article header image back to the main article listing back to the home page

Painting masking tapes

Preparing the work area for surface preparation and painting involves covering and protecting several different types of surfaces. The finish on some surfaces can tolerate a painting masking tape with a strong adhesive, while the finish on other surfaces may be damaged unless a tape with a lower adhesive strength is used.

Today, tape manufacturers provide a wide variety of masking tapes that can be used when preparing and painting surfaces. These “painting masking tapes” vary in color and adhesion strength. They are designed for application to specific surfaces for specific time periods, often referred to as the time period for "clean removal."

The clean-removal time period is the length of time that a painting masking tape can be fastened to a surface without causing damage to the surface when carefully removed. (damaged surfaces and surfaces that are in a state of poor repair may experience damage upon tape removal even before the end of the clean removal time period. Poorly applied surface finishes may also be damaged upon tape removal even before the end of the clean removal time period) Tape left adhered to the surface beyond the clean-removal period may result in surface damage or the presence of a glue residue upon removal.

Based on the surfaces you need to cover and protect, you will often need more than one painting masking tape for your house painting project. A knowledgeable salesperson at your local paint store or home center can show you the tape or tapes that you need.

Always follow the tape manufacturer’s directions for use

When using a painting masking tape, BE SURE that the painting masking tape you select is approved for use by the tape manufacturer for the surface you will be fastening it to; and, know the time period, or “clean removal time,” for which the tape is approved for surface application. Choosing the correct tape and knowing its clean removal time helps to prevent surface damage upon the tape’s removal. Carefully remove tape from the surface before the end of the clean removal time period. Tape left fastened to surfaces beyond the clean removal time may harden, leaving an adhesive residue and causing surface damage upon removal. Reapply fresh tape if needed. When in doubt concerning tape selection or usage, contact the tape manufacturer.

For more information about painting masking tapes, contact a tape manufacturer. You will often find a toll-free customer information phone number on the tape roll. Ask for their information brochure, or brochures, on masking tapes that are recommended for use when preparing and painting surfaces. Brochures are available that show you the recommended tape, or tapes, for use on the surfaces you will need to cover and protect.

Information about painting masking tapes can be found in the book:

The Homeowner's Guide to Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting, on page 33.

All content copyright Steve Broujos LLC