How To Clean, Remove & Apply Grip Tape

By Billy | Updated: July 23, 2022 | Longboards

It’s time to learn about grip tape – how to clean, remove, select and apply it.

First, let’s start with…

Cleaning your griptape

What I usually keep on hand is a sanding belt cleaner. You can find these for a few bucks at your local hardware store or Amazon. There are even quite a few skate brands that white label these, Shake Junt, MOB, Grip Gum to name a few.

All you have to do is rub the cleaner like an eraser, which will clean up most of the dirt. Sometimes, you’ll have denser dirt spots, and the grip gum won’t help. In that case, you can use a toothbrush with a little water. You can even use a little dawn dishwasher detergent. Don’t go crazy with the water and soap, though.

I do want to emphasize to always be gentle when cleaning your grip tape. If you go too aggressive, it’s easy to lessen the grip since it’s essentially an adhesive sheet with small crystal grains. You go too hard and those crystals will fall off, lessening your grip.

Those two methods will usually get anything out of your grip tape.

Now that you know how to clean, let’s move onto…

Selecting your griptape

Depending on what type of skating you’re doing, you might need a certain type of grip tape.

There are so many brands out there, but to keep it simple, Jessup is some of the least course standard skateboard griptape. Then there’s Grizzly and Diamond which are slightly more course than jessup. Mob griptape is the most course.

But how do you know what size to get? On most cruisers and street boards, standard skateboard griptape sheets work fine. But on boards that are wider than 10 inches and longer than 32 inches, standard griptape won’t work.

Longboard specific griptape is best used when regripping your board. If longboard specific griptape is not an option, then you have a few alternatives. Grab at least 2 sheets of standard skateboard griptape. Use a ruler to mark the width of the board on the length griptape. Cut using a pair of scissors.

Longboard specific griptape is best for longboards. Madrid flypaper is the most widley available longboard griptape that works well on cruisers as well as street boards. The grip itself feels like diamond or grizzly griptape in regards to grip, but it is much thicker. This tape is also available in many different sizes. Viscous griptape is the most course and best suited for downhill and slides. If you have a loaded skateboard deck, you can buy the specific griptape for your board from the manufacturer. The different options also gives you the opportunity to mix and match your griptape.

Mob on the tail and jessup on the rest is a Jacksonville Florida trend. This gives you more grip where you need it, and less where you dont on street boards. The same could be applied to surf skates, viscous on the tail and flypaper on the front could simulate a traction pad.

If you want to do longboard dancing, then having a lower grit griptape like jessup in the middle would optimal, but you could put mob, madrid, or viscous grip on the nose and tail to help with tricks. Mixing and matching your griptape can help you further dial in your setup to your style, and make the board suit needs that it would have otherwise lacked.

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Removing your griptape

Removing your griptape is simple. It sticks to your board with an adhesive, so the best way to get it off is to heat it up.

Common methods are using a hairdryer, heatgun or just leaving it in the sun.

It’s always tricky to get it started, so I’ll use a razor to peel up one end. Depending on the adhesive, you could either put one hand on your deck and peel or put your deck on the ground to get leverage and slowly peel it back.

Often you’ll have some leftover adhesive residue, which isn’t a big deal, you can still apply a new sheet over it, but I still like to get it off.

The best option is to use Googone. If you don’t have it, you can use wd-40, lighter fluid, alcohol, and acetone, although those options could ruin your finish, so use it as a last resort.

Applying your griptape

Before installing new grip, now is a good time to refinish the board. Sand the edges with 200 grit sandpaper, and finish with 800 grit up. Fill in the chips with 2 part epoxy, jb weld, or super glue. Coat the board in lacquer or polyurethane to protect the deck from water.

Griptape art is best done before installing the grip. Paint pens are the best for this.

Lightly place on edges – easier to pull up if mistake made. Scrape edges to make outline visible

Billy

I started skateboarding when I was 5 years old. Picked up surfing and snowboarding soon after. These days, if I'm not surfing, I'm trying to replicate it on land or snow. My goal is to shred, then share my thoughts in an honest and transparent way.
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