As is the case with most things the answer to the question “how often should I wax my snowboard” is that it depends.
It will depend on a number of things including:
- The construction method for the base of your snowboard;
- How often your board is in use;
- The conditions you usually ride in; and
- How fast you want your snowboard to be
The base of your board
There are two main types of snowboard bases used in the market today:
- Sintered bases
- Extruded bases
Again which of those you go with will depend on a few things. Check out the link below to see which base is best for you.
Waxing Sintered & Extruded Bases
Sintered bases require more waxing. The way they are made means that the material is more porous (lot’s of tiny holes in it). This means a couple of things:
- That it will absorb more wax
- That extra wax that it absorbs means a properly waxed sintered base will ride much faster than an extruded base
But if you neglect waxing a sintered base it will be slower than an unwaxed extruded base.
- A waxed sintered base is faster than a waxed extruded base
- And unwaxed sintered base is slower than an unwaxed extruded base
So, in order to maintain the benefits of having a sintered base it needs waxing more often. How often that is will depend on some other factors as outlined below.
How often your board is in use
Naturally if your board is used more often then you will need to wax more often – if it used less often it will need waxing less often. You lose wax as you ride so this is logical.
The Conditions you usually Ride in
It’s also true that you will need to wax more often if you ride in, or have been riding in, hard or icy conditions.
Your waxing job will last a lot longer if you have only been surfing on nice soft pow!
The wax also acts a layer of protection for the base of the board – so if you are riding in hard or icy conditions or there is a low snow level, and you have the potential to hit exposed rocks, roots etc, then you will want to wax more often to maintain a protective layer.
The temperature will also play a part in how quickly you lose wax. On hotter days the wax will wear down quicker.
How Fast You Want your Snowboard to be
It’s not necessarily a given that you want your snowboard to be super fast.
Yeah it’s frustrating if you get stuck on the flats – but if you are a beginner, or a freestyle rider who may want to approach jumps, jibs etc a little slower you may not want to accelerate at hundred miles an hour!
If you do have that need for speed then wax more often but if you prefer a slightly slower board for whatever reason then you could hold back on the waxing.
Ideally those not wanting too much speed would have an extruded base but you may already have a sintered base (fortunately most beginner and freestyle boards do have extruded bases).
How you can tell if your Snowboard needs Waxing
Check out this video for a quick overview of how you can tell if your board needs waxing. Another way to check is to if you run your fingernail over the board and it does not collect wax then you may need to wax.
So How Often Should You Wax Your Board?
Some people wax after every time they ride – but that’s a bit over kill in my opinion and most people won’t need to do that.
At the other extreme some people never wax their board – or never wax particular boards.
For maximum performance on a sintered base you probably want to wax every 2-3 full days of riding. But if you don’t want to have to wax that often you don’t have to – you just may not get maximum speed and performance out of your board every time you ride.
If you can make that sacrifice you can wax less often. But you still probably want to wax at least every 6-10 days of riding depending on the factors above (conditions you ride in, how fast you want it).
You have a little bit more leeway with extruded bases. Why? Because the difference between an un-waxed extruded base and a waxed extruded base isn’t as pronounced as the difference between a waxed and un-waxed sintered base.
So you’re not going to notice the difference as much after you wax your extruded base. So you can get away with doing it less often.
If you want to get the most out of your extruded base then again every 2-3 days of riding will maximize performance.
You just won’t notice the difference as much if you neglect your waxing duties – so every 10 days of riding is probably fine.
Thanks for Reading
Thanks for checking out this page and I hope it has helped you to decide how often you will wax. Remember that it depends on your own personal circumstances.
If you have any comments, opinions or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
>>Click here for more on Extruded and Sintered bases
Photo by Lance Fisher [CC BY 2.0], via Flikr
hi, Nate, i want to understand if i need an iron for my snowboard with an extruded base, or can i do without it? Some teach that an iron is even harmful for my snowboard, and can damage the base… I’m a beginner from Russia, sorry if the translation is wrong.
If you are wanting to do hot-waxes and want to do it yourself, you will need an iron. Some people just use a regular Iron, but I recommend getting an iron that’s made for waxing. It’s easier to regular the temperature, it’s completely flat. Easier to work with and easier to get the temperature right. With a regular iron there’s a lot more room for error, IMO. But if you have an extruded base, you don’t need to wax that often, but I still like to wax an extruded base every now and then. Depending on how much you ride, you might only need to do a hot wax once a year. If you ride quite a lot, then you might have to do it more often. But if you only have to do it once a year (in a addition to a storage wax), it usually makes more sense to take it in to someone to do, rather than investing in all the stuff to do it yourself. With a sintered base, definitely makes more sense, financially, to do it yourself.
In terms of damaging the base, if you do it right, at the right temperature and follow all the guidelines correctly, then you shouldn’t damage anything. But if your iron’s too hot – or if you leave it one spot for too long, or something like that, then you could damage the base.
Hope this helps
Thanks for this post. I have been riding my board now for almost a month with the factor wax. How much damage do you think the board gets? I plan on getting it waxed this week. Didn’t know I had to get it waxed
I experimented with a board and didn’t wax it for a whole season and I didn’t notice much in the way of damage to the base. I think wax can act to protect the base to some extent but that’s not the only reason to get a regular wax. What I found mostly with not waxing is that the board becomes very slow and starts to be come “grippy” on the snow. You don’t get good glide on flat spots, cat tracks etc and it can be very frustrating.
If you have a sintered base, then you should be waxing more often. If you have an extruded base you can get away with waxing less.
Also, it’s not really time that determines how often you should wax. It’s how much you’ve ridden the board between waxings. So, if you have a sintered base I would say every 3 full days of riding to be optimal. I would say a full day would be 7 hours-ish on the mountain including breaks. So, if you tend to only go a couple of hours when you’re there, then you could wax every 9 days or so, roughly. For an extruded base, you don’t notice it as much if you wax it or don’t wax it – so maybe every 5 to 10 full days of riding.
Hope this helps
Does it make a difference if u leave ur Bindings on while waxing?
I’ve heard some people say that they can feel the bumps from the inserts when the bindings are left screwed in when they’re waxing – but I’ve never noticed this before. Either way I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say to take your bindings off before you wax – so no reason to do so if you don’t have to. Some people wax after every second day of riding and some of those same people ride 100+ days per year – I doubt they unscrew their bindings every time. I certainly don’t.
Hope this answers your question.
I have some questions about new boards. If you allow me I’ll ask about the edges as well.
Do new boards come waxed from factory (so that they are shred-ready)? Is de-tuning needed? (for newbie that barely links turns but wants to butter/jump/jib as soon as feasible).
What if a brand new board will be used for the first time after 12~18 months? Is there a need to re-wax it? What about the edges? Re-tune? De-tune? (same parenthesis applies here too).
Sorry for the many questions!
Hey – these are some great questions – I’m more than happy to answer them as best as possible.
In terms of waxing your board will most likely come with a factory wax. A couple of things to consider is how good a wax job that is (often it’s just a rub on wax) and how long it’s been sitting in store (it may have dried out somewhat). You mention the new board being used 12-18 months after purchase. In this case you might want to check the base to see if it needs waxing.
In general a factory wax won’t last as long as a good hot wax so if you’re planning on a long trip it would pay to get a good wax beforehand or during the trip at some point. Either way it’s probably good to get a wax after a couple of times on the mountain and it doesn’t hurt to get a fresh wax before you use it. If you’re taking it into a shop usually they’ll advise you whether you need it or not.
In terms of detuning this will depend on the snowboard. Some boards come de-tuned and others could do with a detune. Usually for a new board I would ride it first up as is and then make a call on whether or not it needs detuning. Detuning is usually only done for freestyle boards – which it sounds like is the style of riding you are wanting to do. SO at some point (again depending on the board) you might want a detune.
Again if you are taking your board to a shop they should be able to tell you whether or not you should get a detune and should be able to do it for you. Even if you plan on doing it yourself at some point I would take it to a shop the first time. Just me though.
Hope this helps – thanks for visiting!