Masking tape

Blue masking tape or classic beige? We sort out the concepts!

Masking tape or painter’s tape often consists of crepe or smooth paper coated with an adhesive (glue) to temporarily mask a surface against overpainting.

Masking tape or masking tape is an adhesive product that, in most cases, is made of a thin paper that is easily torn off. Over the years, a plethora of different masking tapes have been developed. The basis is often the same. To temporarily protect a surface that is being painted against paint getting on the masked surface.

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The adhesive is among the most important components of a masking tape. It must sit sufficiently firmly on the substrate and often withstand several overpaintings, while at the same time it must be easily removed without leaving behind adhesive residues or glue residues. The glue or adhesive on the masking tape must also be able to hold against most substrates.

Today, there are also masking tapes that are made of PVC plastic for, for example, masking rougher surfaces outdoors. Plastic masking tapes are also used in the automotive industry and paintwork when fine-line masking areas where the width of the tape is narrow. The paint industry also uses masking tapes made of polyester with silicone adhesive to withstand higher temperatures.

The structure of the masking tape

It can differ between how a masking tape is constructed. Paper of various types is the most common component that can be referred to as “back material” in this context. This back material can, for example, consist of:

• Crepe paper

• Washi paper (thin Japanese paper)

• PVC or PET film

In the case of paper masking tapes, the backing material can either be saturated or water-repellent to better withstand paint resistance in order for paint to break through the tape.

The various glues found on the tape are often called adhesives. A masking tape can have different adhesives such as natural rubber, synthetic rubber, acrylate or silicone. These adhesives have different properties to cope with a varied breadth of different masking jobs.

• Rubber adhesive Most common choice of adhesive on a masking tape. This is a versatile adhesive that adheres well to many different surfaces and can sit for up to a few days without leaving any adhesive residue.

• Acrylate Acrylic adhesive is usually used when the masking tape must withstand partly higher temperatures, partly for masking outdoors. An acrylate adhesive copes with UV radiation from the sun better than, for example, a rubber adhesive. However, it should be added that some synthetic rubber adhesives withstand UV radiation to some extent.

• Silicone Silicone adhesive is most common on masking tapes that must withstand masking at higher temperatures. For example, powder masking where the tape is exposed to high temperatures in young and must be removed without leaving adhesive residues.

 Choosing the right masking tape

The choice of the right masking tape is often decisive for the final result. A crucial issue is whether the masking tape will be indoors or outdoors. If masking is to take place outdoors for several days, you should choose a tape that can withstand UV radiation and higher temperatures during summer. Otherwise, the tape runs the risk of “burning on” or settling too hard against the substrate, making it difficult to remove.

The choice is also governed by whether the paint to be painted with is solvent-based or not. There are masking tapes that stand up to solvents better than some others. When masking wallpaper and similar more sensitive surfaces, there are special products that attach “extra loosely” and thus do not damage the substrate.

Masking tape for windows

Blue masking tape is suitable for windows as these products normally cope with UV radiation better and are of sufficient thickness to be able to handle being painted over a number of times.