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How to Choose the Right Performance Masking Tape for the Application

by | Apr 3, 2022 | Paint & Masking

High-performance masking tapes are critical tools in any marine, automotive, transportation or industrial painting and coating application; however, determining which type of masking tape will perform best for your specific project or application can be a challenge.

Ultimately, the goal is to deliver high-caliber results the first time around, reducing the risk of paint bleed or surface damage and the need for costly rework these issues can cause. So, it pays to invest a little time into researching the brands and products that work for you.

When considering different tape brands and products, there are a few baseline considerations to assess.

For starters, your working environment—including temperature, humidity, sun exposure, type of surface and duration of time the tape is left on—can impact performance factors like adhesion and clean removal time.

The shape and texture of the surfaces you’re coating are also important—the curved, angled or otherwise inconsistent body surfaces of vehicles require tapes with special performance qualities to ensure proper coverage.

Finally, the material makeup of paints and coatings you’re working with typically demand tapes that are designed to withstand caustic solvents and chemicals, not to mention the high-temperature bake cycles to which they may be subjected in the coating process.

The environment in which you work and the application for the tape are two parts of the puzzle. The tape’s specific characteristics are the third. Diving deeper into a few key performance aspects will help you to identify which products are best positioned to ensure your hard work yields the professional results that you’re after.

Here are some of the most important performance factors to look for:

  • Tack: How quickly a tape establishes a bond during application. A high level of tack will prevent the edges of the tape from flagging or rolling back – and better ensure you’ll get the clean, crisp paint lines you’re looking for.
  • Adhesion: How well a tape will stick to a surface. Performance masking tapes with a medium-high adhesion are engineered to stick effectively to a number of surfaces and substrates, including metal, rubber, plastic and fiberglass.
  • Conformability: How well a tape stretches and bends. Highly conformable tapes will enable you to mask off round, curved and inconsistent surfaces without creating creases, wrinkles or air pockets in the tape, which can lead to paint bleed.
  • Clean removal time: How long the tape can remain on a surface without leaving behind a residue when removed. The best masking tapes will leave no evidence they were ever there in the first place, even after enduring intense industrial applications. Each tape has its own recommended clean removal time listed on the packaging or manufacturer’s website.
  • Strength: How resistant the tape is to shredding and tearing. A performance masking tape should be just as easy to remove as it is to apply — and remain intact during the removal process. Tape that shreds and tears on removal slows down the process, creating workflow inefficiencies that can add up to hit your bottom line over time.

For industrial painting and coating professionals working with solvent-based coating applications and mid- to high-heat bake cycles, identifying a performance masking tape that’s designed to withstand intense coating processes can mean a smoother, more efficient workflow and money saved.

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