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KEELBLACK is the hardest single-pack bitumen blacking available

Protecting steel hulls against abrasion and demonstrated in laboratory tests to outlast Two-pack epoxy.


Tuffblack Ltd is an owner-run business based in Herefordshire and sells the world's hardest bitumen emulsion and the only water-based bitumen blacking specifically designed for inland waterways craft.

Manufactured to exacting standards and to a secret formula, KEELBLACK, like so many great products was discovered by accident. It was first developed as a road surface treatment for worn-out tarmac; proof against the aggressive wear and tear of high volume traffic as well as providing a strong, non-skid surface but then found to have the same strength and abrasion-resistant qualities when used on steel.  With some alterations to the formula for application on ferrous and non-ferrous metals, KEELBLACK was quietly launched in 2015 and, following the 2016 Crick boat Show, has been enthusiastically taken up by the canal and river-boat community.

They have found KEELBLACK to be the toughest available bitumen-based blacking for steel - equally suitable for applying over old bitumen, degraded 2-pack epoxy, primed bare steel or on a new build.  

KEELBLACK combines ease of application with longevity and excellent coverage, at economical cost.  Applied by the DIY blacker KEELBLACK costs less than £1.00 per square meter per application.



The KEELBLACK team is always available to give advice and to assist with technical queries. Our after-sales service is peerless and friendly. See our FAQ page  for the answers to most common questions or click here to contact KEELBLACK by email or call us on 0333 405 4045


KEELBLACK is the hardest bitumen blacking available, protecting steel hulls against abrasion and has been demonstrated in laboratory tests to outlast 2 pack epoxy.

KEELBLACK can be applied to damp steel but with no risk of peeling or flaking whilst reducing maintenance costs by eliminating expensive drying time in dock.

KEELBLACK is fast and easy to apply with a viscosity similar to water, it flows on easily and dries fast, reducing application time and dry-dock costs.


KEELBLACK is economical and long-lasting costing less than £1.00 per square meter (per coat) and will significantly outperform other bituminous blackings.


KEELBLACK covers all conventional blackings and, with excellent coverage, can achieve three full coats in one day and be ready for relaunching within 48 hours.


KEELBLACK protects steel hulls from corrosion and is an effective deterrent to external rust damage on hulls and an internal barrier to moisture in bilges.


KEELBLACK won’t damage the environment containing no solvents, it is inert when dry, satisfying anti-leaching legislation and won’t harm aquatic fauna or flora.



Non-toxic, water-based bitumen emulsion – environmentally friendly when dry

Fabricated from the hardest bitumen that can be emulsified, completely inert once cured


Protects the underwater parts of your boat from corrosion

Proven to outlast 2-pack epoxy, abrasion-resistant, easy to repair mechanical damage and significantly cheaper than quality bituminous paints


Deters marine growth

KEELBLACK contains no biocides but the supersmooth surface means that fresh water barnacles and weed are not attracted to coated surfaces, improving fuel efficiency and maintaining the appearance of your hull


Reduces time in dry dock

KEELBLACK shortens preparation time in dock on average by one to two days by reducing power washing, scraping and wire brushing requirements; hulls can be overcoated in the same day and relaunched as soon as dry and cured




Easy to apply with brush, paint pad or roller

With a viscosity of close to 1, KEELBLACK goes easily onto primed or previously coated steel, in almost any weather or temperature. It flows behind any flaking previous blackings, filling voids and adhering previous bituminous coats to the steel

Adheres to all previous coatings and does not need the surface to be completely dry

A cold-applied bitumen emulsion, KEELBLACK can be used on damp surfaces, eliminating the need for time-consuming drying and expensive artificial heat. It adheres to light surface rust and to original hull coatings including bituminous paints without requiring any costly preparation other than removal of dirt and loose material


Rapid application. Three full coats of KEELBLACK can be achieved in one day

Provided THIN coats are applied, KEELBLACK can be overcoated as soon as the previous coat is touch-dry, saving significant dock time and labour cost. Three coats are recommended. KEELBLACK must be allowed to cure before re-launch


Tough, abrasion-resistant finish and easy to repair

KEELBLACK is derived from the hardest grade of emulsified bitumen and was originally developed for repair of worn-out tarmac roads. KEELBLACK is long lasting and if damaged, simple to repair, even at the waterline.


Reduces future dry-dock preparation time

KEELBLACK makes subsequent hull maintenance programmes faster and easier by accelerating hull cleaning time and reducing incidence of flaking paint


Non-Toxic and odour-free

For dock labour or live-aboard application, KEELBLACK has virtually no odour and emits no fumes. Wet product washes off skin


Environmentally safe

KEELBLACK contains no biocides and once dry has no effect on the environment. The super-smooth finish deters barnacle and weed growth


When dry, KEELBLACK does not harm fish, aquatic life or plants

It conforms to NEN7375 European standards on leaching into water courses and when dry is inert


Non-toxic when dry more...

KEELBLACK does not harm skin and is virtually odour-free. Extensively used by national conservation organisations in water courses and sensitive areas of special scientific interest



KEELBLACK contains no solvents and can be applied to damp surfaces.This reduces energy consumption and labour costs by eliminating much of the preparation time required for solvent based products


Non-biocide formula resists marine growth

Fresh water barnacles are not attracted to KEELBLACK coated surfaces improving engine performance and reducing scraping and preparation time in dock

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