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The Contractor’s Guide to Different Types of Tape

As a contractor, having the right tools for each job is essential for tackling various projects efficiently. While hammers, drills, and screwdrivers can steal the spotlight, don’t underestimate the power of tape. Whether it’s securing joints, sealing leaks, or seaming floor protection pieces together, tape plays a crucial role in construction, renovation, and repair work. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 10 different types of tape, their specific uses and what to consider when buying tape. 

Things to Consider When Buying Different Types of Tape 

Indoor or Outdoor Tape Use 

Not all tapes are created equally, and one important distinction is whether an adhesive tape is meant to be used indoors or outdoors. Things like temperature, humidity, and UV exposure can affect how well a tape performs. If you need a tape for an outdoor project that needs to stand up to outdoor conditions, make sure to look for a product that is resistant to water, UV, and has a temperature rating suitable for the weather. 

Duration and Type of Adhesive Bond 

Another thing to consider when looking for the right tape is the duration of the project and the type of bond you’re trying to achieve. Temporary bonding tape, such as painter’s tape, has a lighter adhesive and is meant to adhere to a surface for a short period of time. Permanent bonding tape, like carpet installation tape and silicone tape for plumbers, adheres permanently to a surface. 

Tape Application 

What material you’re applying tape on should be top of mind. Not every tape is safe to apply to every surface. Seam tapes for floor protection, like our Builder Board Tape, have an aggressive adhesive that makes them unsuitable to be applied anywhere but to the surface protection.  

Similarly, the adhesive level of a tape can determine whether it will stick to the surface or not. High-tack adhesives on duct tape or PE tape can adhere to rough surfaces, while lighter adhesive tape products can only stick to smooth, even surfaces. 

Types of Tape

1. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a contractor’s best friend. Known for its durability and strength, it is a multipurpose tape that can handle a wide range of applications. Whether you need it for HVAC work, securing materials, or emergency repairs, duct tape is your go-to option. Its strong adhesive is long-lasting and can withstand harsh conditions, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Find Our Duct Tape Near You.

2. Electrical Tape

Electrician wrapping blue electrical tape around wires Designed for electrical insulation and wire bundling, pressure-sensitive electrical tape is made of a non-conductive material that protects against short circuits and risk of shock. Electrical tape also provides insulation against heat and moisture, making it ideal for securing wiring connections and protecting exposed conductors. Electrical marking tapes come in different colors in order to label and identify electrical wiring.

3. Masking Tape

Another popular tape choice, masking tape is a type of packing tape that offers easy application and clean removal. Masking tapes are often used to temporarily hang items and seal boxes. Masking tape is also frequently used for painting, however the adhesive is slightly stronger than painter’s tape. This can make it more difficult to remove after a paint job.

4. Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape (or blue painter’s tape) is similar to masking tape, however it is specifically designed for painting projects. The key difference between the two is that painter’s tape has a light adhesive that is easy to remove without any residue. Use painter’s tape to create precise edges and clean lines during a paint job. 

5. Seam Tape

man applies builder board seam tape to floor protection on a construction site. Seam tape plays a crucial role in floor protection during construction or renovation projects. When laying down temporary floor protection like Builder Board, seam tape joins the sheets together, ensuring no dirt, debris, or spills can get underneath and damage the surface. 

6. Drywall Tape

applying drywall tape to drywall sheet In the world of construction and home improvement, drywall tape is needed to achieve smooth and seamless walls. Drywall joint tape is used with joint compound/drywall mud in order to join sheets of drywall. 

Drywall tape is typically made of paper or fiberglass. Paper tape is non-adhesive and creates a strong joint, while fiberglass mesh tape is a convenient self-adhesive drywall tape that has a superior moisture resistance.

7. Filament Tape

Filament tape (or strapping tape) is reinforced with fiberglass filaments that make it strong and resistant to tearing. The glass filaments run along the length of the tape, providing structural support and preventing it from snapping or breaking under tension. This makes filament tape ideal for bundling jobsite materials and securing pallets.

8. Double-Sided Tape

With adhesive on both sides, double-sided tape is ideal for mounting objects or securing materials together. Double-sided tape is liquid resistant and conformable, adhering to difficult surfaces. Its strength and versatility make it a contractor’s best friend for numerous projects.

9. Carpet Installation Tape

Ultrastik scrim tape for cove base molding Carpet installation tape such as Ultrastik™, is a permanent tape that provides a strong bond between the carpet backing and the subfloor. It can be used to join carpet seams and install stair treads, floor transitions, cove base molding and more. The double-sided, scrim-reinforced adhesive offers long-term adhesion, making sure materials are securely in place even under heavy foot traffic.

10. Plumber’s Tape

applying white thread seal tape to pipe fitting There are two types of plumber’s tape, each serving specific purposes in plumbing applications. 

Pipe tape, also known as Teflon tape, PTFE tape, or thread seal tape, isn’t actually adhesive. Instead, it wraps around the threads of a pipe or fitting to secure a watertight seal between two joints.  

The second type of plumbing tape is self-fusing silicone tape, which can be used to waterproof joints and do emergency repairs on leaking pipes. Its ability to fuse to itself without the need for adhesive makes it a reliable solution for immediate fixes.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use duct tape instead of electrical tape for electrical repairs? 

No, duct tape is not suitable for electrical repairs due to its lack of electrical insulation properties. Always use electrical tape specifically designed for such applications. 

Is double-sided tape suitable for outdoor use?  

Some double-sided tapes are designed for outdoor applications and can withstand exposure to weather. However, it’s important to check the product specifications to make sure it’s suitable for your specific project. 

Can duct tape be used for plumbing repairs?  

While duct tape is incredibly versatile, it is not recommended for plumbing repairs. Instead, use specialized plumbing tape designed to handle water and pressure. 

What tape is strongest? 

Contractor strength duct tapes and PE tapes are extremely strong and durable.  

Which tape is most adhesive? 

Permanent bond tapes like Ultrastik flooring tape have an extremely aggressive adhesive that makes them bond to surfaces. 

How to prevent damage from tape? 

Before applying tape to a surface, we recommend testing your tape in an inconspicuous place to prevent damage when removed. 

Choosing the right tape 

Knowing the various types of tape and their uses is an important part of choosing the right tape. Each tape has unique properties that can help you get the job done. The next time you reach for the tape, consider the task at hand and choose the tape that best matches your needs. With this knowledge in your arsenal, you can tackle any project with confidence and ensure long-lasting, professional results. For a full list of contractor tapes from Surface Shields, visit our catalog. 


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