9 Considerations When Choosing & Using Foam Masking Tape

No two foam tapes are the same. While they might have a similar construction, they’re often used for different purposes, suitable for use under different conditions and can be single or double sided depending on what’s required. Foam masking tapes are highly versatile and can be used for various applications, but choosing which foam tape is not always an obvious decision to make.

Here, we’ll guide you through the main considerations to account for when choosing and using your foam masking tape. Whether you need a tape that’s high tack or low tack, highly temperature resistant or just one that’s suitable for low bake ovens, there’s a foam masking tape for all purposes and needs.

JTAPE Foam Masking Tapes

At JTAPE, we’ve been creating, designing and manufacturing our unique and innovative foam tapes for many years. At the forefront of our work are body shop professionals who should be able to achieve the high-quality finish they’re looking for using simple masking solutions. Using our experience and expertise, we’ve curated a range dedicated to assisting professionals with their every day tasks.

Below we’ll guide you through our top two foam masking tapes and their excellent properties.

Smooth Edge Foam Masking Tape

Our JTAPE Smooth Edge Foam Masking Tape is the perfect solution for masking door apertures, bonnet and boot lid openings and other vehicle apertures. This paint absorbent tape is easily conformable, making it simple and easy to apply in these areas. The foam construction also allows you to achieve a soft finish rather than harsh edges, which can be useful for ensuring new work blends into old.

Prime & Paint Foam Masking Tape

From light priming to colour application to a clear coat finish, it’s always handy to have one tape that can handle it all. To help solve this problem and ensure only one masking application is required to complete these jobs, we’ve designed our Prime & Paint Foam Masking Tape.

This tape is a unique combination of our Primeshield and Advanced Foam Masking Tape, giving all the benefits of both but in one single solution. Not only will this save you time in the application and removal process, but it’ll also cut your material costs.

Looking for our full range? Click to see all our JTAPE Foam Tapes.

Choosing a Foam Masking Tape: Things to Consider

There are several things to consider when picking the best foam masking tape for the job. Here, we’ll take you through the top six things to think about.

Use case

The use case is the number one thing to consider when choosing your foam masking tape. The tape you use to mount substrates is generally going to have different properties to the foam tape required for preventing overspray when painting.

It’s important to consider what you want the tape to do and ensure the properties match up with this. For example, our Advanced Foam Masking Tape is best to use when masking off all apertures on the vehicle because of its offset adhesive allowing you to adjust back where needed when taping off the gaps. Meanwhile, our No Edge Blending Tape would be the best choice when masking off swage lines and trying to achieve a seamless blend between old and new paint because the tape gives a feathered finish.

Tape Width

Picking the correct width of foam masking tape is also important because this can affect the protection you achieve. For example, thicker tape is usually used for working on larger areas, while thinner tape is used for more intricate details or areas.

Using the incorrect width of tape could cause damage to areas you didn’t intend to work on since the tape might not be covering a wide enough area. The possibility of requiring a rework also increases.

Tape Material

Various foam tape materials are available. So how do you know which one to use and when?

Acrylic adhesive: An acrylic-based adhesive is typically best for indoor and outdoor applications because these masking tapes benefit from high temperature and UV resistance and durability. For high bake ovens or when working in higher temperatures as is necessary for jobs like powder coating alloys, this can often be a good choice. 

Rubber adhesive: This choice is often popular thanks to its high viscosity and water resistance. For example, our Flexi No Edge Blending Tape benefits from a rubber-based adhesive since it can be used for a variety of applications where flexibility is key. The versatility of rubber means that it’s perfect for a wide range of uses and can be bonded to various materials, which is why you’ll find that many of our foam tapes are rubber-based.

Silicone adhesive: Silicone is often noted for its flexibility and heat resistance properties, making it an excellent option for both indoor and outdoor applications. However, rubber is often favoured when flexibility and conformability are needed because of its wider range of applications.

Polyethylene: Foam masking tapes are often based on a polyethylene structure because this is a smooth, easy-to-handle type of plastic. These tapes are easily adaptable, conformable, and cost-effective, alongside offering excellent water and heat resistance. At JTAPE, polyethylene is one of our top material choices for these reasons.

Double or Single-Sided

Foam tapes will either be single-sided or double-sided. Making the choice between these two will depend on what the tape will be used for.

For example, you’ll typically require a double-sided adhesive for mounting items externally or internally on the vehicle. Common uses for this type of tape include mounting trims, mouldings or badges on to bodywork, as well as mirror fixing.

In general though, a single-sided foam tape will be used for most use cases, from blending up to swage lines to leaving the vehicle with the perfect blended or feathered edge.

Adhesive Strength

High, low and medium tack foam masking tapes can all be used depending on the purpose the masking tape needs to serve. For more permanent fixings like mounting, it’s best to use high tack tape. Meanwhile, foam tapes for blending and creating feathered edges might be lower tack since these won’t be applied to the vehicle for as long.

Time needed to stick

Some tapes will take longer to stick and work than others. Therefore, this is an important factor to consider and understand to help you plan your jobs.

The majority of our foam masking tapes can be used straight away for a variety of jobs with no issues. However, some foam tapes might take slightly longer to give the desired adhesion, such as when mounting items or sticking to internal fixtures. It’s important to check the time needed and factor this in when working on the job at hand.

Using a Foam Masking Tape: Things to Consider

Once you’ve chosen the perfect foam tape for the desired use and considered the points above, it’s also important to think about the following when it comes to using your tape.

Manufacturer Instructions

The manufacturers should be experts. Therefore, you can trust that the instructions included with your foam tape are there to help. These instructions should provide details on how to use the tape, where to use it and the recommended uses of it. Ensure you follow these instructions to get the perfect finish on your job.

Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is incredibly important for a few different reasons. On the surface, you must ensure that any contaminants that the tape comes into contact with can’t interfere with the adhesive and weaken it. If it does, this can damage the materials underneath the foam tape and lead to a bigger reworking job.

It’s also vital to ensure you’re starting with a clean and dry surface since this will ensure that the tape can be applied easily and removed without leaving any residue or causing damage. Rubbing alcohol is the best solvent for cleaning because this will remove all types of contaminants from the area. A clean and dry cloth can then be used to remove the rubbing alcohol and leave a dry surface ready for the adhesive.

Handling & Application

Your methods and techniques are vital for ensuring that these tapes are properly applied depending on the job. While this will often be detailed in the instructions, it’s especially helpful to check any handling advice.

It will often be stated that you should avoid contact with the adhesive until you’re ready for application since this can affect its effectiveness. It can also be helpful to check whether the adhesive requires pressure to complete the application.

Choosing the correct tape and ensuring you do everything possible to use it properly and effectively can have a huge impact on the quality of your work in the body shop. Using these nine considerations, body shop professionals should be well prepared for choosing and using foam tapes. To learn more about our foam masking tapes, check out our product range.

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