How To Remove Grip Tape from a Skateboard

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Even if you just started skateboarding, you probably already know how important grip tape is. Having strong grip tape allows you to have better control of your board when doing your ollies and performing other basic tricks like kickflips and heelflips. Solid grip tape also makes it a lot easier to stay on your board when grinding and sliding down rails and ledges. 

But over time, the condition of your grip tape can deteriorate, especially after skating every day in all different weather. Grip tape that is no longer fresh makes it really hard for your feet to stick to the board and can make performing a basic ollie almost impossible. 

If your skateboard is no longer performing like it once was, you might be thinking that you need a new deck or completely new setup. But this is often not the case. Consider changing your grip tape first. You’d be surprised at how effective this easy fix can be. 

In this post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to remove the grip tape from your board. If you’re new to grip tape removal, you might be intimidated at first. However, once you do it a few times, you’ll find that this is a really easy repair, and can be done a lot faster than you’d think.

Getting Started

To begin removing your grip tape you will only need a socket wrench, screwdriver, skateboard tool, razor blade, and a hair dryer. Once you’ve got your supplies, move your skateboard onto its side, and proceed to remove the trucks from your board with a socket wrench. Using your screwdriver remove the screw that is located on the main nut of your trucks. After the trucks are off, you can begin pulling off your grip tape. 

Heat the Grip Tape with a Hair Dryer and Have a Flat Wide Razor Blade in Hand

Take your hair dryer and blow hot air around the perimeter of your board to loosen the adhesive that connects the grip tape to the skateboard deck. Once it’s been heated, take your wide, flat razor blade and place it under the grip tape at a 45-degree angle to start pulling off the ends of the grip tape.

Work Your Way Around the Perimeter of the Skateboard Deck 

Unglue a small portion of the tape and work your way around the perimeter of the board. Be careful not to tear or snag the tape as you loosen the perimeter. You don’t want to apply too much pressure on the razor blade to avoid cutting into the tape. 

Try to Remove the Grip Tape in One Pull 

After the perimeter of the grip tape has been loosened enough, you can then proceed to take your fingers and gently pull the grip tape off. When pulling off the grip tape, try to get it all off in one piece. Do this by applying more heat with your hair dryer while pulling slowly.

Removing grip tape can be more difficult if it is not all removed at once. If there is any excess grip tape leftover on the board, you might want to apply more heat to make it easier to peel off with your razor blade. Tape that is glued tight to the board can be a challenge, but with enough heat, it will loosen up. Make sure to gently scrape up an extra grip tape residue that was leftover. 

Once you remove the entire grip tape, you will be surprised at how clean the upper deck of your skateboard is. While removing the grip tape from your board might be hard at first, you will find that it becomes a lot easier the second time around.

More Tips and Tricks 

Sometimes it can be difficult to remove the tape in one pull. However, if you’re patient and slowly pull the tape off section by section, you might be able to get it all off at once. 

Using your hair dryer is your best bet when trying to remove grip tape. Grip tape is meant to stick on your board through all types of weather, which is why it requires a tremendous amount of direct heat to remove, even if it’s old grip tape. If a hair dryer isn’t enough, consider using a heat gun that can warm the upper skateboard deck to an even hotter temperature.

Scrape the Edge of the Grip Tape with Your Razor Blade

Before applying a sheet of new grip tape, make sure you scrape the edges of your board to remove any leftover tape. It is also important to remove any excess tape that has found its way into the truck mount holes. This will allow for an easier application of the new tape. 

If you’re not comfortable using a flat blade to help peel off your old grip tape, then stick with using a blow dryer for removing the grip tape. This can take a little bit more time, but if heated enough, you should be able to remove grip tape with relative ease. 

Sand Away Any Remaining Grip Tape Residue

Now that you’ve fully removed the tape from your deck, you can now begin the process of smoothening out the surface of your upper skateboard deck by using a piece of fine sandpaper to smooth the upper deck. Sand it down until it is completely smooth to allow for the best application of your new grip tape. Once the deck is smooth you’re now ready to apply your fresh sheet of grip tape.

Applying Your New Tape

Having gone over how to properly remove grip tape, we would now like to give you a brief overview of how to apply a fresh sheet. Applying grip tape is much easier than taking it off. All you need to do is grab a new sheet, and remove the tape cover to expose the sticky adhesive on the back of the tape. 

Once removed, press down firmly onto the board so that the new sheet covers it completely. After that, proceed to take a flat razor blade to cut the edges of the tape so that it conforms to the shape of your board. 

Using your skate tool, proceed to reinstall your trucks and make sure to tighten them to your desired preference.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide gave you a good idea of how to remove grip tape. While it might seem hard at first, the truth is that it’s a fairly simple procedure. Knowing how to remove and install your own grip tape can save you a lot of time and money that you would have otherwise spent at your local skate shop

Overall, grip tape removal doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. If you apply enough heat and proceed to peel the edge of the grip tape downward until it is completely off of your board, the only thing left for you to do is sand down the upper deck so that it is smooth enough to apply your new sheet.

Grip tape is crucial for any skater. If it becomes too slippery you will start to find it more difficult to perform simple tricks making skating even harder than it already is. Luckily, knowing how to replace your own tape can have you back on your board in no time, and can save you the hassle of having to go to your local skate shop every time you need your tape replaced. 

With all that said, we hope that you can take the information from this post, and never have to ride on worn out grip tape again.