Skateboards are not waterproof. The design and materials in use can make skateboards vulnerable to water. If you skate under rain or leave it soaked in water for hours, it can get waterlogged. And there’s a high chance of the board getting bad beyond repair. But not all hope is lost as there may still be ways to fix it.
So, here is how to fix a waterlogged skateboard. First, use a heat gun on it and glue the grip of both the top and bottom of the skateboard’s deck. Also, use sandpaper to sand the skateboard’s top layer deck and slice the grip tape out of the deck.
Do this with a razor blade or any other sharp tool, then smoothen all the parts of the skateboard’s deck. Sounds a bit tricky? Don’t worry. To learn more about waterlogged skateboards and how to fix them, continue reading this article.
How to Tell If a Skateboard is Waterlogged
Many people don’t know how to tell if their skateboard is waterlogged. Rain or water on your skateboard actually doesn’t mean it is waterlogged. There is more to water-logging than what meets the eyes.
Here are several ways you can tell if a skateboard has gotten waterlogged.
- If the skateboard feels heavier: This is one of the easiest ways to know that your skateboard is waterlogged. When you pick it up for skating, it will feel heavier than usual. It might also lose most of its pop. This is a sign that your skateboard is waterlogged, apart from the obvious fact that it is wet.
- Deck flexibility: Another way to know if your skateboard is waterlogged is flexibility. Sometimes, when you stand on it, it will feel like you are standing on wet cardboard. It will have a bouncing nature that almost feels like it wants to break.
- Brittle deck: Although a skateboard deck is brittle, it gets overly frail when waterlogged. Skateboards are fragile because they make the deck out of wood. But, its frailness increases to a higher level when soaked in water. If that happens, the waterlogged skateboard might rupture when in use.
- Peeling nose or tail: A skateboard deck has plies. When these plies rip off the deck, it is a sign that the skateboard is waterlogged. However, you shouldn’t glue it back to the deck. Such practice is dangerous because somebody else or even you can take it up to skate, and it can go bad.
Aside from water-logging, there are other adverse effects water can cause to your skateboard, and there are:
- Rust bearing: When a metal comes in contact with water, it rusts easily. The same thing goes for your skateboard bearings. Since it is metal, the bearings are likely to rust when your skateboard is waterlogged. When this happens, the Skateboard will not be in good working condition. The only solution for this is to replace the bearings with new ones.
- Seizing bearings: Not all liquids are good for bearings. Aside from oil and grease, any liquid can damage skateboard bearings, water inclusive. When your skateboard gets soaked, the bearings will rust. Therefore, the bearings will start seizing, leaving the skateboard useless. When this happens, the only remedy is to replace the bearings.
- Rust trucks: Aside from the fact that rusty trucks do not have a good look, they are other disadvantages like getting cut by the trucks and weakness in the metal.
Can You Fix a Waterlogged Skateboard?
A Waterlogged skateboard is fixable with the right procedures and tools. However, we advise you not to use the skateboard when it is waterlogged.
Several conditions can make a skateboard not fixable. If you put your skateboard in such conditions, we advise you to buy a new skateboard. This is because the conditions will attract extra damages that are unrepairable.
Such conditions are:
- Using the skateboard after it has been waterlogged: If you use your skateboard when it is waterlogged, the high level of brittleness can cause it to get damaged. Also, since your skateboard bearings will be rusty, the bearings might get stuck if you skate with them.
Also, the deck can break. When this happens, the skateboard becomes damaged beyond repairs. It will be a waste of money to buy repair tools for it. You just need to get a new one.
- Leaving the skateboard to soak some more: This is a very wrong move to your skateboard. When you find out that your skateboard has been waterlogged, you need to fix it as soon as possible. It is because the bearings might not rust yet. Also, the deck might still be hard enough for fixing. If it gets more soaked, the bearings might get too soft, and a motion as simple as moving an inch will be enough to damage it.
If you did any of these, dump the skateboard and get another one to be on the safe side. If you are not buoyant enough, you can get a cheap skateboard for under 100 dollars. However, the expensive ones are better.
How To Fix A Waterlogged Skateboard
As a skateboard owner or repairer, the following are easy steps on how to fix a waterlogged skateboard.
Step 1: Dry the grip tape
Before you dry the grip tape, it is important to check if it is sticking. If the grip tape is sticking, you can then use a hairdryer or heat gun to dry it, so it doesn’t pull off. But, it is not sticking completely or not sticking at all; allow the board to dry for 30 minutes. After it has dried, use a stronger adhesive agent on the grip tape to make it stick better.
Step 2: Warm the deck
You do not have to get rid of the hairdryer or heat gun just yet because you need it more in this step. When the grip tape sticks, use the hairdryer or heat gun to heat the skateboard’s deck and the grip tape. Do this until both parts are warm. If you overheat them, there is no problem; allow the temperature to reduce till you can comfortably touch them.
Step 3: Apply glue
Get good quality glue and apply them to the grip on your skateboard deck. After this, wait for about 5 to 10 minutes before you roll it and put pressure on the board to the grip tape. The longer you wait, the stronger they can stick. However, you should not wait longer than 15 minutes. This process will make them stick together and stay that way.
Step 4: Re-do step 3 on the bottom of your skateboard deck
Turn over the bottom of your deck and apply the glue. Make sure everything sticks well. The bubbles from the glue are meaningless, and you should not bother about it. After doing this, allow your skateboard to stay in a cool and dry place all night.
If you rush to the next step, you might start having loose ends on this step. So, for effective step 3 and 4, allow the skateboard to stay for hours before moving to the next fixing step.
Step 5: Sandpaper the skateboard deck’s top layer
Use rough sandpaper to roughen the deck top layer. It makes any loose grip come off effortlessly. Afterward, heat the grip tape again till it gets sticky and soft.
Step 6: Smoothen grip
Get a razor blade or any other sharp object you are comfortable with. Slice through the grip tape off the deck. Be careful not to tear any of the grips in this process. But, if you tear the grip, don’t panic, and try not to touch the glue on parts that don’t need gluing. It is because your skateboard might have a sticky handprint on it, and it is not a pleasant look.
Step 7: Make deck smooth
Get 80 to 220 grit sandpaper and sand on every part of your skateboard deck. The process makes it look smooth. After doing this, wipe off the dust that the sanding process created with water and sponge or any of a sponging nature. Now, your skateboard is ready for you to use.
Safety Considerations While Fixing a Waterlogged Skateboard
To do a good job of fixing a waterlogged skateboard, follow these safety precautions.
- Wear protective gear like safety goggles and rubber gloves.
- After you have applied acetone to the board, don’t handle it. If you do, it will make the board more brittle.
- Don’t use hard, sharp tools to scrape off the waterlogged board.
- When you still have water on the board, do not store it.
- Ensure that you are using the right material for your kind of skateboard deck.
- When you are fixing a waterlogged skateboard with vinegar, make sure the place has proper ventilation. It is for the good of your health, as vinegar can cause headaches.
- Handle the waterlogged skateboard with care. They are very delicate, and rough handling them, can cause more damage.
A waterlogged skateboard is delicate and brittle. So, you should fix it once you notice any problems. You can avoid waterlogged issues if you don’t skate under the rain. Also, make sure your skateboard does not come in contact with water enough to waterlog it.
But, if the situation is above your control, you can follow the instructions I talk about on how to a waterlogged skateboard. Then, after taking all the steps carefully, your skateboard will be as good as new.