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How To Install Griptape

I know this is pretty basic, but I was shocked to find out that there aren't many good skateboard assembly tutorials on the internet these days. So, I am going to start out with a basic griptape installation.

Griptape is the sand-paper-like adhesive that is applied to the top of the decks to prevent slipping and to aid with tricks. It's usually made of a very strong, semi-elastic plastic sheet, and it is somewhat waterproof. Black griptape usually grips better, and lasts longer than colored or transparent types. Although the grits in the griptape do wear out over time, it's very durable, and you will likely only have to install griptape once for the life of your deck. You can, however, give new life to an old deck very cheaply by reinstalling new griptape, but the removal of the old one is very difficult and requires lots of patience. You can definitely tell when your griptape needs replacement if your ollie tricks don't stick.

This whole installation process should take you about 10 minutes.

Step 1 - Gather your materials:

Utility knife needed
Obviously you need a deck and a sheet of griptape, but the only extra material you need is a knife. A utility knife is most appropriate, since the blades are disposable and large. Try to stay away from exacto knives, since they are too small to be handled safely. Also, make sure you aren't too fond of your utility knife, because after you cut the sheet of griptape the blade won't work for anything else!

Step 2 - Peel off the griptape back:

Peel off a portion of it
It's probably easier if you don't peel the paper off completely. Just peel off half of it for now.

Step 3 - Place the griptape:

start at the nose or tail
Apply the griptape gradually from one end of the board to the other, applying pressure with your hands from the center towards the edges of the board to prevent bubbles. (if you get bubbles, pop them later with the point of the knife). Make sure you leave a little border of griptape around the entire deck. It's a lot easier to trim the excess off later.

Fully applied...

Step 4 - Begin cutting:

Start cutting
I start cutting from the tail, but that's just my personal preference. Just go around the whole deck with the knife at an angle. Hold the deck with one hand and stroke the knife back and forth towards your body. You should be able to cut pretty straight using this method.

Cut all the way around
Please be careful. Use short strokes, and keep your fingers away from the blade at all times.

Step 5 - Fix imperfections:

Go back and fix the imperfections
Once you have trimmed the excess griptape, you can go back with the knife and fix the areas where it didn't come out so straight.

Step 6 - Poke truck mounting holes:

Poke truck mounting holes through the griptape
Now poke holes through all the truck mounting holes from inside out. You can use anything that is thin enough to fit though those holes. In this case, I am using a piece of hanger wire.

detail of hole poked
The End


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