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Picking the Right Painters Tape

Spring is the season of home improvement. And now that it's almost here, many people are considering ways to freshen up their homes and offices. One of the best ways to do this is to paint your walls.

Not only will this brighten your mood, but it's also a good investment – especially if you're planning to sell during the spring housing market. A freshly painted interior will help the house show better to prospective buyers.

Whether you plan to do-it-yourself or you're a longtime pro, you'll need to make some decisions about the type of painters tape to use. Your choice will depend upon the type of surface being painted, whether it's indoor or out, and any creative or artistic requirements.

Here's a quick primer to help you choose the right painters tape for your project. And don't forget to check for removal tips at the end of this post.

Why use painters tape and not other types of tape?

Unlike other types of masking tape, painters tape is specially designed for painting applications where clean removal is a requirement including in cases when the tape is exposed to direct UV light. It can be used on glass, vinyl, metal, wood, painted walls and trim.

There are several types of painters tape, and which one you choose depends upon the job you need it for.

Protect floors and furniture

As you prep your room for painting, you'll want to keep floors and furniture from getting hit by paint drops. You can drape your furniture with old bed sheets and cover floors with plastic sheets, but as you paint, these can shift, inadvertently exposing the edges of furniture or leaving spots on floors.

Duck Pre-Taped Painter's Drop ClothDuck Brand Pre-Taped Painter's Drop Cloth is ideal for protecting floors and counters while painting. This is a 2-mil thick plastic drop film that is pre-applied to a removable painters tape. The plastic film resists tears and punctures, and the removable cloth tape holds the film securely in place, so there's no slipping and sliding. It's designed to remove cleanly for up to 4 weeks.

Nashua CleanDrapeIf you already have drop film or cloth and just need a double-sided tape to apply it, Nashua's CleanDrape is a great choice. The adhesive cloth side of the tape holds up the film or dropcloth while the adhesive painters tape side goes up against your drywall. CleanDrape's blue painters tape side offers clean removal for up to 14 days from a variety of surfaces.

Create Crisp Lines

Once you've got floors and furniture protected, it's time to prep the baseboards, walls and ceilings. Painters tape can be used as a guide to keep lines straight and protect surfaces from getting spotted with the wrong color.

Shurtape CP 60Shurtape CP-60 Razor Edge tape is an ultra thin painters tape used to create razor sharp lines. Perfect for painting stripes, diamonds, and other patterns on walls. Its special paper backing reduces bleed-through and its low adhesion allows it to be easily removed after longer periods of time (for up to 60 days).

JVCC PGM-UVIf you're painting a newly constructed house or an addition, you will probably be painting drywall. JVCC PGM-UV Painter's Grade Masking Tape is a good choice because its peel adhesion does not increase with time, allowing for removal from a wide variety of surfaces without damage.

3M 20903M Scotch-Blue 2090 Painters Tape for multi-surfaces is a medium adhesion tape ideal for paint masking on multiple surfaces including painted walls and trim, woodwork, glass and metal. It can be removed cleanly without adhesive transfer or surface damage for up to 14 days, even in direct sunlight. The backing saturant is solvent and moisture resistant so it resists paint bleed-through, and the adhesive doesn't transfer when the tape is wet. However, this tape is not designed for use on wallpapers, unpainted wallboard, wood floors or poorly bonded surfaces.

Tips for Delicate Surfaces

Shurtape CP 28Delicate surfaces, such as wallpaper, freshly painted or unpainted wallboard and drywall, ceiling tiles, or masking for faux finishing, will require a lower adhesion tape. Shurtape CP-28 30-Day Purple Painters Tape, also known as 30 Day ShurRELEASE, can be applied to delicate surfaces for up to 30 days and then removed cleanly without causing surface damage.

Working with Other Special Surfaces

Frog Multi-SurfaceIf you're painting special surfaces, such as cured painted walls, unfinished wood and wood trim, glass, metal, and stone, choose a medium-adhesion tape like FrogTape's Multi-Surface Painters Tape. This tape removes cleanly from most surfaces for up to 21 days (7 days in direct sunlight). Its patented PaintBlock® Technology prevents latex paint from bleeding by forming a micro-barrier along the edges (it reacts with the water in latex paint). You get a fully sealed tape edge resulting in the sharpest paint lines possible.

Creating Wall Designs

Frog Shape TapePainters tape also can be used to create paint designs on walls, furniture and other surfaces. FrogTape Shape Tape Painters Tape comes in three pre-cut repeating patterns: Chevron, Scallop and Wave. Creative painters can use this tape to create horizontal, vertical, or diagonal designs.

Taping Textured Surfaces

Frog Textured SurfaceIt can be tricky to create sharp lines on textured surfaces such as heavy knockdown, light knockdown or orange peel, without bleeding. But FrogTape Textured Surface Painters Tape comes with a bottle of Liquid PaintBlock® Edge Sealer™, which forms a micro-barrier sealing the edges of the tape. As a result, paint doesn't bleed and you can create super sharp stripes, patterns, and designs on these types of textured surfaces.

Removal Tips

When all of the painting is done, it's time to remove the tape. Here are a few tricks to make sure it all comes off smoothly.

  1. Remove tape as soon as you are finished.bl
  2. Score the edge of the tape with a razor blade first.
  3. Pull the tape slowly and at a 90 degree angle.

If you're still uncertain about how to choose the right painters tape for your project, our Painters Tape Comparison Matrix will help you compare and choose based on a variety of criteria.