How to Remove Longboard Grip Tape (Quick Steps!)

How to Remove Longboard Grip Tape

Is your grip tape thin, ripped, or peeling? If so then it might be time to replace it. Also called griptape, it has been part of skateboards since the mid-1970s. That’s when decks became standardized, which also included various components including trucks, wheels, and bearings.

If you own a longboard deck then it’s important to know about various issues that come with the hobby. Why do you need to know how to get grip tape off a deck? What are some of the most effective methods for griptape removal from your deck? Are there special methods for removing special types of tape like clear grip tape? These are some of the many questions and issues that this article will take up.

Why Should You Replace Longboard Griptape?

Why Should You Replace Longboard Griptape

There are various reasons but the most common one is regular or normal skateboard use that causes any amount of old grip tape to wear down and start peeling off of the board. In general, this can happen as early as 6 months or up to 1.5 years after the grip adhesive was applied to the deck.

Has your griptape ever gotten wet from one foot or both feet? This is normal with skateboard use but many times of wetting and drying of the edge of the grip can cause it to wear out faster. If you’re a thrasher then you should expect the grip tape of your deck to get wet now and then.

Yet another reason the griptape might need replacing is it wasn’t applied the right way. For example, if you apply new griptape over the old one, you’ll likely need to replace both soon because the old griptape won’t stick to the deck surface especially the edge.

Even if you don’t put new griptape on an old one, making mistakes applying it could cause issues like air bubbles that require making holes to remove them. The adhesive could start peeling off the edge of the grip sooner rather than later. If you’re new to removing and applying grip then it’s important to make sure you have all the things such as tools and know-how you need including a screwdriver and socket wrench for this activity to remove the nuts, bolts, screws, etc. to get the work’s best results.

How to Remove A Grip Tape

How to Remove A Grip Tape

Let’s get to work. Here are the basic steps you’ll need for removing old grip tape:

Step 1: Remove the trucks

This is the first part of the process and something to do carefully. Use a skate tool or socket wrenches to remove the trucks. What if you don’t have a skateboard tool? In that case you can use pliers instead to remove the trucks. It’s important to set aside the nuts, bolts, and screws in a small container so you won’t lose them.

Step 2: Apply heat to the tape

You can use different tools for melting the griptape adhesive from the grip edge. They include a hair dryer/blow dryer, heat gun, or torch. Simply apply heat to the deck using the tool until the grip tape becomes warm. Why is this important? It will allow you to remove the tape from the deck in one big piece instead of small bits. Tip: Use gloves to protect your hand or both hands from the dryer and the hot deck surface.

Here’s the process. First, heat up the tape at the deck’s nose or tail using a hair dryer. Continue this process until you can fit a razor blade, hobby knife, Swiss knife, or boxcutter knife, or scraper between the tape and board.

Step 3: Peel off the tape

You can use various tools mentioned in this article, although a basic flat/wide razor blade is effective for the job since it’s thin enough to slide underneath the tape. Start from the side or edges.

What’s a way to remove the grip tape without damaging the board? Here’s something to keep in mind. Make sure the blade is at an ideal angle to prevent that from happening. You should also make sure to keep applying the heat as you remove the tape. The heat source is doing most of the work so the blade’s function is just to lift the tape.

Step 4: Remove the rest of the old tape

After you’ve peeled off the edges of the grip tape’s shape, apply heat to the remainder of the deck’s grip tape. This will help to loosen up all the adhesive. Then use your hands to slowly remove the griptape to the edges or sides of the grip. When necessary apply heat along the side or edges.

Step 5: Clean up

Use your razor blade to scrape off any small bits and pieces of griptape left over. Make sure to do this step gently to avoid scraping the deck. What if there’s sticky glue from the grip tape remaining on the board? No worries, since you can just apply the new tape atop it. What’s most critical is to remove the griptape completely. You can also check out tutorials on YouTube if you need a second opinion.

How to Remove Clear Grip Tape

This type of griptape is less common than the standard variety. However, there are various effective ways you can remove the tape using the following methods:

The first option is lacquer thinner: This product is similar to paint thinner but is actually hotter than the latter. However, lacquer thinner can be used to remove old paint, residue from plastics, and varnish on clothes.

You can also use this product to help remove clear griptape. After applying the lacquer thinner to the board, make it more effective by placing a cloth over the liquid. This will help to make it more effective by preventing the lacquer from evaporating quickly. After completing this process makes sure to reseal the wood since the process removes the finish.

Another option is to use the rough surface of sandpaper. An alternative is an automatic sander if you want to prevent your hands getting tired. Another alternative is a grinding disk. While this provides more power it also increases the risk of damaging the board. So make sure to use caution.

A third method to remove clear griptape is a scraper with a rectangular blade like a flat-edge screwdriver. How does this process differ from sandpaper and lacquer? A key difference is it won’t remove the wood finish and color like a blade. So while it will take some time to scrape off the clear tape you won’t have to worry about re-treating the wood.

Preventing Griptape from Peeling off Faster

While you should expect to replace your board griptape over time, you can also help to extend the lifespan. One of the most important methods is to make sure to prevent bubbles from forming when you add the griptape. This results from air getting trapped between the tape and board. Make sure to apply the griptape sheet in small sections starting from the nose or tail of the griptape. This can prevent this from happening.

What if bubbles form while applying griptape? You can just use your griptape cutter to make small holes so the air can escape from the bubble.

You can also prevent grip tape from wearing down faster by keeping your tape as clean and dry as possible. Dirt, grime, and water can all wear down the tape faster so you’ll have to replace it sooner rather than later. That’s because such substances can get embedded into the griptape,

After a skating session you can also use a basic cleaning brush to remove debris from your board after skating sessions. One of the benefits of grip tape is it helps to prevent the board itself from getting wet. On the other hand, you should let it dry thoroughly if it gets wet to minimize the effect on the tape’s grit.



Can you remove grip tape?

Yes, there are various methods to remove it from decks with your hands. They include using heat to loosen the griptape, then using a razor blade to scrape off the tape. After removing the griptape it’s important to add the new tape properly to extend the time between griptape applications.

Can a skateboarder put new grip tape over old?

This is technically possible but you should avoid doing it. The reason is the grip tape’s adhesive won’t stick to the old grip tape’s rough surface, so it will peel off quickly. In fact, the old griptape can be done with ease to remove once you apply heat using a top tool such as a heat gun or torch. Afterwards the old tape should peel off quite easily.

How long does longboard griptape last?

The average timeframe is 6 to 18 months depending on factors like how often you skate. Some other factors include the griptape quality and how effectively it was applied to the deck.

How do you remove old golf grip tape?

Golf grip tape is used for golf clubs and may also be used on skateboard and long decks. It can be either single-sided or double-sided. A heat gun or torch can help to loosen the grip tape. What if there’s some grip tape residue left? Then you can use a scraper, blade, or Swiss Army knife blade to remove it.

How do you get clear grip tape off?

There are various options including sandpaper, lacquer finish, and scraper. They each work effectively although the scraper is the best option to preserve the deck’s color and wood finish.

Is it possible to remove grip tape without heat?

Some skateboarders have reported being able to do this. The process seems possible in cases the grip tape was applied within the past few months. If you take this step it’s best to test a small section first. If the grip tape doesn’t lift up using a knife blade or other tool then make sure to apply heat first.


You can use the product to remove any adhesive that’s left over after removing the griptape itself. Soak a part of a terry cloth in the liquid then scrub off the residue. If there’s a lot of residue you can spray the WD-40 directly onto the deck then remove the glue.

Whether your skateboard grip tape is worn out or isn’t applied properly, you’ll need to remove it. How tough is the process? As discussed in this article, in most cases all you need is a heat source to loosen the adhesive, and a scraper or other tool to remove the grip tape and residue . The grip tape removal process is slightly different in other situations like removing clear grip tape. After removing the old tape you’ll just have to apply new tape to your deck so you can get back to freeriding and freestyling.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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