Replacing your grip tape is a crucial part of skateboard maintenance. If your tape is worn out, it’s far more difficult to hold your balance on your board and retain a secure grip for doing tricks and jumps.
In some cases, you might have purchased a deck that isn’t pre-gripped.
Either way, with a bit of patience, replacing or applying grip tape is simple and can be achieved at home.
How to Put Grip Tape on a Skateboard
Line up your new grip tape with your board. Then, peel away the paper layer and gently smooth it down, starting from one side. Press it down at an angle to avoid air bubbles. Score the edges with a screwdriver or the blunt edge of a knife. Finally, cut away the excess and sand down the edges with leftover grip tape.
How to Remove Old Grip Tape
If you’re applying grip tape to a deck that isn’t pre-gripped, you won’t need this step. However, if you’re replacing old grip tape, you’ll first need to remove the worn-out piece on your deck.
To do so, you’ll need to lift it off and clean your skateboard.
Run the tip of a knife under the old grip tape to free a piece you can grip with your fingers. Once you have a hold on it, start peeling the grip tape off from one side.
Work slowly and carefully to avoid ripping the tape, making it more difficult to get it off cleanly.
Once your old grip tape is completely removed, clear the skateboard of debris, like small rocks or dirt, and get it as clean as possible before your new grip tape application.
Setting up your Workspace
Replacing your grip tape will be much faster and easier if you have a good workspace to do it in.
Find a clean spot with enough space for you to work at.
You’ll need a screwdriver, small metal rod, or butter knife, and a razor or box cutter.
Once your workstation is set up, you’re ready to re-grip your skateboard.
Applying New Grip Tape to a Skateboard Deck
To apply your new grip tape, start by lining up the tape with your deck. This way, you can make sure that you will cover the entire deck and not end up with bare or uneven spots.
When we buy grip tape, it usually comes in a large rectangular shape, so there will be excess that needs cutting off at the end.
Peel back the paper layer covering the adhesive of the grip tape and press it down on the one edge of your skatetboard (which should be in front of you horizontally).
Slowly and steadily smooth down the grip tape from one end to the other. Press it down at a bit of an angle to make sure you cover the board’s concave without locking in any air bubbles.
Once you’ve covered the whole board, you’re ready to remove the excess.
First, you need to score it so that you have guidelines for cutting away the leftover tape.
Using a blunt butter knife, the length of a screwdriver, or a small metal rod, run it all along the edge of the board so that a white line appears on the grip tape.
This white line is your cutting guide, and the thinner it is, the more precise your cut will be. Work gently.
Once the guideline is clearly visible, use your razor or box cutter to cut off the excess piece. Move slowly but confidently around the board as you cut so that you don’t end up with uneven edges.
The final step of applying grip tape is sanding down and securing the edges. Using a piece of sandpaper, or better yet, the leftover grip tape, sand the grip tape down lightly all around the board.
This will give it a gorgeous smooth finish and prevent the grip tape from lifting.
If you have any air bubbles under your tape, poke a tiny hole in the tape using the tip of your razor or box cutter, and press down until the air escapes.
Making Holes for your Trucks
With your new grip tape applied, you’ll want to put your trucks back on.
For this, you’ll need to recreate the holes in your grip tape that the bolts of your trucks need to go through.
This is a simple process. Personally, I feel for the existing truck holes in my deck and then create a small cut in the grip tape using the tip of my box cutter.
I then either use a screwdriver or the bolts themselves to widen the hole and press in the edges of the tape. This also prevents lifting or tearing.
With your trucks reattached and your grip tape refreshed, you’re ready to go.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Put Grip Tape on a Skateboard
How often do I need to replace my skateboard’s grip tape?
This depends on how much skating you do. You should replace your grip tape once it starts to slip or when you feel like you no longer have as much traction as usual. Grip tape is vital for helping you keep balance and especially for doing tricks.
Can I directly apply a new grip tape over the old one?
No matter how worn down your old grip tape is, there will likely still be enough of its rough surface left over to stop your new tape from sticking properly. Hence, it’s best to remove the old tape and clean your deck as thoroughly as possible to have a fresh surface to apply your new grip tape to.
Can I skate without grip tape?
Grip tape provides you with the traction to stay on your board. Without it, you’re unlikely to retain your balance for very long or do tricks. Grip tape is as crucial to a board as wheels, bearings, or trucks.
Replacing grip tape is a simple process that makes a world of difference.
With fresh grip, your skateboard will feel as good as new in no time.