Skateboard Griptape: Be Safe – Keep it in Good Shape

Skateboard griptape is not too expensive but it’s generally better to go for the mid-range to more expensive stuff as it adheres to the board better.

Check it often for ingrained dirt that might make it less effective. You can clean your griptape with a small hand brush or even an old toothbrush.

If you use water, make sure it’s only a little bit and don’t let it soak into the deck. Getting your griptape too wet can ruin the glue and cause it to lift, so be careful.

Damaged skateboard griptape can be dangerous. You don’t need to replace it every time you get a little nick, but check for rough edges and file them down.

If you do catch your tape, small raised up areas can snag your shoes and pitch you off the board.

Skateboard Griptape Replacement

If your griptape is in really poor condition it will need replacing. General wear and tear can make it too smooth to be effective plus it may get dinged quite a bit while you’re still learning.

Replacing skateboard griptape is a reasonably simple operation. First you’ll need to remove the old stuff.

This is probably the worst part of the job and some people actually prefer to replace the deck. That’s up to you but unless you get a pre-gripped deck you’ll still have to add the tape.

Removing Old Skateboard Griptape

Okay, now for the messy bit. This involves using some pretty nasty materials so if you’re a kid make sure you get some adult supervision.

Actually, it’s a horrible job so maybe you should just ask your dad to do it for you anyway.

You’ll need a few unconventional tools for this. I use a hair-dryer (get permission first if it’s not yours), an old paint scraper, some WD 40 and some methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol.

Begin by heating the old griptape with the hair-dryer. This will loosen up the glue and the tape should begin to peel off. Pull off what you can and use the paint scraper to remove the really stubborn stuff.

Once all the tape is off you’ll be left with a sticky mess. So, put the hair-dryer well out of the way and spray a bit of WD 40 onto some old rag. That should get it off.

Next, give the board a really good rub down with some methylated spirit to take off the oiliness the WD 40 leaves behind.

Applying the New Skateboard Griptape

You’ll need some tools to do this. A old screw driver or a file and a good sharp craft knife or a razor blade. Yup, you guessed it, if you’re a kid you’re going to need adult supervision with this part too.

Whether you’re starting with a new deck or one you’ve stripped down the principle is the same. First, before you take the backing off, make sure your tape is big enough to cover the board and have an inch or more overhang all the way round.

Now, to ensure your tape adheres to the board properly you’re going to want to rough the surface up a bit. You can cut a little corner off the tape for this but be careful not to cut too much off and end up with it not fitting the board. Give the board a quick rub over with the tape to give it a bit of ‘tooth’.

Just a quick aside, if you have a logo on the board that you don’t want to cover or, if you want to cut patterns in your griptape don’t sand the parts of the board that you want to leave uncovered. You will need to carefully cut the tape to expose the logo.

Assuming you will be gripping the whole board, the next step is to wipe the board down to remove any dust the sanding may have caused.

Now, carefully peel back about two inches of the backing paper and stick the tape to one end of the board. It’s important that you get it on straight as once it’s on it can be very hard to pull back off.

Slowly work your way down the length of the board a little at a time. Smooth the tape from the centre of the board to the edges as this will prevent air bubbles from forming in the concave of the board.

Once you’ve worked your way to the other end of the board, place the backing paper on top of the tape and give it a good rub just to make sure it’s well stuck down. You don’t want to do this without the paper or you’ll sand your hand.

If you do have any small air bubbles you can nick them with your knife of razor and just press the air out.

The next step is to weaken the griptape along the edges of the board. You can do this with your screwdriver or file. Rub your tool really hard all the way around the edge of the deck.

The tape will develop a white line following the outline of your board. Once you’ve gone all the way around the board it’s time to trim the griptape.

Using your knife or razor blade, carefully cut into the tape and follow the line to neatly trim the griptape to the edges of the deck. You’ll want to hold the blade at about a 45 degree angle to the board. Once you’ve done that, use a bit of the surplus tape to sand down the edges for a nice neat finish.

Almost done. All we need now is the holes for the mounting hardware. there are two ways you can do this.

You can push one of your mounting screws through from the underside of the board and pierce the griptape. Or, for a neater finish, poke the mounting hardware through just enough to form a small bump in the griptape.

Then, from the top of the board, carefully cut away the bump to expose the hole.

And there you have it, a great deck with brand new skateboard griptape..

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