So, you have a painting project. As many of us have discovered the hard way, the outcome is all in the prep! The painting is the easy part. It's getting the room ready for your brush that's the issue. Choosing a painter's tape seems to be one of the more confusing decisions a DIY painter has to cope with. With so many choices and variables, choosing the right tape can be almost as confusing as picking the right paint color.
Painter's Tape Color:
Painter's tape comes in several colors. I think there is some confusion about this. A lot of people seem to think that the tape is somehow color-coded. In fact, there are quite a few searches "for painter's tape colors". But actually, the color is a function of branding, not specific qualities For example, Frog Tape is, not surprisingly, green in color. And of course, your classic blue painter's tape is indeed blue. Given the different colors, it's an understandable mistake.
Painter's Tape Width:
Painter's tape width is another matter. You might want to take care to get this one right. After all, it is a heck of a lot easier to tape a room full of moldings if the painter's tape is the right width for the task. In my own home, the molding around the doors is very thin. If I got painter's tape that was 2 inches wide, this would make my job that much harder. ScotchBlue tape comes in 0.75", 1 , 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 3.0 inches in width. Wide moldings need wider tape. It may seem like a lot of bother to get this bit right, but it really does make a difference when you finally get to work.
Painter's Tape Adhesive Quality:
Different painter's tapes also have different adhesive characteristics. For example, if you are putting tape on something that is delicate - like wallpaper or newly painted, you probably want light adhesion. This way, the painter's tape comes off cleanly without leaveing residue. For interior rooms that will take some time, you would probably want to use medium adhesion. This will help the tape stay "put" for a longer period of time. High adhesion is best used for outdoor painting.
Applying and Removing Painter's Tape:
When taping, you want fairly long strips of tape perhaps about 18-20 inches. You certainly want to press firmly on the surface you wish to protect. The entire purpose of the taping is lost if the paint can slip under the tape becuase it wasn't applied strongly enough.
When the project is dry, remove the tape as soon as possible. You don't want any residue from the tape to stick to protected surfaces, so the sooner you are able to remove the tape, the better. The best way to remove the tape is to take one corner of the tape and slowly, but carefully pull away from the surface at a 45-degree angle.
Painter's Tape is NOT Masking Tape:
Masking tape is a different animal altogether. It is not at all suited for painting projects. The main reason being that it has high adhesion. You don't want any surfaces underneath chipped or peeled off in the process of protecting them! It kind of negates the entire purpose of taping to begin with!
Some Interesting Special Features of Painter's Tape:
Frog tape has an interesting special feature. It actually reacts with the water in the paint, turning it into a gel. This actively prevents bleeding from happening under the tape. This is a nice extra layer of protection that many painters (professionals and otherwise) seem to enjoy.
Scotch exterior surface painter's tape is ideal for outdoor painting. It works on painted and metal surfaces. It's good for smooth as well as semi-smooth surfaces including metal.
At the end of the day, you need to find the best painter's tape for the job at hand.
Not an excuse to be messy:
Please note - taping isnot an excuse for sloppy painting. That's asking way too much from your painter's tape! The tape is that extra bit of security that will allow you to paint confidently, but carefully. You really don't want paint on the tape, that can be a bit dicey when pulling the tape off. So, be sure to work as cleanly as possible, just as if the tape wasn't there at all.
Just remember,even though prepping a room for painting can be a slog, prepping well means a great outcome. It can also really be a time-saver in the long run.
Good luck with your project!