How to Fix Cracks and Chips in Your Skateboard

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Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, maintaining your skateboard is crucial to ensure not only your performance but also your safety. One of the most common issues that skateboarders face is damage to their boards in the form of cracks and chips. Over time, and with heavy use, even the most durable skateboards can succumb to wear and tear.

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of regular skateboard maintenance, specifically focusing on how to fix cracks and chips. By taking the time to repair these common issues, you can extend the life of your board and save money in the long run. Plus, there's a certain satisfaction that comes with knowing how to take care of your gear yourself.

We’ll cover everything you need to know, from identifying the different types of cracks and chips to assessing the severity of the damage. We'll also provide a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to repair your skateboard, along with tips on the best tools and materials to use. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to tackle these repairs and get back to shredding with a board that's as good as new.

Whether your board has sustained damage from aggressive tricks or simply from frequent use, this guide is here to help. So, let’s get started on bringing your trusty skateboard back to its prime condition, ensuring you can ride safely and smoothly.

Stay tuned as we dive into the specifics of identifying the damage, gathering your tools, and executing effective repairs. Your skateboard will thank you!

Different Types of Skateboard Damage

Skateboards endure a lot of stress and impact, leading to various types of damage over time. Understanding these different damages is crucial for effective repair and maintenance. Here are the common types:

  1. Surface Cracks: These are small, often superficial cracks that appear on the top layer of the deck. They usually occur due to regular wear and tear.

  2. Deep Cracks: These cracks penetrate deeper into the deck's layers and can compromise the skateboard's structural integrity if not addressed promptly.

  3. Edge Chips: These occur along the edges of the deck, often resulting from impacts with curbs or other hard surfaces.

  4. Pressure Cracks: Found near the truck mounting holes, these cracks are caused by the stress exerted on the deck during tricks and jumps.

How to Identify Cracks vs. Chips

Identifying whether your skateboard has cracks or chips is the first step in determining the appropriate repair method. Here's how you can differentiate between them:

  1. Visual Inspection: Start by closely examining your skateboard under good lighting. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as lines running across the surface (indicating cracks) or missing pieces of wood along the edges (indicating chips).

  2. Tactile Inspection: Run your fingers along the surface and edges of the deck. Cracks will feel like splits or grooves, while chips will be more like indentations or missing sections.

  3. Sound Test: Tap different areas of the deck lightly with a small hammer or any solid object. A solid, undamaged skateboard will produce a consistent sound. If you hear a dull or hollow sound in certain spots, it could indicate internal cracks.

Tools Needed for Inspection

To conduct a thorough inspection of your skateboard, you'll need a few essential tools. These will help you identify even the smallest signs of damage:

  1. Flashlight: A bright flashlight can help you see cracks and chips clearly, especially in poor lighting conditions.

  2. Magnifying Glass: This is useful for spotting tiny cracks and chips that might not be visible to the naked eye.

  3. Small Hammer or Tapping Tool: Use this to perform the sound test, which can reveal internal cracks that are not immediately visible.

Step-by-Step Inspection Checklist

  1. Set Up in Good Lighting: Ensure you are in a well-lit area or use a flashlight to illuminate the skateboard.

  2. Visual Scan: Look over the entire deck, focusing on high-stress areas such as the edges, nose, tail, and truck mounting points.

  3. Tactile Check: Feel the surface and edges for any irregularities.

  4. Sound Test: Tap different sections of the deck and listen for any variations in sound.

  5. Magnified Examination: Use the magnifying glass to inspect suspected areas closely.

By following this detailed inspection process, you can accurately identify the type and extent of damage on your skateboard. This knowledge is essential for deciding the best course of action to fix the cracks and chips, ensuring your skateboard remains safe and functional for your next ride.

Repairing Surface Cracks

Repairing surface cracks in your skateboard is a crucial step to ensure it remains safe and performs well. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you fix those pesky cracks effectively.

Materials Needed for Repair

Before you start the repair process, gather the following materials:

  1. Epoxy Resin: A high-quality resin suitable for bonding and sealing cracks.

  2. Sandpaper: Various grits (80, 120, and 220) for smoothing the surface.

  3. Clamps: To hold the cracked area together while the epoxy cures.

  4. Cleaning Cloth: For wiping down the area before and after the repair.

  5. Rubbing Alcohol: To clean the cracked area thoroughly before applying the resin.

Step-by-Step Repair Process

Clean the Cracked Area: Begin by cleaning the cracked area with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. This removes any dirt, debris, and oils that could interfere with the bonding process.

Mix Epoxy Resin: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the epoxy resin. Make sure you mix it thoroughly to ensure it cures properly.

Apply the Resin: Use a small brush or applicator to carefully apply the mixed epoxy resin into the crack. Ensure that the resin penetrates fully into the crack. You may need to gently press the crack open to allow the resin to seep in deeply.

Clamp the Board: Once the resin is applied, use clamps to hold the cracked area tightly together. This helps to close the crack and allows the resin to bond the two sides securely. Make sure the clamps are positioned in a way that applies even pressure along the crack.

Let the Resin Cure: Allow the epoxy resin to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. This typically takes several hours, but for the best results, let it cure overnight.

Sand the Repaired Area: After the resin has fully cured, remove the clamps. Use sandpaper to smooth the repaired area. Start with a coarse grit (80) to remove any excess resin, then move to finer grits (120 and 220) to achieve a smooth finish that blends with the rest of the deck.

Tips for Ensuring a Strong Bond

Work in a Well-Ventilated Area: Epoxy resin can emit fumes that are harmful if inhaled. Ensure you're working in a well-ventilated space or wear a mask if necessary.

Use Quality Materials: Invest in high-quality epoxy resin and sandpaper. Cheaper materials might not bond as well or could wear down quickly.

Be Patient: Rushing the curing process can weaken the bond. Allow the resin to cure completely for a durable repair.

Apply Even Pressure: When clamping, make sure the pressure is even across the crack. Uneven pressure can cause the resin to bond improperly.

By following these steps and tips, you can effectively repair surface cracks in your skateboard, extending its lifespan and ensuring it remains safe to ride. Regular maintenance and timely repairs will keep your skateboard in top condition, ready for your next adventure.

Fixing Chips on the Edges

Chips on the edges of your skateboard can affect its performance and aesthetics. Addressing these chips promptly will help maintain your board's integrity and appearance. Here's how you can fix edge chips effectively.

Different Approaches for Different Chip Sizes

The size of the chip determines the repair approach:

Small Chips: These are minor dings that typically don't penetrate deeply into the deck. They can usually be fixed with wood filler.

Large Chips: These involve more substantial damage, often affecting the board's structure. Epoxy putty is better suited for these repairs due to its strength and durability.

Materials and Tools Required

Before starting the repair, gather the following materials:

Wood Filler: Suitable for small chips.

Epoxy Putty: Ideal for larger chips requiring a stronger bond.

Sandpaper: Various grits (80, 120, and 220) for shaping and smoothing.

Cleaning Cloth: For preparing the surface.

Rubbing Alcohol: To clean the area before applying the filler or putty.

Paint: For restoring the board's design after repair.

Detailed Repair Steps

Clean the Chipped Area: Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the chipped area. This removes dirt, grease, and debris, ensuring a good bond.

Apply the Filler or Putty:

For Small Chips: Apply wood filler to the chip using a small spatula or similar tool. Make sure to fill the chip completely and level the filler with the surface of the board. Let the wood filler dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For Large Chips: Mix the epoxy putty as per the instructions. Apply it to the chipped area, pressing firmly to ensure it adheres well.

Shape the putty to roughly match the board's original contour before it hardens. You can use a small sculpting tool or even your fingers (wearing gloves) to shape it.

Shape and Smooth the Repair: Once the filler or putty has dried (or cured, in the case of epoxy putty), use coarse sandpaper (80 grit) to start shaping the repair to match the original contour of the board.

Gradually move to finer grits (120 and then 220) to smooth the area, ensuring it blends seamlessly with the surrounding surface.

 Paint the Repaired Area: If you want to restore the appearance of your board, you can paint over the repaired area. Choose a paint that matches the original design or go for a creative touch. Apply the paint in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next for a smooth finish.

Preventive Maintenance and Final Tips

Maintaining your skateboard through regular checks and preventive measures can significantly extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Here are some strategies to keep your skateboard in top shape and tips on when to seek professional help.

Regular Maintenance Practices

Routine maintenance is essential for early detection and prevention of damage. Here's a recommended schedule:

Weekly Check-Up: Inspect your skateboard for any visible cracks, chips, or other signs of wear. Pay special attention to high-stress areas like the nose, tail, and around the trucks.

Monthly Deep Clean: Remove the trucks and wheels, and clean your deck thoroughly. Check for any hidden damage that might be obscured by dirt or grime.

Quarterly Tune-Up: Perform a more detailed inspection, including the bearings and hardware. Tighten any loose bolts and replace worn-out components.

Protective Gear for Skateboards

Using protective gear can help prevent damage to your skateboard:

Skateboard Guards: Apply guards to the nose and tail to protect against impact damage.

Rail Covers: These can prevent chips and cracks caused by grinding and sliding on rough surfaces.

Grip Tape Maintenance: Keep your grip tape clean and replace it when it becomes overly worn to ensure a solid connection between your feet and the board.

Proper Storage Tips

Proper storage can prevent unnecessary stress and damage to your skateboard:

Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Store your skateboard in a cool, dry place. Extreme heat can warp the deck, and moisture can lead to delamination.

Horizontal Storage: Store the skateboard horizontally on a flat surface to avoid warping. Using a skateboard rack or wall mount can be an excellent option to keep it safe and out of the way.

Avoid Pressure Points: Ensure nothing heavy is placed on top of the skateboard, as it can cause pressure cracks over time.

When to Seek Professional Help

While many repairs can be done at home, certain situations call for professional intervention:

Major Structural Damage: If your skateboard has significant cracks that affect its structural integrity, it’s best to consult a professional. They have the tools and expertise to make durable repairs.

Complex Repairs: For repairs involving intricate or multiple cracks and chips, a professional repair service can ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

Persistent Issues: If you find that your DIY repairs aren't holding up, seeking professional help can save you time and ensure a longer-lasting fix.

Skateboard Maintenance To Do List

Perform weekly and monthly checks to detect and address any damage early.

Use skateboard guards, rail covers, and maintain grip tape to prevent damage.

Store your skateboard in a cool, dry place, horizontally, and avoid placing heavy objects on it.

Fix surface cracks with epoxy resin and edge chips with wood filler or epoxy putty, following detailed steps.

Seek professional repairs for major structural damage or complex issues that DIY methods can't resolve.

Skateboard Maintenance FAQ's

How can I tell if my skateboard has cracks or just scratches?

Cracks typically have a visible opening or gap, while scratches are surface marks without penetration. You can also run your fingers over the area - if you can feel a groove, it's likely a crack.

Can I still ride my skateboard if it has minor cracks?

It's not recommended. Even minor cracks can compromise the board's structural integrity, increasing the risk of it breaking while in use.

Is it possible to fix a broken skateboard deck?

In some cases, yes. However, the effectiveness of the repair depends on the extent of the damage and the materials used. For major breaks, it's often better to replace the deck entirely.

Can I use regular glue to fix cracks in my skateboard?

Regular glue isn't recommended for skateboard repairs as it lacks the strength and durability needed to withstand the stresses of skating. Epoxy resin or specialized skateboard glue is a better choice.

What's the best way to prevent edge chips on my skateboard?

Using skateboard guards or rail covers can help protect the edges from damage during grinds and slides. Additionally, being mindful of where and how you skate can minimize the risk of chips.

The Supply Network Editorial Team

The Supply Network Editorial Team

A group of passionate skateboarders and seasoned wordsmiths dedicated to delivering the pulse of the skateboarding world straight to your screen. With a blend of expertise in tips, tricks, player profiles, event coverage, and more, our team brings you the latest skater trends, insider knowledge, and thrilling stories from the heart of the skateboarding community.