How To Put Grip Tape On A Skateboard? Complete Guide

Did you get a disassembled skateboard and worry about putting the grip tape on it? Or do you want to change the old or torn grip tape from your previous skateboard deck? You need to understand the basics of skateboard information and its application on the deck. Grip tape doesn’t only provide higher efficiency in controlling your skateboard but also increases the ability to ride with the required passion. There are some really cool grip tape designs available on the market that need to be put in the right way so that you don’t ruin the design.

You don’t need to look for a grip tape-putting guide if you are an experienced folk. However, beginners may find the answer to how to put grip tape on a skateboard? We have tried to solve your issue, and our experienced team is keen to guide you on the matter. Putting the grip tape is not a hard job that makes you able to complete after reading this article.

How to Put Grip Tape On A Skateboard: Mastering Application Process

You may not need a huge set of tools for applying the grip tape, and you can do it with a small set of simple tools. You may require a cutter, a pointed-head screwdriver, sandpaper, one hardboard piece, and the grip tape itself. The tools are not an essential part of the process, and you may require only a cutter for higher efficiency, but we recommend using the tools for ease and to save time.

Tools You May Require

  • Skateboard deck
  • Grip tape
  • A sharp knife or a cutter
  • Pointed tip screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Flat File
  • Balanced table
  • A piece of hardboard
  • Heat gun or a hair dryer (whatever is available)

To start the process, ensure you have the mentioned tools so they can’t affect your procedure or delay the time. Additionally, if you apply the grip tape on your old skateboard deck, ensure you have unplugged all the accessories. Moreover, we suggest that you set the table in a balanced position before getting the work started.

1. Cleaning and Clearing Previously Applied Grip Tape or Plastic Sheet

The first step always stays with cleaning and clearing the skateboard. If you have bought a new skateboard, it may have a plastic sheet cover on the deck. Similarly, replacing the old grip tape with the newer ones may find previously applied grip tape on the deck. Ensure you have removed the previously applied grip tape or the plastic sheet.

We never recommend putting the grip tape on a plastic sheet or previously applied grip tape. It is because adhesive material becomes more effective if applied directly. However, there arises a question that how to clean skateboard grip tape. You’ll find its answer later in this article with suitable details. Let’s move to the first step of applying the grip tape.

  • Setting the skateboard on the flat table: First, you need to set your skateboard deck on a balanced or flat surface. You can do it on the ground as well, but we recommend you do it on a balanced table for ease.
  • Peeling off the existing material (grip tape or plastic sheet): Removing the plastic sheet is quite easy, but already applied grip tape may hold you under a slightly hard time. You can utilize a bit of time on it, and can give little heat from the hair dryer or the heat gun. After that, pull the tape off slowly; otherwise, it may tear. We recommend you do it in the opposite direction.
  • Cleaning the skateboard deck: The next step is to remove adhesive material from the skateboard deck by cleaning it. You can use multiple methods, but we recommend you apply a little alcohol and rub it with a wire brush or any wasted hard brush.
  • Letting it rest for some time: Alcohol will evaporate quickly, but we recommend letting it rest for at least 30 minutes.

2. Putting the Grip Tape on the Skateboard

The second step belongs to attaching the grip tape to the skateboard. The steps can be hard to accomplish, and we recommend you focus on the steps for a better understanding. Applying the grip tape for beginners can become a hard task, but needing a consultant is not difficult; you can do it with little focus. We recommend you not lose confidence and have some tools to succeed.

  • Assure that the tape is of the right length: This step requires assurance that the grip tape is the right size. Taping the narrower decks with less width is easy to handle. However, it may take your high focus to apply the tape on decks with 8.5 widths. Most skateboard decks are concave, and you need extra focus to avoid creating bubbles in the grip tape.
  • Taping the grip tape: The next step is to tape the grip tape on the deck. Tap the tape grip slowly towards the back, then draw it to the front. We recommend you keep the grip tape on the opposite side with the right angle. Make sure that your index finger rests on the deck top.
  • The right way: Remove some paper guards and place them on one side of the skateboard. The step will lead you to reduce the bubbles under the tape. You can remove small bubbles by pressing, pushing, and moving to the corner. However, acknowledging large bubbles may create some issues, and you can lift the tape with your hands. Make sure you do it slowly; otherwise, you may harm the tape.

3. Getting the Fine Finishing

  • Scraping the edges: You can use any sharp object to scrape the corners and to carry out the right shape of the edges. To create a clean line, you should do it with firm force and quickly. Doing so will provide you with a precise cut.
  • Adjustment of the edges: Use a razor for crafting the edges with little cuts. However, make sure that you don’t slice through the deck. Following the steps may enhance the durability of grip tape on the edges.
  • Cutting the extra tape: This step requires a bit of focus because you need to puncture the tape from an edge. Make sure that your blade is pointed toward the skateboard deck. Additionally, the direction of the blade determines the efficiency of the cut. That’s why we recommend you work on your body’s direction.
  • Sanding the edges: The next step in finishing is sanding the grip tape edges. You can use multiple things to do it. If you have a flat file, you can use it to rub cross diagonally for efficiency. Similarly, you can use sandpaper to rub the edges to get them a smooth finish. If you don’t have any among them both, you can use the rough side of the leftover grip tape to do it.
  • Pinching the holes for truck bolts: After sanding the edges, we recommend you pinch the holes for attaching the truck bolts. Although this step isn’t involved directly in the method, we recommend you do it for ease in later work. Use a screwdriver, turn it, and apply some force to create the holes for the later steps.

Some Cautions For the Process

Every process has some considerations, and similar to them, putting the grip tape on the deck has some cautions. Although the discussed process of applying the grip tape is effective, you must consider some cautions while attempting the process. These cautions cover issues like bubbles, tape cutting, and tape lifting.

Scraping the Edges

We suggest using a screwdriver or other blunt tool to scrape the tape edges. However, we recommend not repeating the procedure to ensure that you don’t damage the edges. One solid and swift scrape is sufficient to increase the effectiveness. Make sure that you perform the process swiftly and with proper force. Make sure that you have scraped it with a precise line.

Our team uses an old screwdriver for cleaning the edges. However, many skateboarders employ a file; any blunt tool will work effectively. It is best to put the handle close to the edges of your work area so that you can use more force and achieve more precision. You’ll need a screwdriver or other sharp tool to finish the job.

Cutting the Grip Tape

When you remove the grip tape, the next step is to cut off the tape. Don’t forget a significant step that is cutting it in your desired direction. Our experience indicates that you are more in charge of cutting your way than the other. We suggest cutting in the direction you prefer. It could be confusing when you’re new to the process.

Make sure your knife has perfect precision because it could make the process significantly easier. One of our team members had a blade that was not sharp enough, and she ended up with an unsatisfactory result. The skateboard’s tape was stuck and merged at a certain location.

After the assurance, you can make cuts on the other end, ensuring you have the knife or cutter straight to the deck. Attempt to hold your fingers on the deck’s edge to make a solid cut. You can do it when using a tool for cutting. It will prevent cutting blades from moving and provide a perfect cut. If you use a sharp knife, ensure you are using the right angle; otherwise, you risk damaging the edges.

If you accidentally cut the deck, you can take a step back and cut it again, but we recommend doing it with more precision. When you’ve reached the end, remove the board from the board and turn it. Then, put the blade back to the point you began. Apply pressure to the deck using the other hand to stop it from moving, then cut it into one side.

After that, you can move the board even further while turning the deck. However, remember that it’s often not possible to turn the board several times. After turning, you can continue to cut until you’ve reached the bottom of the deck. Once you’ve reached the skateboard’s corners, remove the tape left behind and cut it away.

Tackling the Bubbles

Make sure the tape is angled towards you during the process. Then, slowly apply pressure to the grip, then move towards the back. Be careful and avoid sliding your hand since it might slide onto your skin. The hands are set on from the front to back for higher efficiency. After that, move it slowly toward the front in a slant.

Placing the grip tape straight may create air pockets because skateboard decks are concave in shape. If you notice the air bubbles, remove the grip tape and start the process again. Be aware that grip tape may not stay in place immediately, and you can take it off to make it work.

Bubbles should not be a problem because they may puncture air pockets; however, we suggest you be careful of excessively big pockets. You can also avoid it by slowing the process a bit. Additionally, we recommend that you go through the procedure with a little less care to make sure there are no bubbles.

Cutting the Edges and Lifting the Tape Over Them

Use a blade or sharp tool to cut the lines on both sides, just to the right on the edge of the deck’s nose and tail. After cutting the lines, you can make an additional scrape over the cut by using a screwdriver. This step will lead you to secure the ends that create higher durability.

In addition, we suggest lifting the grip tape a bit away from the outside. You will save the hands by sticking on the tape’s adhesive portion and facilitating cutting. No, lift it carefully and use a sharp blade to cut off the tape edges to make an easier cut.

How to Clean Skateboard Grip Tape?

If a skateboard’s grip tape becomes dirty, it becomes hard to ride. It doesn’t mean that skateboards don’t completely work. However, you may feel less control over overriding and performing tricks. Additionally, it reduces the resistance and traction on the deck. As a result, you may acknowledge the difficulty in freely landing on the deck.

Knowing all the aspects, you may think of a question how to clean skateboard grip tape? The answer is simple; you can learn it with some simple steps. Cleaning the grip tape surface seems hard, but it is not quite tough. Additionally, learning the cleaning tricks may save you many bucks and time and add more life to your beloved skateboard. However, before getting started, ensure these accessories’ availability.

Check List for Cleaning the Old Grip

  • Soft wire brush
  • Any old toothbrush
  • Dish detergent or any other liquid soap (recommended for longboards)
  • 1 bowl of water (recommended for longboards)
  • 1 piece of microfiber cloth (recommended for longboards)
  • Grip gum
  • A little patience

Although patience is required in every process, you need to understand its logic. Similarly, cleaning the old grip tape on the skateboard deck requires knowledge and patience because it takes 2 to 3 hours to dry.

Cleaning the Grip Tape

There are multiple steps involved in cleaning the grip tape. Then, the first step is to clean the grip tape with any old toothbrush.

1. Cleaning it With a Toothbrush

Take any old toothbrush and start cleaning the tape from the nose, then move to the tail. It will not only remove the dust from the tape but will get it to a position where you can easily perform your work.

2. Applying the Dish Detergent or the Soap

The second step involves applying the detergent or the soap to the grip tape. However, ensure this step belongs only to the longboard grip tapes because longboards are more authentic to bear the water. Before applying, take a bowl full of water and then pour a decent amount of dish detergent or liquid soap into it.

However, ensure you don’t put too much or too little soap in the water. Otherwise, you won’t get the required results. After that, pour a little soap water on the grip tape but not too much. Then scrub in detail with the wire brush so that the soap water can get to all the grip tape. Repeat the process at least 2 times.

3. Drying the Grip Tape

After scrubbing the brush with liquid, you should make sure of the complete dryness of grip tape. You can utilize a piece of microfiber cloth for drying the tape. Put the cloth on the deck and gently press across the deck to get the water completely soaked. We recommend you do it again after folding the cloth and repeat the process several times.

Additionally, make sure that the skateboard deck is completely dried. Otherwise, the deck may get ruined because of the wood structure. Moreover, never use a paper towel or tissue paper to soak the water from the deck. It is because wet paper towels tear apart very easily, and it leads you to face a great mess.

4. Let the Grip Tape Dry

Letting the grip tape or mistakenly wetting the deck wood may lead to a bent skateboard deck. Additionally, it will also lead the deck to get completely wrapped; get it clear that if it gets bent, you won’t be able to get it straight again. To get it completely dry, make sure that you let it rest for 3 to 4 hours for getting it completely dry. Make sure that the skateboard gets completely dry before riding.

5. Using Grip Gum

It is probably the last step of cleaning the old grip tape on your skateboard deck. You can buy a grip gum or specialized rubber that catches the dust and other particles to provide lush cleanliness. We recommend the usage of grip gum because even after scrubbing the wire brush, there are still some areas that contain some dust. Or there are some areas where wire brush can’t reach out. Those particles are taken out through grip gum.

Some Tips For Cleaning

  • We recommend you remove the equipment and accessories installed on the skateboard for an easy process.
  • Use very little soap and water for normal skateboards for higher efficiency and cleanliness.
  • Changing the grip tape is highly recommended if you have a skateboard with torn tape instead of cleaning it.
  • Don’t use a wire brush with too many hard wires; otherwise, you may get it torn.
  • Keep using the grip tape with clean shoes. Ensure the cleanliness of your shoes before riding the skateboard.

How to Cut Grip Tape without A Razor?

Ripping off the additional grip tape from the edges is essential to the grip tape application process. It doesn’t only enhance the finishing look of the skateboard, but it eventually increases the durability of the deck. Any skateboard requires a firm finishing on the edges, and additional tape on the edges may negatively influence performing tricks.

You need a sharp object to trim the extra grip tape from the edges, and the razor is the best choice to create fine and straight lines. Razors are specifically made to cut and slice sharp objects. However, what to do if a razor isn’t available at your home? Well, you may use any sharp object to trim and scrape the edges.

You can use several objects other than the razor to cut the grip tape. However, ensure that you need a sharp object to cut the grip tape once you have applied the grip tape on the deck. Additionally, you must use a screwdriver or the flat file to create the right lines on the grip tape before cutting. Here are some suggestions other than the razor.

By using a Screw Driver (or Flat File)

Don’t wonder about the point; you can use it to cut the additional grip tape from the deck. It isn’t hard to cut the tape with the help of a screwdriver, and it is too easy to get it done. You need some practice in completing the project with a screwdriver. Here are a few suggestions to make it easy for you to do it.

1. Marking

Step one is usual, and you can do it with the screwdriver, the flat file, or any other similar tool. Rub the screwdriver across the edges at an angle of 45 degrees. However, you should follow the direction in which you pull the screwdriver towards you. It will give points on which you need to cut the grip tape.

2. Cutting

This method doesn’t require a razor to cut the additional grip off. To do it with the screwdriver, keep rubbing it on the edges with a suitable force until the grip tape rips off the deck. It may require 5 odd minutes to rip the grip tape completely off. It is because the grip tape is made with a suitably hard material, and you can easily rip it in the way.

Sharp Objects (Knife or Cutter)

Another thing you can use to cut the tape off is a sharp knife or a cutter. We include any object that has one side sharp under this rule. This rule doesn’t require any additional guidance for cutting the additional grip tape. You can use the same method that people use with the razor. However, the difference is that you need to control the knife or other similar objects with more precision.

You also need a flat file or any other similar tool to mark the edges, and you need to cut the rest of the grip tape that lies across the edges. Whatever you use, ensure a 45-degree angle and a direction in which you cut the grip tape to yourself. It will not only provide you with the right control but offer a chance for a fine finish.

Additionally, don’t put too much force on cutting the grip tape off because knives are hard objects, and you may cut through the deck’s wood. If you cut the wood deck mistakenly with your knife, it may lead you to a great threat of ruining your entire skateboard. So, we recommend you apply the right force to complete the cutting task.

Recommended Methods Among the Both

Although both methods greatly work, we recommend you use the second method, which is with the knife or any other sharp object. The first method may lead you to get marks on the edges due to unnecessary peeling of the grip. However, if you get the razor, it will be the best of all.

To Wrap It Up

After reading the detailed method of putting the grip tape on the skateboard, you can easily do it yourself with the tools and keeping in mind those instructions. This handy guide answers the questions related to grip tape for beginner skateboarders who want to know how to put grip tape on a skateboard. Putting the grip tape on the skateboard doesn’t is not a complex thing to do but still, you must be careful while putting the grip tape on the deck. Additionally, putting the grip tape on your board by yourself saves money and time for you. The process is easy and doesn’t require any expert skills.

Share this guide with your skater friends and happy skating 🙂


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