Let’s answer this straight away because their is only one answer:
The best time to replace a skateboard deck is when you can afford it. Skaters ride their decks until nothing is left, or snaps and is no longer functional. Others replace it sooner because they can.
A functional skateboard deck should have at least a bit of tail and nose left. When tricks take a lot of effort and the deck is hard to control, replace it. At this point, the pop is gone and the risk of injury increases. Some skateboard decks last longer than others depending on the quality and construction.
Sometimes there is no visible wear, or a board is waterlogged and your board feels soggy. At this point there is hardly any pop left and you could consider replacing it or just struggle along.
When not to replace your deck:
Don’t replace your deck when there are only a few chips present and your nose and tail are still in decent shape.
It doesn’t matter and is a waste of money. Minor pressure cracks that usually from near the trucks don’t matter but can be prevented using shock pads.
Keep in mind that if you just carve bowls a deck can last for years. The same goes for just cruising or doing basic stuff in a mini ramp.
If you’re a hardcore street skater, your deck won’t probably last more than 3 months.
How Long Does A Skateboard Deck Last?
Skateboard decks last between 1 hour and 1 year, it entirely depends on the quality of the deck, your style, and frequency of skateboarding. When you feel like tricks are getting harder and the pop is gone, get a new one.
Sometimes you accidentally land in the middle of your deck with both feet and the deck snaps. Landing tricks on the bolts will increase a decks lifespan.
Typically pressure cracks and chips aren’t a sign you need a new deck. In the end it comes down to how often you skate and your style.
The more often you skate, the sooner you have to get a new deck. Once the deck starts to wear and you have no tail left to pop tricks, it’s time to replace your skateboard deck.
Getting the Max Lifespan out of your Skateboard
There are a couple of ways to make your skateboard deck last longer, but some are out of your control.
- Avoid Water Damage: Never skateboard in the rain or on wet surfaces. Not only does this reduce traction resulting in a nasty slam, but the moisture can also seep into the wood of the deck, weakening its structure (delamination). Also try to avoid stepping on your deck with wet shoes.
- Steer Clear of Dusty Areas: Dust and grit can act like sandpaper on your deck, grinding away its surface over time. Moreover, particles can get lodged in your bearings, affecting their performance.
- Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Extreme temperatures can warp and weaken a skateboard deck. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight for prolonged periods, or in a closed vehicle on a hot day.
- Manage Deck Imperfections: Over time, your skateboard might develop chips, especially on the tail or nose. Instead of letting them worsen, try to push back any chips that stick out. This doesn’t always work but you can at least try.
- Land near the bolts: It’s a skill that comes with practice and beginner will probably have more difficulties landing properly, but try to land your tricks near the bolts. This distributes the impact across a stronger part of the board. Try to keep your weight evenly distributed when landing, like not forcing all the impact on the tail for example.
- Think about the surface you skate: Probably unavoidable but gritty asphalt is harder on your deck than smooth concrete.
Typical Wear On a Skateboard Deck
There are very common signs of wear on your deck that don’t always require you to replace your deck. Here are the most common types of wear:
- Chipped nose or tail from impacts.
- Pressure cracks near the baseplate (trucks).
- Delamination: the maple plies separate.
- Razor tail.
- A tear in one of the maple plies.
Chipped Nose Or Tail
A chipped deck is very common, this can even happen on day one if you’re a bit unlucky. Y
ou know when you have a brand new deck and the grip tape cut still look clean and the side of the deck are smooth without any dents.
Then BOOM, your deck hits a curb full speed and you have a nasty chip sticking out like a sore thumb.
Sometimes you’re able to put it back in, I’ve tried to glue chips as well, but usually it only works for a little while.
This type of wear kicks in gradually from ollying, and (repeated ground-impact) and happens even more often when you use your tail as a brake which you should avoid. Razor tail can also cause injury, just ask any skateboarder.
Razor tail turns the tail into a blunt blade and can cause some nasty wound on your shins and ankles. It also increases the chance of chipping your tail because the sharp edge becomes weaker and parts will break off eventually.
Fixing razor tail by sanding of the sharp edges is possible but you’ll lose pop and run the risk of damaging it even further. My advise would be to leave it alone and start saving for a new deck.
Pressure cracks are pretty normal around the baseplate of your trucks. Pressure cracks usually only form on the top and bottom layer of your deck.
More severe cracks do increase the chance of snapping your deck near the bolts when putting too much weight on it when landing high impact trick.
Skateboard decks are typically made of multiple layers or plies of hard rock maple, which are glued and pressed together to form a solid board.
Over time, or due to impacts, moisture, or manufacturing defects, these layers can begin to separate from one another because the glue disintegrates.
What happens is that the skateboard deck loses its strength, stiffness, and pop. It also makes it very likely to snap your deck.
Fortunately this doesn’t happen very often. it occurs more frequently on birch decks or cheap skateboards. A deck from a reputable brand shouldn’t delaminate, and if it does you can ask for a new one as is part of the warranty.
Snapped Ply or Plies
This sometimes happens when you misplace your front or back foot when landing a trick, or you displace your weight on a disaster or boardslide.
It usually happens when you don’t land on or near the bolts causing on of the layers in your deck to crack.
It sucks because this means the deck becomes very flexible and you usually completely snap the deck in half in your next trick.
Skateboard Decks That Last Longer
There are skateboard decks that last longer, some are even immune to chips and razor tail.
In our experience Santa Cruz VX and Powell-Peralta deck to last longer than you’re average hard rock maple deck.
The downside is that they are less poppy and the fiberglass can cause skin irritation once the wear starts to kick in.
At some point these type of skateboard decks also get cracks in the maple plies. So in theory you can still skate those decks but the pop is just gone.
This leaves you with a deck that doesn’t seem damaged, but just doesn’t respond well anymore.
This is less of a problem with the Lithe Nex or the Sate 3 because the nose and tail are covered by plastic, but the Nex is also heavier compared to a regular maple deck. An 8.0 Lithe Nex deck weighs about 7 ounces more than an 8.0 maple deck.
Regardless of the type of skateboarding you do, your board takes a beating. This may be from landing a disaster slide on copings, grinding your trucks on rails, or even just normal wear from cruising the streets.
A deck’s longevity ranges widely, depending on the frequency, style, and environment. However, when the board loses its pop, and or your tail is gone, it might be time to look for a new deck.
Typical signs like chipped noses, pressure cracks near the trucks, and dents on the side are to be expected. Not even a razor tail requires a new deck, but can be inconvenient.
In the search for durability, brands like Lithe, Powell-Peralta (check our fligh Deck review) and Santa Cruz have stepped up which might be worth considering if you often snap your deck. Still, a quality skateboard deck made from a hard rock maple gets you the most pop.