7 Easy Steps to Wax Your Snowboard at HomePublished on 06/30/2023 · 8 min readCheck out our guide on how to wax a snowboard! We tell you when you should wax your snowboard, how to wax your board at home, and list all the tools needed!
Photo by Dmytro Vietrov
Have your buddies ever left you the dust when riding across a flat traverse section? This is a sign that your board needs a good waxing! Snowboard waxing is an easy way to extend the life of your board while increasing its performance. The best part is that you can wax your board at home!
When should you wax your snowboard?
If you notice that your riding is slower than usual, you are getting stuck in flat spots or traverses, or your board edges “stick” into the snow when you are carving slowly, you need to give your board a nice hot wax. Many brand-new snowboards come with a factory tune out of the box. The factory wax is a basic all-temp wax and will wear off after the first day.
How often should you wax your snowboard?
Generally, you should wax your snowboard after every three or four days of riding. This will help preserve the snowboard base and keep you riding fast! With a smoother base, you’ll glide across flat sections easier and will gain more control when carving since there is less resistance between your board’s base and the snow. If you don’t wax your snowboard often, the base will deteriorate more quickly. If you are a frequent waxer, you should be using wax best suited for different temperatures. This will ensure the board's best performance for any day on the slopes.
Waxing your snowboard at home
We’ll be focusing on waxing your snowboard at home because it’s cheaper than bringing it to a shop and will bring you that much closer to your precious shred stick. First, you’ll need to prepare your workspace.
Preparing your workspace
The most important part of your home waxing setup is a flat surface, roughly half the length of your board, for it to lay flat on. Since most of us don’t have access to a workshop at home, you can use pretty much anything that is sturdy and level. You’ll need to apply pressure to your board to scrape the wax off, so a sturdy surface is key. Some options include two sawhorses spaced evenly apart or two bar stools next to each other. It’s a good idea to cover your waxing surface with newspaper or trash bags in case wax drips off the board, especially if you're using a surface you use at home. The drop cloth will also help with clean up, as it'll catch old wax and debris from scraping off the cold wax.
Tools needed to wax your snowboard
Next, you need to make sure you have all the necessary tools. You can buy waxing kits that have all of these items, which can be a cheaper route if you don’t already have some of the essentials. You will need:
- A waxing iron
- A plastic wax scraper
- An edge sharpener
- Citrus-based base cleaner and rag
- A screwdriver
- Waxing brushes/buffer pads (nylon brush & horsehair brushes)
- A vacuum (this is not necessary but very handy for cleaning up pesky wax flakes)
- Base repair kit/P-Tex stick
One of the biggest questions about waxing your own board at home is if you can use a regular clothes iron to get the job done. Yes, you can! However, the iron can’t have steam holes, as the wax gets stuck in these, which makes it difficult to distribute the wax. Also, you won’t be able to use the iron on your clothes after you use it for waxing. Thrift stores are a great place to find a cheap iron in a pinch. Using a waxing-specific iron is still the best and most efficient option, as their temperature ranges are more consistent than a clothes iron.
There are many different wax options, but really three basic types of snowboard wax: all-temperature, temperature-specific, like cold wax and warm wax, and high fluorocarbon. Other more advanced wax includes race wax or hydrocarbon wax. If you are a weekend warrior or someone who rides various mountains with differing temperatures, all-temperature wax is your friend. For people who spend their time shredding very cold temperatures often, a cold-weather wax formula would be ideal. Warm weather wax is great for spring riding. High fluorocarbon wax is like regular snowboard wax on steroids. This is the fastest (and most expensive) type of wax and is usually used for hardcore racers.
Time to start waxing!
Now that you have a nice workspace and all your materials ready, it’s time to wax your board. This can be broken down into 7 easy steps and should take no longer than 2 hours. As you wax your board more often, you will be able to do this within an hour, depending on how long you wait for your wax to cool.
Step 1: Prep your board
It’s important to wax your snowboard at room temperature for maximum wax absorption. Having the board at room temperature allows for the pores on the base to expand with heat from the iron and ensures the wax is penetrating the material. Also, you should remove your bindings prior to waxing. This is vital because your binding screws create tension on your base when they’re mounted. This increases the likelihood of warping and dimples forming when heat from the iron is applied.
Pro tip: Make a note of your stance before you take your bindings off.
Next, you need to clean your base. You can use any citrus-based cleaning agent as a base cleaner, or you can purchase a snowboard-specific base cleaner. Spray the cleaner and wipe off all visible dirt with a rag. Try not to use dish liquid, like Dawn, which will strip the wax away from the base of the board and will be counterproductive for waxing.
Once the base is clean, you can tune your edges with an edge tuner/sharpener. Your edge tuner should have directions on how to use it, so we won’t dive into that here.
Step 2: Heat your iron
The temperature range for your iron will usually be on your wax package. If it’s not, try and get the heat to where the wax melts easily. If you put the wax against the iron and it smokes, the temperature is too high. If you are using a clothes iron, this setting is a little harder to dial in. It’s usually around the wool range, but it’s best to test this out first before dripping the wax on your board.
Step 3: Drip the wax on your board
Holding the iron at an angle, press the wax block to it until the wax starts to drip. Hold the iron/wax no more than 4-6 inches away from the surface to ensure the wax drips on the board. Cover the whole surface, including the tips, in wax droplets. There is no right or wrong way to do this as long as your board’s base is covered.
Step 4: Spread the wax
This step can be intimidating, especially for first-timers. These two tips will help make your first time a breeze: your iron should be in constant motion to avoid burning your base, and you can always add more wax if you notice a dry spot. Continuous strokes are the best way to distribute the wax. Place your iron on the board base and spread the wax out from tip to tail, covering the entire base and moving slowly to create a thin layer of wax. When you are satisfied with your ironing job, wait for at least a half-hour for the new wax to cool.
Step 5: Scrape the excess wax off
Scraping the wax off your board and watching the white flakes come off is oddly satisfying. There is a specific technique to make sure you are getting the maximum amount of wax off. Hold your scraper at a 45-degree angle and scrape moving in one direction from the nose to tail. Just think, you should scrape in the direction you ride. When running the scraper down your base, you should be applying constant pressure, so the wax scrapes off evenly. Keep scraping until you can’t see any more wax coming off. Not scraping enough is one of the biggest mistakes first-timers make. Don’t forget to scrape the edges of your board with the edge scraper. Hold the scraper upright so the indent lines up to the edge, and apply the same technique to rub all the wax off.
Step 6: Brush, buff, and polish
If you have multiple wax brushes start from stiffest to softest, moving down the board from the nose in short strokes, similar to how you scraped the wax off. Once you finish brushing, you can buff and polish your board with a scotch pad and finish it off via a nice wipe-down with a wet rag. Moving your buffer pad in a small circular motion will really bring the shine out!
Step 7: Clean up!
Nobody likes a dirty workspace. Since most people don’t have a dedicated workshop for waxing, your indoor workspace will be littered with wax shavings if you don’t clean up right after you finish! A vacuum is a lifesaver when it comes to this.
That’s a wrap! Waxing your board is the best way to make sure it is tuned the way YOU want it without even having to leave the comfort of your own home! The first few times will take a little longer, but as you keep at it, you will get faster and more efficient with your technique. If you have any questions, reach out to a Snowboarding Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations. Now get out and enjoy that fresh coat of wax!