Rigid Boat Materials
ABS: Known for its great shine it can give, can have the look of a fiberglass boat because of the clear coat finish. Vacume formed extruded product, very consistent. The UV inhibitors are in the clear coat. One of the best rigid boat materials as far as looks and impact resistance. Less brittle, than fiberglass. Also used on the outside of composite constructions such as Royolex.
High Density Polyethylene (H.D.P.E.): Machine extruded and very consistent. UV stabilized means that ultra violet sun ray inhibitors have been put into the material prior to forming. Its impact resistance and memory capacity (ability to regain original shape after impact) are sufficient. It is very hard to keep anything stuck to it. A negative for this material is weight vs size and the high flexibility may cause metal objects next to unit such as pedal drives to wear out.
Ram-X: Ram-X is a thermo plastic. The material is semi flexible and has a memory. Thicker is better, but also heavier. UV is tough material. Will usually not dent. A negative for this material is weight, and it can be cut by sharp objects.
RoyalexThe premium material in canoes and other boats, this mix of ABS Foam sandwich construction material is cool to the touch quiet and simply the best material of all listed. It is also the highest price, but many liveries swear by this material as the longest lasting most versatile material on the market.
Royalex Light Also known as lightweight royalex, this is simply less material than Royalex... it lasts half as long, but only cuts the cost by a quarter, generally. Therefore the most popular material is Royalex.
Aluminum: Main advantage is no double hull construction that traps water; lightweight compared to HDPE or RamX extruded very consistent metal product.& comes in different gauges, thicker is stronger, less noisy, heavier and more durable. Single or multi piece hull construction is important, no long hand made seams below the water line is better in the long run. In the case of rivets in the construction, where they are and how many is important. Some are assembled with no rivets or "all welded". Other considerations may apply, you may call and speak with a directboats.com sales specialist, and let us help you make the right decision.
Kevlar: Usually a lighter weight material than fiberglass. Simply because the fibers in Kevlar are much stronger, requiring less material to achieve the same strength. Hand laid, more likely to have problems with construction. UV inhibitors are in the gel coat (paint).
Fiberglass: Generally lighter weight than HDPE and Ram-X and much more rigid. Material is usually hand laid, however with new technology vacume bagging and acrylic much of the inconsistancy problems of old are gone. UV inhibitors are in the gel coat (paint). Fiberglass (not the paint) does not degrade over time such as the other plastics above, the only way to get rid of it is to bury it.
Wood/Duralight: A modern method that replaces traditional canvas with a vinyl impregnated canvas that requires little maintenance and has all the positive features of the wood/epoxy product.
Wood/Epoxy: Often referred to as wood glass construction, these craft are built using the same traditional method as wood/canvas. However, instead of canvas they use a clear bonded epoxy on the outside of the hull. There is an invisible layer of fiberglass cloth between the wood and epoxy so that the natural beauty of the wood is visible on the outside. The entire boat is then varnished. Lighter weight and easy maintenance are two advantages of wood/epoxy construction. Best suited for lakes, ponds and deep rivers.
Inflatable Boat Materials
PVC: Inexpensive, easy to damage and stretch. When buying, newer is better because of the creasing effect of the material. UV inhibitor throughout the material.
Polyester Laminate: The polyester fabric density is what increases the strength. Fabric density is measured in denier or decitex. 1000 Denier is equal to 1100 decitex. UV inhibitors are in the polymer coatings. Two layers are better than one. When buying, newer is better because of the creasing effect of the material. Beware of polyester laminate products that are over 2 years old!
Hypalon: The fabric in the laminate is out of nylon instead of polyester. More expensive, stronger than polyester fabric. UV inhibitors are throughout the coating. Again, two layers are better than one. When buying, new is better because of the creasing effect of the material. Beware of hypalon products that are over 2 years old!