We've been doing this for a long time. Here's our guide on how to properly wax your skis or snowboard for the fastest base possible! There's also a video on how to wax your snowboard with two of our team riders included if you don't like reading!
HOW TO WAX A SNOWBOARD (Updated 2019)
Here’s the 10 Steps you need to do, we will cover all of these in great detail below:
1) Remove Your Bindings
2) Edge Sharpening & Base Repairs Needed*
3) Clean The Base
4) Understanding Your Base
5) Choose Your Wax
6) Apply Your Wax
7) Scrape Your Base
8) Buff Your Base
9) Replace Your Bindings
10) Break Your Personal Land Speed Record
*Base repairs and edge tuning will be covered in a different blog posting.
Here’s our in depth list of how to properly wax a snowboard. We’ve been doing this for a long time and have picked up a lot of different techniques over the years. This blog posting is very in depth and will include all our little tricks and tips. We’ll also cover some things you should avoid to keep your board in it’s best condition.
If you have other tips, tricks and waxing secrets, please share them below! Also if you have any questions you’re specifically looking or, drop us a comment below and we will answer them!
How Often Do You Need To Wax Your Board?
How often you need to wax your board depends on a bunch of factors. Different bases need different amounts of upkeep (see step 4). But the best way to tell if you need wax is you’ll notice it slowing down and feeling sticky on the hill. You can also look for dry spots of your base, where the base is whiter looking than usual.
Before you get started, here’s a checklist of things you’ll need to wax your board:
Anything with a star beside it is a must, everything else is just recommended.
2. Base Cleaner
4. Paper Towel or Rag
5. Screw Driver
7. Horse Hair or Nylon Brush
8. Waxing Vises or stable table spot
Step 1- Remove your bindings: Remove or loosen your binding hardware. This is so important to avoid damaging your board, yet so many waxing videos skip this step. If you don’t loosen your bindings, the tension mixed with the temperature change can cause warping and dimples to your base. Use a screwdriver to remove your bindings from the board. You can write down your stance on a piece of paper so you can put them back the same way. This is the better way of doing it if you’re planning on doing lots of tuning and base repair. You can also loosen the bindings and leave them on the board as long as there is no tension on the screws that will pull on the base.
Step 2- Base Work & Edges: This is where you want to do any base repair needed and edge work. Any P-Tex or Epoxy work should be done before you start any waxing stuff. This is where you can also do any edge work that needs to be done. It’s important to do this before you clean the base, so that the base is perfectly clean when you apply wax. We will be doing some videos on this in the future, but for now Burton Snowboards has a pretty good video on edge tuning.
Step 3- Clean the Base: This is super important because it cleans all dirt and excess wax out of the pores on the board and lets you have a really high quality wax job. There are two ways of cleaning a snowboard base. The first one is if you have base cleaning solution, if you don't have base cleaner then use method 2.
Method 1) - Base Cleaner: Put some base cleaner on a rag or paper towel and apply a generous amount on your board, then wipe it around and focus on any areas that look dirty. Also you might notice some areas with excess wax when you’re doing this, if you notice excess wax take a scraper and scrape it off then apply a little extra base cleaner. When you’re done, wipe it down with a dry rag or paper towel and let your base sit until it is fully dry before continuing. If you start waxing it with wet base cleaner still on, the base cleaner is going to remove or weaken any wax you put over-top of it.
Method 2) Hot Scrape: If you don't own base cleaner or if you're in a rush and don't have time to wait for base cleaner to settle, use this method. This method works well, it just uses more wax. Drip wax all over a section of your base, then iron it into you base, so it soaks into the pores of the board. Before the wax has a chance to fully harden, scrape the warm wax off your base, do this over your entire board. This will also pull all the dirt from the base of your board. Discard this dirty wax and proceed to the next step!
Step 4- Understanding Your Base: There are two kinds of snowboard bases. Extruded and Sintered. You need to know what kind of base your board is to understand how often you need to wax and how much of a difference a wax job will make.
Extruded: Extruded is the cheaper of the two bases. This is found in most entry level boards. It is a much harder materials and doesn’t absorb wax as well. The positives with this base are that it takes a lot less attention and can take a beating. It won’t be a fast and won’t react as much to a fresh wax job.
Sintered: Sintered bases are the higher end of the two bases. Sintered is much softer and more porous so it absorbs a lot of wax and needs to be waxed regularly. You will notice a bigger difference between different wax types with this kind of base. These bases are super fast but are also softer and less durable than an extruded, so they need a little more tender love and care.
It’s hard to tell what kind of base you have by looking at it, the best way to find out is to Google the brand and model of your board and check its stats.
Step 5- Understanding The Wax: This is where you choose the wax you want. There’s a bunch of different wax options on the market. We broke down a few here.
Hyrdocarbon Wax: This is your standard snowboard wax that most shop wax and standard waxes are made of. These waxes are infused with different Hydrocarbons usually synthetic wax, microcrystalline and paraffin Hydrocarbons. The three different Hydrocarbons all have different benefits to them. But usually companies don’t tell you what kinds they are.
Paraffin (most common): Low friction soft wax, usually a consistency similar to candle wax.
Microcrystalline: These are a more durable Hydrocarbon to Paraffin and will last slightly longer.
Synthetic: This is another method of making a stronger wax.
Hydro carbon is the cheaper wax on the market and does a great job, this is the most common wax and very versatile.
Flurocarbons Wax: This is a higher end form of Hydrocarbon wax and come with a higher price tag. The hydrogen atoms get replaced with fluorine atoms. This repels more water and makes the wax faster than standard Hydrocarbon wax. Flurocarbon waxes are top performers in wet and slushy conditions. This is the wax most racers will use. Flurocarbon waxes have also come under criticism lately because they are bad for the environment and can end up polluting the water streams in areas near ski hills. Flurocarbons are also very bad for you to repeatedly breath in. So be very carefull when waxing with Fluro waxes and make sure you wear a facemask and have a well ventilated area.
Eco Friendly: Lots of brands are making a Eco friendly wax now that is soy or coconut based and the ones we’ve tested have actually worked really well.
Last Minute Waxes: This article is about hot waxing so we’re not going to go into detail on last minute waxes. But there are a bunch of last minute waxes that don’t need to be ironed into the base. These waxes don’t work as well as a hot wax and only usually last for around a day of riding. These waxes are great things to have in the glove box of your car incase you get to the hill and realize your base is super slow. We carry a spray on one from Beaver Wax and a buff in paste from Burton, I’ve found both work really well in a pinch, but don’t last very long. It’s always good to throw one in your glove box for emergencies.
Most waxes nowadays are just some kind of “All Temp” wax, but there are still brands that make Warm or Cold temp specific waxes.
When choosing a wax choose it based off of the coldest temperature of the day because the wax, when it doubt go colder because the waxes will perform better if you go slightly too cold rather than too warm. With most new snow you can use a colder wax as well. We still wax all our boards with Shredz All Temp Wax which is made in Canada by Beaver Wax , PFC (Fluro) free and works really well, we’ve had lots of great feedback from this stuff and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Step 6- Applying The Wax: Now it’s time to put the wax on your base. Grab the wax you’ve chosen and your iron. Preheat the iron for a few minutes until it reaches approximately 100C /215F. If the iron is too hot it will burn off some of the key ingredients in your wax and it can damage your base. If your iron doesn’t have a temperature gauge you’re going to want it to be hot enough to melt the wax without severely smoking. Do this in a well vented room and remember wear a mask if you’re using Flurocarbon waxes.
Drip the wax in a generous amount across the base of your board leaving drips every couple inches. This varies based on how dry your base is. Pay specific attention to the base near the edges because it sees more use and will dry out first. After you drip wax over the base, use your iron to spread the wax around evenly, this will also open the pores on your board to absorb wax (sintered bases). After spreading the wax around do a double check for any places you missed or that absorbed all the wax and still look dry. Sometimes you’ll have to add a little more to spots that soaked up a ton of wax. After everywhere is looking good, let the board sit for as long as possible so the wax can take.
Let the base sit and fully cool and harden before scraping. Lots of people say to leave it for as long as possible and many places say around 3 hours. Generally the longer the wax can sit the better. Sometimes if I’m in a rush, Ill take the board outside into the cold to cool it down. The harder the wax can set before you scrape it, the faster it will be!
Step 7 – Scrape The Base: Take a base scraper and start by doing the edges of your board with the little edged out piece (see below). Then scrape the base with the edge scraper. The key here is to scrape off any excess wax on top of the base but not scrape the wax out of the base. Someone used the analogy of moisturizer on your skin, you want you skin to absorb as much moisturizer as possible and leave your skin moist but you don’t want any excess moisturizer on your skin. Same deal with your base, melted into the base but no excess on top because this will slow you down.
Step 8- Buff Your Base: Now you can buff the base. This is just polishing and smoothing out the base to make it as fast as possible. If you have a Nylon or Horse hair brush that’s best, but if not you can use paper towel or brush pads (used for cleaning dishes). You want to brush the base in lines from tip to tail, this will allow beads of water to stream down the base when you are riding and make your base the fastest possible.
Step 9 – Replace Your Bindings: Put your bindings back on or tighten your bindings. This is a good time to check that everything on your bindings is working correctly.
Step 10 – Go Get It: The next step is to go out and break Your Personal Land Speed Record.
We’d love to hear from you guys! We’re always working on new tips and tricks for making your bases faster! We’d love if you posted your comments below and give us your tips and tricks for a fast base.
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