Types of Tape
Adhesive tape comes in many specialized varieties for different home projects, particularly ones for which glues and epoxies are not suitable. Choosing the best tape for your needs can involve knowing the strength of adhesion required, the roughness or smoothness of the surface to be taped and whether specialty tapes, such as those with multiple colors, are helpful.
This buying guide reviews the different kinds of tape and how to apply and remove tape from surfaces.
There are many different kinds of tape, but adhesive tape usually consists of a narrow strip of backing material coated with adhesive on one side.
- Most adhesive tapes used with home projects are pressure sensitive, as opposed to tapes with adhesion activated by heat or water.
- The most common types of tape include masking tape, flooring tape, duct tape, electrical tape, packing tape, painter’s tape and double sided or mounting tape.
- Other types of tape have specialized applications, such as surgical tape, hazard tape and gaffer’s tape. Cellophane or “invisible” tape, for instance, is an inexpensive, usually clear tape often used with paper products.
Tip: Some types of tape come in multiple colors, which comes in handy when working with electrical wires or other applications that benefit from color-coding or organization.
|floor tape||Sometimes called carpet tape, this tape has adhesive on both sides for securing rugs and carpets in place. Flexible, highly durable and moisture resistant, it is available in designs for indoor or outdoor use.|
|duct tape||This popular, versatile tape can be used for virtually any project, including HVAC, plumbing and construction applications. It provides strong adhesion and can conform to irregular surfaces such as cement and cloth. It has a mesh backing for increased durability and is usually resistant to moisture and abrasion. The adhesive may remove paint or sealant from painted walls or sealed wood floors when the tape is removed.|
|electrical tape||Also called insulating tape, it is designed to insulate wires and other materials that conduct electricity. It forms a water-tight seal and is often made of non-conductive vinyl. Some varieties are flame-retardant, cold-resistant and UV-resistant. It is available in multiple colors as well as different grades for different voltage.|
|masking tape||Ideal as an all-purpose tape, it comes available with different adhesive strengths. Many varieties are lightweight and easier to remove compared to other types of tape. Delicate surface masking tape is suitable for wallpaper, laminated paneling and other finished areas. Other designs work with rougher textures.|
|Specialty & Anti-Slip Tape||Also called double sided or mounting tape, this features a layer of adhesive on either side of the tape surface. Available in strips as well as small, square foam pads, these can be used to hang posters, pictures and lightweight objects on walls, depending on the adhesive strength. They are available in thinner versions for use on smooth surfaces such as glass or metal and thicker versions for rough surfaces such as wood or brick.|
|painter's tape||Similar to masking tape, this is designed specifically for painting applications, such as protecting door frames, trim, floor boards and more. Available in various widths and distinctive colors that can be easily distinguished from paint. It has a relatively weak adhesive that allows it to come off cleanly without leaving residue, but stronger types are designed for automotive and spray painting.|
|packing tape||This tape is used to seal corrugated boxes and other containers for storage. It works best with a tape gun or dispenser and usually requires cutting with a blade or sharp surface. This tape is usually transparent, inexpensive and seals quickly for a strong hold.|
|Duct Tape||This popular, versatile tape can be used for virtually any project, including HVAC, plumbing and construction applications. It provides strong adhesion and can conform to irregular surfaces such as cement and cloth. It has a mesh backing for increased durability and is usually resistant to moisture and abrasion. The adhesive may remove paint or sealant from painted walls or sealed wood floors when the tape is removed.|
Follow these tips for applying tape to ensure the best adhesion and removing tape to avoid tearing the surface or leaving sticky residue.
- Make sure the surfaces are clean and dry before applying tape.
- Try not to stretch the tape during application, as stretching may cause the tape to lift or break. Applying the tape in short sections can help prevent stretching.
- Putty knives are ideal for pressing the tape into place to seal the edges and eliminate gaps.
- Let painter’s tape set at least 30 minutes before painting.
- Removing tape too quickly may cause it to break or splinter, while removing it too slowly increases the likelihood of transferring adhesive from the tape to the surface underneath.
- The sooner you remove the tape after application, the less likely you are to have problems.
- Remove tape at a 45-degree angle. If it continues to stick, try a 90-degree angle.
- If removing painter’s tape, wait until the paint is dry according to the tape’s instructions.
- If the grip of the tape resists removal without tearing, try using a razor blade to detach the sticky surface.
Consider these products to make your taping and painting projects go more smoothly.
- Tape guns and dispensers usually feature a sharp row of serrated teeth to cut through tape, eliminating the need to cut the tape with scissors.
- Look for pre-taped drop cloths and plastic sheeting to simplify the placement of drop cloths before painting projects.
- Exposure to sunlight causes tape to bake onto the surface it is adhered to. When painting or working outside, look for painter’s tape that is resistant to sunlight and UV rays, which will make it easier to remove.
When determining the best tape for your project, consider the needed adhesive strength and the texture of the surfaces for sealing or sticking together. The different types of tape can meet multiple needs, including painting, packaging, electrical work, putting down carpet, hanging posters and more.
Need help identifying different kinds of tape? Find products fast with image search in The Home Depot app. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products.