All About Tape

Tape is available in a wide range of types, sizes, colors and adhesive strengths to pull together any project

All About Tape  Buying Guide

Choosing the right tape for your project depends on the strength of the adhesive required and how smooth or rough your surface is.

Some types of tape are available with varying degrees of adhesive power. Others come in multiple colors, a feature that’s especially handy when working with electrical wires or other objects where a color-coding system would be helpful.

This guide will help you understand which type of tape is best for your project, how to apply it and when to remove it to avoid sticky residue.

Types of Tape

There are a wide range of tapes that may be better suited for your project than all-purpose masking tape. Choose between carpet, duct, electrical, mounting, packaging and painter’s tape.

Tape type Characteristics


  • Flexible and highly durable
  • Moisture-resistant, may be used indoors or out
  • Both sides are adhesive
  • Secures rugs and carpets in place


  • Available in multiple colors
  • Provides strong adhesion
  • Can be used for virtually any project


  • Available in multiple colors
  • Often made of vinyl and may be UV-resistant
  • Forms a watertight seal
  • Insulates wires and other materials that
    conduct electricity

Tip: Use different colors to mark wires and
other components for easy organization


  • Available with varying levels of adhesive power; best all-purpose tape
  • May be specially designed to handle rough-textured or delicate surfaces
  • May be used for protection during painting projects
  • Use delicate surface tape on wallpaper, laminated paneling and other finished areas


  • Both sides are adhesive
  • Also available in small square foam pads
  • Used for hanging posters, pictures, mirror and other objects on walls


  • Seals instantly, providing a strong hold
  • Works best with a tape gun and requires a blade to cut
  • Usually clear
  • Used to seal boxes and other containers


  • Often blue in color; available in various widths
  • Comes off cleanly without leaving residue
  • Protects door frames, trim, floorboards and more during paint projects
  • Repainting tape is designed for use on surfaces painted within the last 7 days

Application and Removal Tips


  • Make sure surfaces are clean and dry before applying tape.
  • Try not to stretch tape when you apply it, as stretching may cause the tape to lift or break.
  • Putty knives are ideal for evenly pressing tape into place.


  • 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.
  • Remove tape as soon as possible to minimize problems.
  • Remove tape at a 45-degree angle; if it continues to stick try a 90-degree angle.

Tape Accessories & Features

Use a tape gun for large projects, and products such as pre-taped drop cloths or UV-resistant painter’s tape to make your painting projects easier.

  • Tape guns and dispensers feature a sharp row of serrated teeth that cut through tape easily, saving you from having to get the scissors out and clip every few seconds.
  • Look for pre-taped drop cloths to cut down on some of the effort of putting drop cloths in place 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 much easier to remove when the job is done.