Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Masking Tape Part II: The Sticky Details

Earlier this year, we learned how acrylic and rubber/synthetic rubber masking tapes are made. This month, we’ll focus on chemical additives that can change or enhance the tape’s physical properties and characteristics. The importance of these minor differences are critical as they give the tape its application qualities. There are many characteristics of tape that can affect your project, but let’s take a look at three important areas: clean line technology, UV inhibitors and operating temperatures.

Clean Line Technology
Edge treatment has been an industry trend for over a decade. Clean line technology is an additive applied to the edge of the roll, forming a barrier or blocking agent so paint cannot seep under the tape. Edge-treated tapes are usually very forgiving and provide a good option when the job requires a perfect line. Look for IPG’s patented Bloc-it™ Clean Line Technology, a proprietary edge treatment that delivers clean, crisp paint lines.

UV Inhibitors
UV inhibitors are additives necessary for a tape to properly perform outside or directly on windows exposed to sunlight. If you’ve ever applied tape to a surface outside on a hot summer day, you might have noticed it falls down in a matter of minutes. When working outside in the sun, make sure your tape has built in UV Inhibitors to help it adhere and work properly.

Operating Temperatures
Extreme heat, cold and humidity can all affect the tape’s adhesion, causing potential failures. It is important to understand your working conditions when purchasing tape. Generally speaking, your painter’s masking tape will work at its optimum around +70°F, but will do the job properly between +50°F - +100°F.

Keep in Mind
There are still some challenges that may arise even when you have the perfect tape for the job. Remember to make sure the surface being taped is free of dust and debris prior to application. When applying any pressure-sensitive masking tape, be sure to press down firmly and use your thumb on the edges. This will ensure thorough adhesion coverage, helping eliminate bleed through.

1. Textured walls – orange peel type walls always present a unique challenge as the tiny bumps and crevices make it difficult for a low-tack masking adhesive to flow through and adhere.
Tip: Use a higher adhesion performance 1-day masking tape if you are planning to finish the job quickly. This will allow the adhesive to move into the crevices of the textured surface and will still pull off cleanly if done within 24 hours.

2. Freshly painted surface – If paint has not fully cured, your tape may not stick to the surface. The chemicals in the tape react with the chemicals in the paint causing the tape to fall off as you apply.
Tip: All paints are different, but the tape should have a better reaction after 24 hours. Low VOC paints present a different challenge and may take longer for the tape to properly react.

3. Pulling off tape– Sometimes, when removing tape from the wall after the paint has dried, you will notice the paint has formed a plastic like coating (mainly latex paints) over the tape. When this happens, achieving a straight line by pulling the tape off is impossible.
Tip: To avoid this, pull the tape right after the painting is complete, even if not fully dry. If it’s too late, score the edge with a blade. This will break the seal and allow for a perfect tape peel off.

I know it can be tedious, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but take the extra few minutes to properly apply the correct tape and then check out your end result. I guarantee you it will be worth it!

Written By: Brandon Paas, Intertape Polymer Group, Consumer Marketing Manager