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5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Abatement Tape

by | Jul 20, 2018 | Abatement, Building & Construction

In abatement and remediation projects, building an airtight containment system is critical to prevent the spread of contaminants – things like mold, asbestos, soot, and other harmful pollutants – to other areas beyond the work site. Using the right tapes for the job at hand is essential to not only completing the job efficiently, but ensuring the safety of those at risk of exposure to the hazards originating from the job site.

Consider these 5 things when choosing a tape for your containment building project:

1. 1-step vs. 2-step Containment Method: 

The traditional method of building containment systems for abatement and remediation jobs involves two steps and two tapes: a painter’s or masking tape to protect the surface to which you will be hanging your barrier, and a duct tape to adhere the poly sheeting to the backing of the paint/masking tape. The alternative, one-step, one-tape method calls for a double-sided tape designed specifically for abatement. These tapes are built with a gentle, painter’s tape adhesive on one side and an aggressive duct tape adhesive on the other, allowing it to get the job done in less time and using less tape.

Depending on your preferred method of building containments, you will need to choose either a double-sided tape or two different tapes. If using a double-sided tape, always pay attention to its intended uses and the adhesive strength on both sides.

2. Abatement vs. Remediation: 

While we tend to refer to all tapes used to build containment systems as “abatement tapes,” in reality, not all of these projects are considered abatement. Remediation and restoration are terms used for jobs in which the end goal is to restore the structure to its former condition for safe continued use of the space. Remodeling projects and situations involving the removal of mold or another hazardous material that has not yet become so severe that the structure cannot be saved often call for tapes that are gentle enough to not cause further damage to the application surface while still maintaining an adequate hold to your poly sheeting.

Abatement, on the other hand, refers to more severe situations where the damage is beyond repair and the main objective is to safely remove the hazard – such as asbestos or remnants of a methamphetamine lab – while preventing airborne particles from contaminating unaffected areas or nearby structures. If you are building a containment system in an abatement job, preventing adhesive residue or surface damage may not be as important as having an aggressive tape that forms a permanent bond and holds your poly sheeting to rough or hard-to-stick-to surfaces. In some cases, skipping the painter’s tape step altogether and simply using a strong duct tape to adhere poly directly to the surface of a door or window frame may be a good choice.

3. Jobsite Conditions: 

Certain climates and environmental conditions can have a significant impact on the performance of the tapes you use in abatement and remediation projects. Extreme cold can cause some tapes to become brittle and lose their stickiness, while exposure to very hot temperatures can cause adhesives to ooze and tape backings to expand and lose their ability to grip surfaces.

Similarly, moisture and humidity can impact the way that tapes perform. Tapes with paper backings – like painter’s and masking tapes – do not have the ability to wick moisture away, sometimes resulting in tape flagging or failing in very wet environments. Some duct tapes, on the other hand, are suitable for use in moist environments and have water-resistant backings. For best results, consider the conditions that you will face during your abatement or remediation project when selecting tapes for the job.

4. Application Surface: 

The type of surface to which you are adhering your poly sheeting should have an influence on the tape you choose to do the job. An especially rough or dirty surface may demand tapes with higher adhesion, such as a high-adhesion painter’s tape and duct tape that is designed for use on rugged surfaces. Likewise, delicate surfaces may require tapes that are gentle enough to remove cleanly if the project calls for it. Understanding that not all tapes are created equal helps you choose tapes that best equip you for the job at hand.

5. Duration: 

Every job is different, and the amount of time that a containment system will be in place varies. It is important to consider how long you expect your abatement or remediation project to take – and factor in a few additional days in case of setbacks – when choosing tapes. Many painter’s tapes offer clean removal for a certain period of time – from anywhere between 3 days to 3 weeks – while some duct tapes can flag or start to fall off after an extended period of time, especially if exposed to harsh temperature or environmental conditions.

In addition to needing your tape to maintain its hold, remediation and remodeling projects may require tapes that offer clean removal for a certain period of time. This reduces the risk of surface damage and adhesive residue remaining on the application surface after the tape is removed, preventing additional time and money spent on touchups and repairs.


Tape has a big responsibility in abatement and remediation jobs – and it is critical to stock your toolbox with the right ones for your unique application.

To find a tape for your next containment building job, visit Shurtape.com.

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