Masking Tape FAQ

1.     What is masking tape?

Masking tape is a pressure sensitive tape which is designed to adhere to a surface to protect it when painting.  The type of adhesive used on masking tape is formulated to make it easy to remove without leaving a residue.

Masking tapes may be made of paper or plastic and will not allow paint to pass through them onto the protected surface.

2.     What is masking tape used for?

Masking tape is used when painting to prevent paint getting on to a particular area.  You might use it when decorating to stop wood paint on a door frame from getting onto the surrounding wall, or on a light fitting.

Masking tape is regularly used when spray painting cars or UPVC window frames for the same purpose.

Masking tape helps you save time, prevent mistakes and allows for a clean finish.

3.     What’s the difference between painter’s tape and masking tape

Painter’s tape and masking tape are very similar products and serve much the same purpose, however, are used in slightly different situations.

Painter’s tape is most commonly associated with decorating – it is designed to be low tack to protect underlying paint surfaces and be easy to remove without leaving a residue or pulling away the paint beneath it.  It may be called decorators tape.

Tapes sold as masking tapes are more typically used for spray painting work on surfaces that they need to bond with a little more tightly to prevent overspray and are often used in conjunction with films to protect larger areas.

4.     Does masking tape peel off paint

If the right type of masking tape is used for a job, and it is applied correctly and removed carefully, it should not peel off paint.

One of the most common reasons for masking tape peeling off paint when it is removed is that the underlying layer was not fully bonded to the surface – for example if the paint was applied to damp plaster.

If painter’s tape is left in place for too long, the adhesive may degrade and cause it to stick more tightly to the underlying wall, in which case it will be more likely to peel paint away.

5.     How long can you leave masking tape on

It’s a good idea to remove masking tape as quickly as possible after painting to avoid it leaving behind a residue or becoming more bonded to the underlying surface.

In practice, you shouldn’t have problems leaving masking tape in place for a few days.

6.     How do you use masking tape without removing paint

To get the best results when removing masking tape, it’s important to choose the right product for the job, apply it correctly, and then remove it at the right time.

Pick a tape that is right for the surface you’re painting on – whether this is a painted wall, or a car panel.

Apply the tape to the surface that you want to protect with a consistent pressure – enough to allow the tape to stick, but not too much.

The best time to remove masking or painter’s tape is when the paint is dry to the touch but not fully cured.  At this point there will still be some flexibility in the paint, and it should not chip.

Finally, remove the tape gently with a consistent peeling action rather than dragging at it.

7.     Do you remove masking tape when the paint is wet

It’s important to remove masking tape at the right time.  If you remove it when the paint is still wet, it can still spread into the areas that have been protected and ruin the result.  If you remove it when it has fully cured, the surface may be more brittle and chip as you remove the tape.

The best time to remove the masking tape is when the paint is dry to the touch but has not yet fully cured.  This usually happens around an hour after you have painted.  If it is still gummy, leave the tape in place for longer.

8.     How do you stop paint bleeding under tape

To avoid paint bleeding under the tape, start by painting over the edge of the tape using your base colour and gentle strokes.  This will create a seal between the tape and the base coat and prevent any seeping from taking place that might allow the paint to bleed under the tape.

9.     Why are masking tapes different colours

Different colours of masking tape help to make the tape stand out more clearly against the background colours during application.

In some cases, manufacturers use different colours to differentiate between tapes that are used for different purposes, or work at different temperatures.

10.  Can I reuse masking tape

Masking tape is designed to be used once.

Getting the best results relies on having tape which adheres tightly to the underlying surface.  If you try and reuse masking tape, the adhesive will not work correctly and that can allow paint to bleed underneath the tape and ruin your results.

For more information about our range of masking tapes, please contact a member of our team, or visit our online store to see our products.