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Builder Board and Seam Tape

The magic ratio.

You did it. You installed all of that brand new hardwood flooring. Congratulations! Wait, what’s that sound? That’s the sound of dozens of dirty boot wearing trade workers currently on their way to your jobsite. Your hard work and labor will soon be coated in layers of mud, paint, and plaster and scared with scuffs and scraps unless you do something. The answer to this problem is temporary surface protection, but that’s obvious. You need much more specifics and questions answered. What surface protection do you need, and how much?

Here is the answer up front. For every 300 square feet of hard surfaces you need one roll of Builder Board (100ft roll). For every two rolls of Builder Board you need one roll of Builder Board Seam Tape AND one roll of Surface Shields 3inch Blue Tape.

Here is an example: If you have 1200 square feet of hardwood flooring. You’ll need a bare minimum of four rolls of Builder Board, two rolls of Builder Board Seam Tape, and two rolls of Surface Shields 3inch Blue Tape.

A photo of a 16-count container of Builder Board Seam Tape.
One full sized roll of Builder Board is 38inch by 100ft. It’s important to always check the label when purchasing. Surface Shield also carries 38inch by 50ft rolls (half rolls), and lighter grade “project edition” of the paper board product that is smaller and thinner. We will get into that later. The full sized roll covers about 316 square feet. Calculating 300 square feet gives you 5% room for error. Both Builder Board Seam Tape, and Surface Shields 3inch Blue Tape are 3inches by 60yards. That is about 180ft of tape per roll, again calculating 170ft per roll gives you and extra 5% room for error. Builder Board Seam Tape should only be used to seam two boards together. The tape has a very high tack tape, and will likely damage flooring it if it comes in direct contact. This level of adhesion is important while seaming to ensure the tape does not come undone in the middle of a job, and potentially allow dirt and dust get under the rows of Builder Board.
Close-up picture of a man while adhering a protective surface to the wooden floor with blue tape.
To anchor the borders of your surface protection, Surface Shields’ 3inch Blue Tape works great. Now before you run out and grab any painter’s grade blue tape off the shelf it’s important to understand that the Surface Shield 3inch Blue Tape is different. When anchoring a board down, you need two things: durability and the perfect amount of adhesion. Most blue tapes are not very durable, because they aren’t designed to handle any foot traffic, and most have light adhesion that won’t keep the board down. Surface Shields 3inch blue tape is extra durable, and has just enough for this application without damaging the flooring. You might also be wondering, why 3inch? Surface Shield carries a 2inch blue tape, does one inch make that much of a difference? The answer is yes! The 3inch tape gives you about 34% extra tape area in comparison to the 2inch. That extra 34% not only gives you extra peace of mind, but also makes installation even easier. You might also be wondering, but don’t I just use 3inch Blue Tape for everything (anchoring and seaming)? The reason is because, even though Surface Shields’ Blue Tape is a high quality blue tape, it is still rated for low/medium traffic, if you plan on getting some real work down, you need a high traffic tape, and that’s where Builder Board Seam tape comes in.
Photo of a roll of Builder Board protective material in the middle of a workspace.

As promised, let’s talk about Builder Board Project Edition. This is a lighter duty version of Builder Board. This board is about 49% thinner than traditional Builder Board, three inches shorter (35inches rather than 38inches), and about 52% lighter. Builder Board Project Edition covers about 291 square feet, so it is best to calculate 275 square feet to give yourself that extra 5%.

The “1 roll of tape to 2 rolls of board” rule still applies with this lighter board, and yes, you still need both tapes.

The final tips when using either board is, always buy an extra roll for safety. Even though you accounted an extra 5%, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It is also very important to always patch up or replace any damaged board. Your surface protection is only as strong as its weakest point.


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