Is Your Snowboard Rusting? Here’s What to Do


The first significant snowfall of the season might have you itching to get on your snowboard and hit the slopes. But after it’s been in storage since last spring, you might have noticed some rust spots on it. What should you do?

If your snowboard is rusting, remove its bindings, clean any dirt build-up, use an anti-corrosion spray, and coat it with wax. You can prevent further rusting by storing your surfboard in a dry place, waxing it often, and avoiding abrasive cleaners. Also, you should keep it away from salt.

Snowboards are made of various materials, with different properties that make them better for specific conditions. A snowboard’s life depends on the type of material it is made from, how much exposure to water there was during its use, and what you store it in after use. Read on for in-depth advice on what to do if your snowboard starts to get rusty.

What Do You Do if Your Snowboard Is Rusting?

If your snowboard is rusting, apply a layer of wax or paint over rusty spots to prevent further corrosion. Alternatively, you can sand down the rust and paint over that, although this method is less effective.

Follow these steps when cleaning a rusty snowboard:

1. Detach the Snowboard Bindings

Remove the snowboard from its bindings and lay it down on a flat surface.

Ensure you detach any straps and remove all hardware on your snowboard, including the bolts, especially if they’re concealing some of the rusted parts. This will make the board easier to clean.

This is also the ideal time to inspect for damage.

2. Wash the Board with Water or Mild Detergent

Apply some dish soap to a sponge or rag and scrub the board’s surface with circular motions, which removes any dirt or build-up from the board. I recommend that you do not use anything too abrasive since it could scratch the surface when washing down the board.

Once you’ve washed off all of the visible grime, use a soft cloth—a microfiber cloth works well because it won’t scratch your snowboard’s surface—to clean off anything that you might have missed in this step.

Rinse off any remaining soap residue with water.

3. Spray the Board with Anti-Rust Spray

Purchase a spray that is designed to protect your snowboard from rusting. I suggest you find one that will give the surface of your board an extra coat that is impervious to water and moisture. 

Make sure that you don’t use too much spray.

In this case, I recommend this Evapo-Rust Super Safe Rust Remover from Amazon.com. It’s non-toxic, safe on skin and eyes, and prevents re-rusting for up to one year. Besides, this rust remover does not require special gear like gloves, masks, or protective eyewear to use, making it a bargain if you want a cheaper solution.

Once all rust has been removed (and your board looks nice and shiny), install some new bolts or fixings if there are any loose ones left on your snowboard with a screwdriver.

4. Apply Protective Coating to the Board

Applying wax will also help protect against future damage and improve grip on board surfaces. Alternatively, you can sand down the rusted area and paint over that. Make sure to wear a mask when doing this to avoid inhaling any of the dust from metal particles generated by sand.

5. Store the Board in a Dry, Ventilated Place

Let the snowboard dry and store it in a place with low humidity, such as your garage or basement, if you have one available at home. You can also keep it stored outside if there is little chance for rain during that time.

Here’s a 4-minute YouTube video that describes how to clean rusty snowboard edges:

My Snowboard Is Rusting: What Causes This?

The main causes of snowboard rusting include prolonged exposure to moisture, snow, and salt. Generally, snowboards are made of metal that rust if they are not well cared for or handled properly.

Let’s discuss these in detail:

  • Exposure to high humidity: Rusting happens when snowboards are left outside in humid environments for too long. Most notably, the high vapor content in the air is a crucial requirement for the formation of hydrated Iron (III) Oxide, which is formed when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water or moisture.
  • Salt: Salt can enter the board via wear and tear or through snowboard storage areas. When it comes into contact with surfaces that are rusting, it speeds up the process. To prevent that, it’s crucial to wipe down your snowboard with a damp cloth after each use.
  • Incomplete washing: If you don’t thoroughly wash off the board, rust can form underneath any dirt or grime that remains. This is why it’s essential to thoroughly rinse off soap residue and ensure that all board parts are clean before applying a protective coating.
  • Type of material: The type of metal used on a snowboard is one factor that influences how quickly it will rust. For example, aluminum has a lower risk of rusting than most materials like steel. Nonetheless, both types need proper storage and care if you want them to last long-term.
  • Using abrasive cleaners: Abrasive cleaners or soap can cause scratches on your board, making it more difficult for water and dirt to get off the surface.

Key Takeaway: Rusting takes place when the metallic parts of your board react with moisture. Factors like salt, heat and the type of material tend to accelerate the process. Therefore, you can prevent your snowboard from rusting by controlling these factors.

Ways to Prevent a Snowboard From Rusting

Preventing your board from rusting mostly involves proactively addressing the factors that can cause it.

To do that, I recommend that you follow these guidelines:

Store the Board in a Dry Area

The best way to prevent this from happening is to store your snowboard in an area with low humidity levels when not in use, so there isn’t any moisture build-up. If you don’t want to do that or if storing them doesn’t help, then remove all traces of salt by washing away as much residue as possible after each day’s use.

Wipe Down the Board’s Surface Regularly with Wax

Another way to prevent snowboard rust during storage is by wiping down the boards’ surfaces regularly with wax, especially after every use. This habit helps ensure that new layers build up and protect the integrity of the materials beneath.

You can also rub some onto anything else made out of metal like bindings or hardware for cinches/straps, but avoid using too much. 

Otherwise, they’ll be sticky when dry instead of smooth.

Clean Your Board Clean After Every Ride

You may want to keep your boards clean by washing them off after every ride so that there is no dirt build-up on them, which can provide an environment conducive to oxidation. Additionally, I recommend that you dry your snowboard before storing it to remove water droplets that might promote rust formation.

Use Anti-Rusting Powder Before Storage

Another way to prevent your board from rusting is by applying an anti-rusting powder before storing it, which prevents the metal from oxidizing and will help protect your board from rusting.

A typical anti-corrosion powder comprises special chemicals that create a protective covering on the surface, preventing any more corrosion or unnecessary oxidation from happening until you take it out again.

Store Your Board on a Rack or in the Garage

Storing your board on a rack is an effective way to prevent it from rusting. Unlike lying it down where there’s more surface area for moisture and dirt particles to cling onto, racks provide plenty of air circulation all around and reduce the amount of vapor that remains on your board.

Alternatively, store them under a shelving unit with open spaces.

Further, if you have a garage, it’s practical to store your board there. However, ensure you don’t place other objects, especially metals, close to the board since such prolonged contact might speed up corrosion.

Cover Your Snowboard

If you don’t use your board often, consider buying a cover to protect it from dust and debris while not in use. Besides, a cover provides a barrier between the board and air moisture, reducing the chances of rusting.

However, ensure you clean the cover periodically. Otherwise, moisture may accumulate inside it and corrode your board.

Tip: If your snowboard is made of fiberglass and polyester, then you should be closely monitoring it for rust. This type of board will typically last the longest because it is less likely to reach a point where water can get to the steel.

Tips on Keeping a Snowboard in the Best Shape

Besides preventing rusting using the methods I’ve described, here are other handy tips to keep your board in tip-top condition:

  • Each time you finish using your board, ensure you clean off all salt residue by scrubbing away anything left behind.
  • To protect your snowboard against oxidation forming on metal pieces such as screws that might come into contact with water droplets in storage areas, coat it with vaseline before storing. This habit protects these parts without leaving any unwanted residue behind like other methods do.
  • Thoroughly dry off boards after every ride before storing them to ensure no water droplets are left behind. These droplets can cause corrosion when left on metal pieces or in the bindings of a snowboard for a long time.
  • Store your board out of direct sunlight and away from any sources that might generate heat, like radiators or fireplaces. Storing boards close to these will allow them to rust more quickly than usual.
  • Keep your board away from windows or any other areas near exterior walls. This prevents exposure to water droplets coming off these surfaces.
  • Before every ride, you should tighten everything down, including screws (if applicable), which helps keep everything sturdy and more durable overall. It also means less unscrewing later, which could be tricky if they’re stuck. However, ensure you don’t over-tighten anything, though, because then they’ll have too much pressure and could break or come loose.
  • Always inspect your board thoroughly before transporting it anywhere to make sure there are no hidden dents that could turn into depressions. This also reduces the risk of using a damaged snowboard without knowing.

Is Rust on a Snowboard Edge Bad?

Rust on a snowboard edge is bad as it causes the edge to be less structurally sound and more prone to damage. Besides, rust makes it difficult for the board to grip the surface when sliding, which poses the risk of instability and causes the snowboarder to come off more quickly.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the adverse effects of rust on your snowboard edge:

Unpredictable Turns

Rust can cause various problems with the board’s performance, including vibrations and unpredictable turns. This is because the rust can compromise the board’s edge and reduce its grip on the snow.

As a result, you may find your board unstable when turning, posing the risk of falling and getting injured.

Damage to the Base Material

Rust can cause irreversible damage to your board’s base material.

Notably, it may cause chipping or cracking where metal meets wood if not treated promptly. This may hurt your snowboard’s durability and cost you more in the long-term in the form of replacement or repair expenses.

Possible Damage to Other Parts of Board

The real risk with having a damaged edge isn’t just that your board may become unstable. Notably, it also increases the chance of other parts of the board, such as bindings, being damaged.

Such damage can be costly, especially if you go snowboarding without fixing them.

Loss of Edge

The rust may progress until it finally gets to where the metal edge completely wears down. This means you’ll have less grip and stability, which in turn may result in more falls or slips – this would be a disaster for any avid snowboarder.

Is It Normal for a Snowboard to Rust?

It’s normal for a snowboard to rust, despite manufacturers’ preventive measures. Therefore, it’s best to always clean the rust as soon as you spot it to prevent it from spreading to other parts and damaging the board.

How Much Rust Until a Snowboard Is Deemed Useless?

A snowboard is deemed useless after rust has corroded its edge so much that it peels away from the wood. At this point, the snowboard is not safe to use and should be immediately retired from the slopes.

On average, a snowboard can last up to 250 days before the finish starts to peel off. If it lasts longer, you may notice its ride quality deteriorating.

However, some quality boards can last up to eight years if they’re not allowed to get wet, rusty, scratched, or have their paint surfaces broken. A lower quality board may only last three or four seasons before becoming unrideable due to damage from use against natural elements like rocks and trees while riding off-trail.

Final Thoughts

After following all of these steps, your snowboard should be ready to hit the slopes once again. 

But don’t forget that you want to make sure it stays rust-free for many seasons by storing it in a dry place and waxing often. You can also avoid salt stains on your board with the help of an anti-rust spray.

However, if you notice that some delicate parts like bolts are severely damaged, it’s best to get your board serviced or buy a new one. If the latter applies, check for boards made of anti-rust materials like aluminum.

Sources

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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