Traction pads go through an extreme amount of abuse. Over time, the elements eventually take their toll and the pads peel. Let’s find out how to correctly attach a traction pad, and which glue works best.
Why traction pads are difficult to glue
If you had to come up with the most challenging possible environment for an adhesive, you might come up with an environment with constant UV exposure, constant crashing waves, and constant pressure being applied by ugly surfers.
Traction pads (also known as deck grips) go through a hell of a beating, and if you use an incorrect adhesive, the elements will get the better of you and your traction pad will peel.
To overcome this problem, use a strong and durable contact adhesive and prepare the board and your tail pad properly before bonding.
I recommend Barge Contact Cement, it’s extremely strong, waterproof, and it won’t be degraded by UV rays. It can be used safely on both EPS and PU boards.
In a rush?
No time to read? The best adhesive for a rubber traction pad is Barge Contact Cement. It works very well on Rubber, Vinyl, Plastic, and Fiberglass. It’s waterproof and UV resistant and is perfect for deck grips, tail pads and traction pads.
The Best Glue for Traction Pads
The best glue for Surfboard traction pads, tail pads, and deck grips is Barge Contact Adhesive.
If it’s not available in your country, any strong contact adhesive will work equally as well, however Barge has a cult-like following in the surfer community.
If you hear surfers talking about Barge, this is what they are talking about.
Why it’s so great:
- It’s not too expensive
- Pads peel all the time, you will be a hero if you have some Barge on hand to help
- It’s extremely strong
- It bonds in only a few minutes
- It’s one of the few adhesives that forms a strong bond with rubber
- It’s UV resistant
- It’s completely waterproof (even salt water!)
How to attach a traction pad properly
You’ll get the best results if you replace/attach your new traction pads at home, where you can take the time to attach it properly to ensure a strong and lasting bond.
If you need to do an on-the-road repair, try to follow the instructions as best as possible with what you have available.
The most important thing is to get the board as clean as possible beforehand, and to ensure you leave the contact adhesive long enough to become tacky before you attach them. It only takes about 10 minutes, it’s worth waiting because if you attach them too soon it will make the finished bond weak.
How to install traction pads (instructions):
Prepare the surface
- Remove any dust, dirt or grime from the board using isopropyl alchohol or acetone.
- Ensure you remove any glue residue from any previous traction pads.
- Keep in mind this will remove any wax from your deck which may need to be reapplied afterwards.
- Once the area is clean, roughen the area under the pad with some 400-600 grit sandpaper. This step is optional, but will help the contact cement form a stronger bond to the board.
- You may want to trace round the traction pad with a pencil on to your board beforehand, so that you have an accurate outline of the area of the traction pad.
Apply the adhesive:
- Apply a thin layer of Barge Contact Cement to the board AND to the backside of your traction pad. (Important!)
- Make sure you cover right up to the edge of the area as any gaps will lead to the pad peeling eventually.
- Leave the board and the traction pad alone (not touching each other) to give the adhesive a chance to dry out a bit.
- After 5-10 minutes (depending on your climate) the glue will become tacky to the touch.
- You’ll know it’s ready when you can touch the adhesive with your finger and none of it comes off when you remove your finger.
- At this point, it’s ready to be attached. Attach the traction pad to the board, applying heavy pressure to the surface to ensure there are no air bubbles and you get a full contact between the two adhesive surfaces.
- You may want to take an extra five or 10 minutes to get rid of any trapped air bubbles. Work from the middle out to the edges, applying strong pressure.
- Reapply any surfwax that was removed while you were cleaning the board.
- It will be very strong in only an hour or two, however the manufacturer does say it won’t be fully cured until 24 hours have passed.
How to fix a peeling traction pad
If your deck grips are peeling off, they are most likely not attached properly in the first place, so it would be much better to remove them completely if you can, then you can replace them properly for a more durable repair.
If it’s not possible to remove, don’t worry – you can repair a peeling pad with Barge Contact Adhesive, even if the pad is still partially attached.
Peel the pad back as much as possible, to maximize the surface area of the new bond, then follow the instructions above on how to install a traction pad.
The only difference is that you will need to hold the pad away from the board while the contact adhesive dries out. Don’t just let the pad rest on the board while the adhesive is still wet, or the bond will be weak and you’ll just end up having to replace it again.
How to remove an old traction pad:
- If your adhesive is old and degrading, you should be able to peel it off with enough force
- Use a hairdryer to heat up the old adhesive, thereby weakening it (This may not work depending on the adhesive you used)
- For any stubborn adhesives, use Acetone to dissolve the old glue.
- Bear in mind using a solvent like acetone will also remove your speedcoat and surfwax, which will need to be reapplied afterwards.
To sum up, the best solution for surfers is definitely to use a contact adhesive. Among the contact adhesives available, Barge Contact Cement has built up a loyal following in the surfing community, however any one will work just as well. (Just be sure to check the instructions before using)
Keep some Barge in your trunk when you’re out for on-the-road repairs.
Hope this helped, thanks for reading dudes