dry as well. You’ll have to balance this inconvenience against the cost savings.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 1-gallon.
Surfaces: All fabrics.
Drying time: 24-48 hours
Great value choice.
Highly effective, forms an effective moisture seal.
Quite a bit more complicated to apply than spray-on.
Rounding out our list we have Sof-Sole waterproofer spray. This is another heavy duty silicone spray, and the price is extremely fair.
This is a great product to cap off our list. It’s one of the more water-repellent sprays on our list, and it owes that to its heavy-duty formula. Silicone sprays are among the most effective moisture repellents, and this spray is no exception.
Its advertise usages are for outdoor and camping equipment, but it will work for boat covers just fine.
As is typical of silicone sprays, you do need to consider the additional harshness of the ingredients. It’s an extremely effective moisture repellent, but it does add a noticeable “hardness” to the fabric, and could wear away at the fabric’s resilience and color over time.
But such is the nature of waterproofing spray. The more effective sprays tend to contain the harsher chemicals. This is a balance that we’ll examine below in our buyer’s guide.
Model and Specs:
Bottle volume: 12 fl. Oz.
Surfaces: Outdoor fabrics.
Drying time: 24 hours.
Silicone is an extremely effective repellant.
Aerosol can for easy application.
Very fair price.
Silicone is harsher on fabric itself.
Takes longer to dry than other sprays.
How to Choose A Waterproof Boat Cover Spray – Buying Guide
What is a Waterproofing Spray?
A waterproofing spray has obvious functionality. You spray it, and it waterproofs a surface! Might seem like somewhat of a miracle. So how does this spray actually work?
Different waterproofing sprays contain have different ingredients, and have different functionalities. The exact way that each waterproofing spray works will differ slightly depending on the brand and product that you choose.
In general, a waterproofing spray works by containing ingredients which fill in gaps in a fabric’s material. The spray contains ingredients that work to clog the “pores” in a fabric’s material, which repels the water off the exterior off the fabric, and doesn’t allow it to get through.
Water repellent spray works with different types of materials which clog these pores. Popular options include silicone, flouropolymers, Teflon, wax, synthetic glue, or a type of oil. Each of these ingredients has varying degrees of effectiveness, but also changes the look and feel of the fabric in different ways.
In general, the more effective the waterproofing, the more noticeable the difference to the fabric’s surface. This is because the spray needs to change the make-up of the fabric more drastically to clog the holes in its surface.
As you have surely picked up on by now, there are a lot of waterproof sprays. To further complicate matters, all claim to be the most effective. In this section, we’ll give you the top factors to consider to determine whether a waterproofing spray is worth your while:
Protection and Materials Used
The first, and probably most important, factor you’ll be concerned with is how well the spray will waterproof your boat cover. Simply put, sprays that use chemicals tend to be more effective for waterproofing purposes. Ingredients such as Teflon, silicone, and petroleum distillates form a more effective moisture repellant.
However, you need to balance this against the obvious downsides of using these harsh chemicals. They are unsafe to breathe, and may be flammable as well. Additionally, they might affect the look and feel of the fabric in different ways.
Any worthwhile waterproofing spray will clearly mark the materials it is suitable for. It goes without saying that you should pick a waterproofing spray that is suitable for use with your boat cover.
Most boat covers are made of polyester, with a growing trend toward acrylic boat covers. You might also find covers made of poly-cotton and nylon.
Potential Fabric Alteration
This is the main trade-off when you buy a spray with a higher waterproofing rating. Generally speaking, in order to effectively waterproof, the spray needs to clog the pores in the fabric. This isn’t a small change, and will often leave a noticeable difference in the feel and texture of the fabric itself. Some harsher chemicals, such as silicone sprays, might actually change the color of the fabric overtime.
Of course, the trade-off here is that these chemicals are also more effective waterproofers!
Application and Ease of Use
Be sure to also check out how easy these solutions are to apply. Spray bottles are generally the easiest to apply, but also pay attention to how long each product takes to dry, and whether there are specific instructions for proper application.
Conclusion + Our Top Pick
Thanks very much for reading our guide to boat cover waterproofing sprays. There were many options on our list, but our top pick has to be the Star Brite brand of waterproofing sprays. Check out our buyer’s guide to make the best choice for you.
Q: Can the waterproofing spray damage the boat cover?
It generally won’t “damage” the boat cover. But some sprays do have noticeable impacts on the look and feel of the cover. Some sprays might make the cover feel slightly harder and firmer.
Q: From how far should I apply the spray?
Depends, most sprays should be 7-10” away. This is both for safety and dispersion. You’ll need to check the instructions to know for sure.
Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.