Painting Tape 101

Painting Tape 101: How to Apply and Remove Painting Tape

Painting Tape 101

What’s the secret to a wonderfully painted room? It’s not just the paint. The secret behind a professional-looking paint job begins with a good painting tape. Not all painting tapes are the same, and the least or most expensive might not be the easiest to apply or remove. To ensure maximum protection for baseboards, trim and doorways or to create sharp lines and a clean, smooth finish, make sure to use the right tape for the job.

Different tapes are used for different substrates. There are specific painting tapes for wallpaper, drywall, metals and woodwork. There are also tapes that work on multiple substrates. For example, Painter’s Mate Green® painter’s tape, is made from premium paper and backed with a one-of-a-kind adhesive with the strength to create a tight seal on a variety of substrates. Tape made for drywall may not perform well on metal, so be sure to read the uses on the label before you start painting.

While taping can be time consuming, it is every bit as important as selecting the perfect color of paint. Here are some simple rules to remember when applying and removing painting tape:

  • Be sure to clean the painting surface first. Use water with a mild detergent and spend extra time around air returns/intakes and anywhere that is touched often.
  • After selecting the right painting tape for the project, apply the tape in single, one-foot sections instead of a long strip. Most DIYers don’t realize how important this is for successful results. Tape is meant to protect the surface and when it is applied in one, long strip, the tape is stretched and won’t lay flat or stick properly, resulting in paint bleeding underneath the tape.
  • Additionally, when you lay the tape down, be sure to smooth it out with your fingertip to ensure a tight bond to the surface you are protecting.
  • Also important is when to remove the tape. While many tapes can remain on the painting surface for more than a week, for the best painting results, slowly pull the tape off at a 135-degree angle toward yourself as soon as you’re done painting. If the paint is completely dry, the tape will not be easy to remove and the paint might chip and create an uneven line. If the paint has dried over the tape, use a razor blade to break the bond between the painting tape and dry/cured paint.
  • Remove and reapply painting tape after each coat of paint is applied. This will ensure the very best results.
  • Finally, if there is a residue left from the painting tape, remove it with soap and water or window cleaner. Many tape manufacturers also recommend a citrus-based cleaner.

Good luck and get taping. A good taping job will make the final results that much better.