How To Apply KiwiGrip

How To Apply KiwiGrip

Step by step instructions on how to apply KiwiGrip non-skid coating.

KiwiGrip is a gel that gets its texture from the unique roller sleeve that comes with KiwiGrip. Your result depends on your technique as well as your application conditions. Immediately after rolling out your KiwiGrip gel into a nice uniform miniature mountain range pattern, the peaks start to settle under the effect of gravity. In warm, arid fast drying conditions, there is little settling time so the peaks remain tall and sharp with deep valleys. In cool or humid conditions, drying time is slow, allowing plenty of settling with rounded peaks, and thicker valley floors. Tall sharp peaks offer a superior non-skid but the surface tends to trap dirt. Soft rolling hills are easy to keep clean but are not as effective at slip stopping. KiwiGrip right out of the tin at 60 - 70°F (15 - 20°C) is formulated to give a texture in the middle between the Swiss Alps and gentle rolling hills.

Here's a video showing you the basic steps to applying KiwiGrip non-skid coating.

Weather & Conditions

Like all paint products, KiwiGrip will cure properly only under suitable weather conditions. Fortunately, KiwiGrip enjoys a wide weather windo. Relative humidity must be low enough for the water in KiwiGrip to evaporate before the co-solvents escape. Warmer temperatures allow for higher humidity. Do not apply KiwiGrip when drying conditions are expected to fall outside the permitted application window. In all cases, KiwiGrip MUST dry before it gets wet or before realtive humidity rises above 90%.

Avoid application in direct sunlight, which will elevate your deck temperature. Warm decks will reduce your working time, making it very difficult to get a uniform texture. KiwiGrip may be thinned with water 10% by volume to slow drying in hot and or arid conditions.

Surface Preparation

Always apply KiwiGrip over a sealed surface to prevent water and co-solvents from absorbing into the substrate. Avoid solvents like acetone, MEK, paint thinners, etc.

Old Gel-coat - Scrub old gel-coat with a stiff scotch pad or stainless wire brush and a good degreasing soap to remove oxidation, dirt and oil. A de-waxing agent is required if the surface has been waxed within 5 years.

Fresh polyester or epoxy fiberglass - If the polywester includes wax this must be completely washed away with a de-waxing agent. Then sand well with 60-100 grit sand paper. Wash well with degreasing soap and water.

Aluminum or steel - Metals require a primer to protect the underlying metal from rust or corrosion. KiwiGrip is compatible with all primers. Apply primer per manufacturer's instructions. KiwiGrip will tie-coat to epoxy primers. To tie-coat, apply KiwiGrip over the epoxy when the epoxy is beyond tacky but not yet hard. (Test: walk with stocking feet on epoxy. The epoxy is perfect whent it tries to take the socks off your feet but releases them before pulling the epoxy off the deck). Unless tie-coating, sand primer lightly with 100-200 grit sand paper. Wipe up dust 3 times with damp rags.

Wood - Wood needs a coat of paint or sealer to prevent water and co-solvents from absorbing into wood. Any paint or non-silicone primer is fine. When dry, sand paint, primer, or sealer lightly to remove any gloss. 100-220 grit is fine. Damp rag wipe 3 times to remove all dust.

Concrete - Concrete must be fully cured and sealed with any non-silicone sealer. Follow with a good soap and water scrub. Allow to dry.

Tile/Marble/Porcelain - Surfaces must be free of oils, soap-scum, and contamination. For swimming pool decks, beware of body oils which may have built up over a number of years. Normally aggressive scrubbing with a good degreasing soap is sufficient for oil removal. Sand well to remove any gloss and offer some "tooth" for KiwiGirp to hold onto. Wipe up dust 3 times with damp rags.

Vinyl Flooring - De-wax with a de-waxing agent. Sand aggressively with 80-150 grit to remove gloss and add a tooth. Wipe 3 times with damp rags to remove dust. We suggest a small test patch to ensure a good bond. Remember to wait a few days before testing bond strength as water-based acrylics typically need a week or so to achieve full bond strength.

Replacing Carpet - Remove old carpet. With a belt sander or orbital sander, remove as much of the carpet adhesive as comes easily. Don't worry about adhesive remaining in the grain or small shards of adhesive that are difficult to remove. If bare wood is exposed, seal as described in the "Wood" section of these instructions. KiwiGrip will get a good bond to remaining adhesive and the shards will be lost in the kiwiGrip texture.


If you are refinishing glossy surfaces, complete this work prior to applying KiwiGrip. Don't worry about overspray that extends onto your nonskid areas. Interlux, Awlgrip, Sterling, Alexseal, Petit, Imron and other linear polyurethanes require 3 days cure time prior to applying masking tape. Attention to masking will be well rewarded with a professional result.

Masked corner radii can be quickly created using either of two methods:

First, 3M stretchy fine line tape (1/4 inch width works well) is great for following pencil radius scribed on the deck.

Second, corners can be taped square and later trimmed with a light touch on an Exacto-kinfe following the circumference of a cup or can as a guide. Do not cut into the top-coat. Apply just enough blade pressure to score the take for easy and controlled tearing>

After masking, sand the fresh topcoat with 60-180 grit. Take care to sand right up to the maskign tape. Consider using a fine grit paper near the edges to avoid damaging the tape. Damaged tape can be easily repaired simply by applying another layer of tape directly over the damage. Follow sanding with several damp rag wipes to remove all dust.


For best results, shake a full can of KiwiGrip on a commercial shaker. Alternatively, KiwiGrip can be stirred by hand with a broad paddle to ensure product has not settled after manufacture. (NOTE: small granules of cured product suspended in the gel are a normal artifact of production. They will be lost in the texture).

Stirring rapidly or shaking a partial can will introduce small air bubbles which become micro-craters in your finished surface. These small craters do no harm, but make the surface a bit harder to keep clean.


Your technique will improve as you go, so to ensure an excellent outcome practice first on cardboard or plywood before moving on to your deck.

Choose a small section on your deck for the first application of KiwiGrip. Proceed with small sections first, moving on to larger sections of your deck as you build experience and confidence. If you aren't happy with a result, simply wipe up KiwiGrip with a damp rag and try again.

Work small areas at a time, starting with only a square foot. Using a large brush or notched trowel, apply thick coating to the selected area. Apply at a rate of about one liter (quart) per 2 square meters (20 square feet).

Some customers prefer application with a serrated (notched) trowel commonly used for applying adhesive for tile setting. 3mm (1/8 inch teeth yield a thin, fine finish, much like sand filled top coat) while 1/4 inch teeth yield a thick coating with taller peaks and deeper vallys. A thin coat will give you a more refined look that is easier to keep clean but offers a shorter wear life and won't bridge hairline cracks well. A thicker coat will give you a more aggressive non-skid with long wear life and great craking bridging but will be harder to clean.

Practice on cardboard, plywood, or right on your deck to choose a texture that is right for you. Keep in mind that not all surfaces demand the same texture. Cockpit seats for example may prefer a finer texture than the cockpit floor.

With your roller, evenly distribute the spread KiwiGrip over your small area. Once this is achieved lightly roll back and forth over the surface in any direction (or multiple directions) to even out the texture. Finish the section with a few passes of your roller using a very light pressure. These last few passes will pop any bubbles that may be lurking under the "mountain peaks".

Once texture looks even and you are happy with the result, remove the masking tape and quickly move on to the next section. (*See note later about pulling the masking tape)

While KiwiGrip may be applied single handed in cool conditions, it is best applied with a buddy. One person should be designated "slather-er" whose job is to apply a consistent amount of KiwiGrip ahead of the roller and double back to pull the tape behind the roller. The roller is charged with evenly distributing the KiwiGrip gel on the deck and dialing in a consistent texture. Trading jobs will introduce slight changes in texture which may be noticeable.

If the KiwiGrip is drying too quickly, and you're having difficulty achieving a consistent texture:

(a) Work smaller areas, trying to keep a continuous process (maintaining a wet edge)

(b) Stop and wait for a cooler time (night time with lights or early morning after wiping up dew)

(c) Add up to 10% water to slow the drying

* A note about pulling the masking tape: Removing the tape while the coating is wet allows the edges to roll over and create a nice looking radius. If the KiwiGrip skins over and goes rubbery, you'll need a light touch with a razor blade to remove the tape. Pulling your tape when KiwiGrip is almost dry, but not yet fully cured and bonded, will lift film from the deck.

If you are not happy with the evenness or result, wipe up the gel and repeat the application but use less (or more) material on the second try.

For a very aggressive texture, allow the coating to partially dry, then re-roll to lift the settled peaks back up sharp. We call this back-rolling. You will have to experiment a bit to find the besty delay for back-rolling in your conditions. We suggest you back roll every 5 minutes to find the delay when your KiwiGrip is thickenign but not yet tacky.

Drying Time

Drying time is temperature and humidity dependent. At 60°F (10°C) you'll have about 20 minutes working time before losing your "wet edge". Normally drying is well advanced in an hour at 70°F (23°C). Allow at least 4 hours before recoating. High humidity will prolong drying time and offer longer working time.

You can walk on your new decks without shoes the next day. The product will be tough but slightly rubbery in less than 48 hours, and will reach final hardness over time. The bond strength continues to mature over a week or so.


When maintenance or re-coating is required, remove all surface contaminants with boat soap to ensure the surface is completely clean. No sanding is required, you simply need to apply the coating as you have done previously. If you are careful with the brush and roller, there is no need to re-mask. If you are uncertain of your technique, re-mask the surface to the edge of the previous KiwiGrip coating and then proceed. In general you need only re-coat areas where you peaks have worn down.

Clean Up

Wash tools and equipment with fresh water while material fresh. After full cure (a few days) scrub your new decks with fresh water to remove a soap like component that migrates to the surface during KiwiGrip's cure.

Custon Tinting

KiwiGrip can be tinted using any universal tint system found at paint resellers. Limit tint to 2% by volume (20cc or 2/3 oz. per liter). This is sufficient to create virtually any light pastel color.