How to Remove Grip Tape from Skateboard & Longboard

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Removing grip tape from a skateboard or longboard can be a necessary task when replacing or upgrading your board’s grip. The grip tape, while essential for providing traction, can wear out or need replacement over time.

However, removing it requires some careful steps to avoid damaging the board’s surface. In this guide, we’ll explore simple yet effective methods to safely and efficiently remove grip tape from your skateboard or longboard, allowing for a clean and smooth surface ready for new grip tape application.

How to Remove Grip Tape from Skateboard & Longboard

How To Remove Grip Tape

Removing grip tape from a skateboard or longboard is a simple process that can be completed in just a few steps. Whether you want to replace your grip tape with a fresh sheet or simply remove it for a different look, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove grip tape from your board:

1. Prepare To Remove Grip Tape

To prepare for removing grip tape from your skateboard or longboard, gather the necessary tools and materials. You will need a flathead screwdriver or blade, a blowdryer, a skate tool (or a Philips head screwdriver and socket wrench), and either WD-40 or sandpaper.

Before starting the grip tape removal process, it is advisable to take the trucks off of your board. This will make the process much easier and prevent bits of grip tape from getting stuck underneath the screws. Additionally, removing the trucks is necessary when replacing with a fresh sheet of grip tape later on.

To remove grip tape effectively, always remember to remove the trucks before putting on a new grip tape sheet. This step is often overlooked, especially by beginners.

2. Heat Up Grip Tape

To remove grip tape from a skateboard or longboard, it is recommended to heat up the grip tape first. This softens the adhesive, making it easier to peel off. There are two methods you can use to heat up the grip tape: using a blow dryer or leaving it in direct sunlight.

The blow dryer method is the quickest and easiest way to heat up the grip tape. Simply plug in a blow dryer and set it to its highest heat setting. Hold the blow dryer about 4-6 inches away from the grip tape and move it back and forth in a sweeping motion. Be sure to heat up the entire grip tape surface evenly. As you apply heat, you may notice dark spots appearing. Don’t worry, these are known as sunspots and are caused by the adhesive melting.

If you prefer not to use a blow dryer, you can also heat up the grip tape by leaving your skateboard or longboard outside in direct sunlight. Place it on a flat surface in a sunny area for about 20-30 minutes. The heat from the sun will help soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove.

Once the grip tape has been heated up, use a sharp object like a razor blade or hobby knife to lift an edge of the grip tape. Be careful not to damage the skateboard deck while doing this. Slowly peel back the grip tape, applying even pressure as you go. If there are any leftover adhesive or bits of grip tape, you can use grip gum or grip tape glue remover to clean it off.

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3. Peel Up The Edge Of The Grip Tape

To remove the grip tape from your skateboard or longboard, follow these steps:

  1. After applying heat to the top of the grip tape, use a blade or flathead screwdriver to start peeling up the edge of the grip tape. Be cautious not to cut or gouge into the deck, as this can result in grooves or wrinkles when applying new grip tape. It’s recommended to start from either the nose or the tail rather than the middle.
  2. If you encounter any difficulty, apply more heat directly to the nose or tail to further loosen the adhesive. Take care while peeling up the edge, especially when using sharp objects.
  3. Peeling up the edge should be relatively easy without requiring excessive force. The objective is to peel up a large enough section of the grip tape that you can firmly grip it with your hand.
  4. Once you have a sufficient section to grasp firmly, start pulling the grip tape off in a smooth motion, applying even pressure. Work your way towards the center of the board, continuing to peel until the entire grip tape is removed.

4. Pull The Grip Tape Off

Once you have peeled the grip tape up far enough to get a good grip on it, start pulling it back slowly with your hand. You can also place one foot on the deck to provide more leverage if needed.

As you peel back the grip tape, if you encounter any resistance or find it difficult to remove, apply more heat directly to the bottom of the grip tape while continuing to pull it back. Be careful not to rip it too much, as this can result in smaller pieces sticking to the board, making the removal process more time-consuming.

To make the removal process smoother, try pulling the grip tape at a slight angle, alternating between different angles as you go. This can help loosen the grip tape and make it easier to remove.

Pay extra attention when removing the grip tape from around the bolt holes, as it is common for it to get caught and rip in those areas. Take your time and be gentle to avoid damaging the board.

5. Remove Grip Tape Residue

To remove grip tape residue from your skateboard or longboard, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. After peeling off the grip tape, you may notice some small bits left behind. Apply more heat to the residue using a hair dryer or heat gun to loosen the adhesive.
  2. Use a blade, flathead screwdriver, or hobby knife to gently peel off the remaining grip tape bits. Be cautious not to cut or damage the board during this process to avoid any indentions when applying the new grip tape.
  3. If there is still residue left on the board after removing the grip tape, there are a couple of options to clean it off. One option is to spray WD-40 on the top of the deck, and then use a rag to wipe off the residue. Make sure to dry the deck afterward.
  4. Alternatively, you can use sandpaper to gently scrape off any remaining adhesive residue and clean the surface of the deck. Start with a rough grit sandpaper and gradually move to a finer grit for a smooth finish.
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Can You Remove the Grip Tape With Fire?

No, you should not remove grip tape from a skateboard or longboard using fire. While heat can make it easier to remove grip tape, direct application of fire can cause damage to the board. The intense heat from the fire can potentially burn the skateboard, leaving permanent marks that cannot be removed.

Can You Pull Off the Grip Tape With Force?

When it comes to removing grip tape from a skateboard or longboard, many people wonder if they can simply pull it off with force. However, this is not recommended as it can lead to injuries and damage to the board.

Grip tape is designed to adhere tightly to the skateboard deck, ensuring a secure footing for the rider. If you try to forcefully pull off the grip tape, it can result in accidents and injuries. The blade used to cut the grip tape can slip and end up stabbing you, causing serious harm.

Pro Tips to Remove Grip Tape

Removing grip tape from a skateboard or longboard can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done effectively. Here are some pro tips to help you successfully remove grip tape without damaging your board.

  1. Use Heat: Heating the grip tape is a crucial step in the removal process. Take a hair dryer or a heat gun and apply heat to the grip tape for a few minutes. This helps loosen the adhesive, making it easier to peel off.
  2. Start from the Edges: Once the grip tape is heated, start peeling it from the edges. Be careful near the truck bolts as the tape can tear in this area. Slowly and gently pull the tape away, keeping it at a slight angle to avoid any tearing.
  3. Use a Sharp Object: If the grip tape is not coming off easily, you can use a sharp object like a hobby knife or a razor blade to loosen it further. Carefully insert the sharp edge under the grip tape and lift it up, loosening the adhesive. Be cautious not to scratch or damage the skateboard deck.
  4. Clean up Residue: After removing the grip tape, there may be some leftover adhesive or bits of grip tape on the deck. Use a grip gum or a microfiber cloth to remove any residue. You can also use lighter fluid or adhesive remover specifically designed for grip tape to clean the surface.
  5. Sanding: If there are stubborn adhesive residues, you can lightly sand the deck with a sanding belt cleaner or a fine-grit sandpaper. Be gentle and make sure to sand evenly to avoid damaging the deck’s finish.
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FAQs

Is Grip Tape Necessary?

Yes, grip tape is essential for skateboards and longboards as it provides traction and grip to help riders maintain control while performing tricks and maneuvers.

Can you change the grip tape on a skateboard?

Absolutely! Grip tape can be easily changed on a skateboard or longboard. This allows riders to personalize their boards with different designs or replace worn-out grip tape for optimal performance.

How to remove grip tape residue from a skateboard?

To remove grip tape residue from a skateboard, start by using a hair dryer or heat gun to warm up the adhesive. Then, gently peel off the grip tape, using a razor blade or skate tool to lift any stubborn bits. Finally, use grip gum or a microfiber cloth soaked in lighter liquid to remove any remaining adhesive residue.

How to remove grip tape without a hair dryer?

If you don’t have access to a hair dryer, you can still remove grip tape from a skateboard. Start by soaking the grip tape with lighter liquid or rubbing alcohol to loosen the adhesive. Then, use a razor blade or skateboard tool to carefully peel off the grip tape.

Can you put grip tape over grip tape?

It is not recommended to put grip tape over existing grip tape. The layers may not adhere properly, and it can create an uneven surface that affects traction and control. It’s best to remove the old grip tape before applying a fresh sheet.

Is grip tape sandpaper?

Grip tape is made from a rough surface that is similar to sandpaper. It is designed to provide excellent grip and traction for skateboarders and longboarders.

How do you clean grip tape?

To clean grip tape, start by brushing off any loose debris with a brush or cloth. Then, use grip gum or a sanding belt cleaner to remove stubborn dirt or stains. For tough stains, a mild detergent mixed with water can be used. After cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to dry the grip tape thoroughly.

Conclusion:

Removing grip tape from your skateboard or longboard doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and a little patience, you can easily strip away the old tape and give your board a fresh start. So don’t let a worn-out grip tape hold you back from riding with style and confidence. Get rid of it and get ready to hit the streets with a board that’s ready to roll!

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