What are the Different Types of Painter’s Tape?

Different Types of Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape is one of the most important tools for painters.

No matter whether you are a DIYer or a professional, you will need these tapes for protecting the areas so that you do not paint over the surfaces you do not want to.

Crepe paper can be found on the back of the painter’s tape.

So, you can also write on the crepe paper to label something if you want during the project.

Not only for painting projects, but you can use them for other purposes like creating clean and crisp straight lines, decorating your walls, hanging wall arts, removing splinters from a freshly cut piece of wood, making a game (like foursquare court or hopscotch) for your kids, etc.

Simply speaking, different types of painter’s tapes can be used for various different purposes.

And it’s a must-have for any homeowner who is passionate about DIY projects like home painting.

Different Types of Painter’s Tape

Adhesive tapes for home improvement projects are not all the same.

Depending on the project there can be duct tape, electrical tape, packing tape, flooring tape, double-sided or mounting tape, and painter’s tape.  

When talking about painter’s tapes there are generally three different types: masking tape, blue tape, and yellow tape.

Also, there is green tape which is less commonly used.

The difference between each painter’s tape is more than just their color.

They each serve a different purpose in a particular situation.

It would help if you understood the differences between these painter’s tapes before purchasing one of them.

So, let’s look at each type of painter’s tape more carefully.

1- Blue Tape

Blue tape (or sometimes purple painter’s tape) is popular in the US.

In fact, blue tape is considered to be the best painter’s tape for walls or any sensitive surface.

Just be careful not to leave the tape on the surface for too long or else it could pull away some of the underlying surfaces when you try to peel the tape away after the paint is dry.

Try to finish your paint job the same day.

2- Green Tape

The major difference between green and blue painter’s tape lies in the different levels of tackiness they provide.

While a blue painter’s tape comes with medium tack adhesive, green painter’s tape is known for its stronger adhesion and high tackiness.

Since green painter’s tape comes with stronger adhesive it’s the best option to use when you want to protect rough or uneven surfaces from getting the paint.

This tape can be too strong to use on sensitive drywall or floor surfaces.

If you use them, they can pull up the underneath material when it’s time to peel off the tape.

3- Yellow Tape

The yellow tape has the weakest adhesive material.

And because of its bright yellow color, it’s highly visible even in minimum light.  

The upside is you’ll never need to worry about pulling up the underlying surface.

But on the downside, the yellow tape does not stick for a long time.

That is why it is best used for painting stripes or against the wallpaper. It’s also the preferred choice in the automotive industry.

4- White Masking Tape

It might be confusing as to why white masking tape is the best type of painter’s tape.

For one thing, it is the cheapest painter’s tape on the market.

And that is usually the number one motivator that people have to purchase it.

When you keep a surface covered with masking tape for a long time, it might pull away part of the underlying surface as you peel it away.

However, you can use masking tape to cover baseboards as you plan to paint the walls above them.

Most contractors say that is okay to do. 

Different types based on material

Since masking tapes can be categorized in more than one way, there are also a few types based on the type of adhesive material it is made from.

These tapes include:

  1. Acrylic-based tape – Can be used in high temperatures of about 150° C
  2. Silicone-based tape – Can be used in extreme temperatures as high as 260°C
  3. Rubber or resin-based tape – Good for general-purpose applications under normal temperatures

Based on the adhesion level and environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc) you are working in you can choose the one from these different types.

What kind of painter’s tape is best?

All you will need is to know your purpose, the surface you want to put the tape on, and for how long – before you can pick the best painter’s tape for your project.

Hopefully, the below table will help you make the right choice…

Blue TapeMedium adhesionGood for walls, ceilings, hardwood floors, tiles, glass, trims, and baseboards.
Green TapeStrongest adhesionGood for exteriors, rough surfaces, uneven surfaces, floors with cardboard panels, etc.
Yellow TapeWeakest adhesionGood for delicate surfaces, wallpaper, freshly painted surfaces, and various other decorative projects
White TapeCheapest optionAll-purpose tape for smaller projects with less budget
choosing the best painters tape

How to Use Painter’s Tape Correctly?

Using a specific type of painter’s tape will generally depend on the type of project you are working on.

But there are a few general guidelines you can use while applying a colored painter’s tape.

These include:

Step 1. Clean the surface

Before applying the tape to the surface, ensure that it’s clean and free from dust, dirt, grime, or oil.

While cleaning if you make the surface damp, be sure to dry it off before application.

This will make sticking the tape much easier.

Step 2. Protect baseboards

While applying the tape to the trim do not fold it down the trim.

Instead, you should leave it sticking up.

This way you can protect the surfaces like baseboards while painting from any paint splatters or drips.

Step 3. Seal the tape firmly

After applying the tape to the surface, seal it firmly using a putty knife or any other flat-edged tool.

Since painter’s tape can come up easily, you should make sure that it sticks to the surface well.

Or else your purpose of applying the tape will not be fulfilled.

Step 4. Remove the tape carefully

When removing the tape, it’s recommended that you should remove them while the paint is still slightly wet.

For smoothly removing the tape score the edge of the tape using a blade.

Then pull the tape gently at a 45-degree angle. If the tape is hard to remove try a 90-degree angle.

This will help in removing the masking tape from a wall without peeling paint?

If you are leaving the tape on the surface for long, keep in mind that most painters’ tapes can be left on the surface for up to 60 days.

But this will also depend on the type of project and the environment you are working in.

For example, if there is more humidity in the air you may need to wait for a bit longer (to dry the paint) before you can remove the tapes.

How to Use Painter’s Tape

Does Painters Tape Leave Residue On Surface?

Painter’s tape that is designed for painting can generally be left on the surfaces for a long.

However, depending on the type/quality of the tape and the surface (hardwood floor, glass, metal, carpet, etc.), few masking tapes can leave residue behind, especially if it’s not peeled away correctly.

These may also rip off paint, stain, or other finishes you may have applied and that’s where the basic difference lies between painter’s tape and masking tape.

If you want to minimize the chances of leaving the residue, there are a few tips you can follow…

  • Instead of standard masking tape, use painters’ tape
  • Make sure you clean the surface well before applying the tape
  • Do not use the tape in high temperatures unless it’s designed for such conditions
  • Leave them on the surface only for the time that is recommended by the manufacturer

Even after following these tips, if you have traces of adhesive left behind you can remove them using warm soapy water.

If warm water does not work to soften the stubborn residue, you can melt it by using a heat gun.

Alternatively, you can use some cooking oil on the surface and scrape the residue using a putty knife.

After the sticky residue is softened/melted you can clean the surface with soap and water.

How to Choose the Right Painter’s Tape for Your Paint Job?

When shopping for a painter’s tape, it’s important that you select the right tape that matches your project.

Shurtape ShurRELEASE Blue, FrogTape Multi-Surface, and 3M Scotch Blue are some of the best brands you can consider when buying painter’s tape online.

Keep in mind, that using the wrong product not only will be time-consuming but also it will make your project messy.

So, check for these factors before you select the tape…

a) Surface:

The very first thing you will need to check is the surface and the type of finish you will be using the tape on.

While it’s good to choose a multi-surface tape that can easily stick to most surfaces, if you use using them on gentle surfaces like fresh paint or wallpaper, it can peel away or damage the surface when removed.

So, if you are unsure it’s good to pick a tape that is meant for delicate surfaces.

b) Time frame:

Next, you will need to think about the adhesion of the tape and how long the painter’s tape will have to cover the surface for your project.

If you plan to keep it covered for a long time, make sure the adhesive is not too strong.

You can determine the strength of your painter’s tape by looking at the tape roll label.

It will indicate how long you should keep a surface covered with the tape.

c) Width of the tape:

For most paint projects, tapes that come with a width between 1.5 and 2 inches are suitable.

These will help in protecting most areas from overspray or stray brush strokes for error-free painting.

The wider tape will come at an extra cost. So, unless you need them you should avoid purchasing them.

With that said, if you are unsure about the right size it’s a good idea to invest a few extra dollars in purchasing an extra width painter’s tape than going back and cleaning the messes.

d) UV resistant tapes:

When working outdoors during the hot summer season, exposure to sunlight can cause the tape to break onto the surface to which it adheres.

So, it’s good to pick the painter’s tape that is resistant to UV rays of sunlight.

This will not only make sticking much easier but also the removal process after you have completed the job.

Few masking tapes on the market also come with waterproof properties. These are usually water-resistant and not fully waterproof.

If you want a tape that can be used on exterior surfaces it’s good to choose these water-resistant tapes.

e) Consider tape accessories:

To make your taping project go smoother before spraying the paint, you can consider purchasing tape guns and dispensers.

There are also pre-taped drop cloths available for paint projects, especially when working over larger surface areas.

All of these accessories will make your job much easier.

Related FAQs

How soon can you put painter’s tape on fresh paint?

If you are working on smaller sections at a time, you may need to tape the sections that you have freshly painted.

Although you can put the painter’s tape on fresh paint as soon as you finish painting that section, that will generally depend on the type of paint you have used and the weather conditions.

No matter whether you are working on walls, ceilings, or floors, you should typically need to wait for 3-4 hours until the paint is dry to the touch before applying the painter’s tape.

Can You paint over painter’s tape?

Painter’s tapes are usually made from textured crepe paper material that is specifically designed to accept paint. So you can paint them without any problems.

In fact, if you want to get clean, straight lines while painting, then it’s best to use painter’s tape to help you out without worrying about paint getting over the masking tapes.

With that said, there are many other types of tapes like duct tape, packing tape, or electrical tape that you should never use for painting because they can’t be painted over and will only ruin your paint job.

How to soften painter’s tape for removal?

Many times, the painter’s tape you have put for a long time and has become old gets hard to remove because the adhesive has dried out and lost its stickiness. Also, the paper on the tape has absorbed the paint and has become hard.

To make the removal process easier, you can try to soften the painter’s tape by heating it with a hairdryer for a few seconds before slowly peeling it off.

You can also use a knife to score the tape before removal to help break the seal between the paint and the tape.

The Bottom Line

There are a variety of different types of tapes available for painters on the market.

When you start getting serious about painting a wall or some other textured surface of your property, choose either blue tape or yellow tape.

Blue tape sticks better, but could also pull up the underlying surface if left on it for too long.

Yellow tape doesn’t stick as well, but it won’t pull up any part of the underlying surface.

Masking tape is a type of painter’s tape but with lesser features.

Even though it is cheap, masking tape is best used for small DIY projects and hobby projects.

Keeping all the above things in mind, select the painter’s tape that is just right for your project.

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