From nature to product design, the colors that we experience in our daily lives can greatly affect our emotions and influence our behavior. When used systematically, color can also serve as an effective tool of order, organization and communication.
Throughout the trades, color-coding systems are employed to help ensure efficiency, quality of work and safety. Electricians rely on color-coding to navigate wiring circuits. Plumbers use color labeling to differentiate pipes carrying potable water from those containing fire-quenching materials or combustible gases. Even hard hats are color-coded to help quickly identify an individual’s role on a construction site.
In the painting and coating industry, there’s a wide spectrum of colored masking tapes on the market. Navigating this vast landscape of products can be tricky, even when simply trying to differentiate performance masking tapes designed for vehicle coating from masking tapes designed for residential painting or household repairs.
This is where color comes in. At its most basic, tape color serves a simple marketing purpose: offering a highly visible differentiator between tape brands and products. But more importantly, color is also a quick indicator of technical qualities, performance attributes and application recommendations for each tape.
With tapes designed for masking automotive, marine, transportation and industrial applications, the color of a tape is most often an indicator of its temperature rating. Tapes are typically divided into low, medium and high temperature categories based on the level of heat they can withstand in a given time period.
From golds, blue and pinks to yellow, greens and purples, tape colors are plentiful in the paintings and coatings industry. The challenge therein is that while each manufacturer uses colors to help distinguish between products and temperature ratings, there isn’t an industry standard for which specific colors refer to which specific temperature ratings. While the color of one manufacturer’s tape may indicate the highest temperature rating, the same color from another manufacturer may indicate the lowest.
Adding to the challenge is that some manufacturers also brand specific tapes with numbers; depending on the brand, the number may simply be an internal product reference (such as 301, 401, 501), or it could be an indicator of its temperature rating (such as 225, 250, 300).
So it’s important to familiarize yourself with a manufacturer’s full breadth of product offerings to understand which tapes are designed for your specific application. But it’s also critical to pay close attention to color and product ratings within a specific product category to ensure the performance features and temperature rating are suitable for the job at hand.
You can find this information by reviewing technical data and safety sheets, or simply by requesting information from a distributor or the manufacturer. With a little education with industry experience, you’ll quickly learn to grab the right tape for the job based on the tape’s color alone.