With the amount of masking tape a professional painter uses on a single job, it’s essential to evaluate whether the tape you’re using is right for your workflow. Using the right tape for the right job can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of your career. Everything depends on where you’re masking and how long you anticipate your project to take.
Tape can generally be placed into three different tiers: production tape at the low end, then blue tape, then FrogTape which is the highest quality. With each of these tapes, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean that the “better” tape is the right one for your job. The biggest differences between these tapes comes down to release time, resistance to uv rays and heat, as well as the quality of the paper itself.
The release time refers to the amount of time the paper can stay on a surface once it has been applied. After the duration of its release time, its adhesion may fail, it may badly splinter when you attempt to remove it, or it may leave behind residue which will be difficult and time consuming to remove. Production tape has a release time of only three days, blue tape extends that to 14 days, and frog tape reins supreme with 21 days. For most of my jobs, I rely on CP 199 production tape (an inexpensive product from Shurtape) because we pull our tape every day. While this is ideal for my workflow, if you’re planning to leave your masking up across several days, it’s probably worthwhile to invest in a blue tape.
Blue tape is significantly more resistant to both UV rays and heat. This is most important to keep in mind when you’re masking the outside of a home on bright summer days. Roofs especially can get extremely hot depending on your climate. Again, if your tape fails, you’ll be wasting both time and money. When choosing the right tape for the job, consider where you’ll be masking and what conditions it will be exposed to.
I want to keep things simple, but not all blue tapes are created equal. There are plenty of places online to find “amazing deals” on cheap off-brand blue tapes, but again, you get what you pay for. I conducted some tests with various blue tapes and some of these low end products lost their adhesion by day two! One of the recent innovations in the market is FrogTape Blue. This new tape combines the Paintblock technology of traditional Frogtape with the lower price of blue tape. You can get precise and clean lines unlike any other blue tape available.
So are you using the wrong tape on your projects? Most do-it-yourselfers complete their jobs over the course of several days so I would highly recommend upgrading to blue tape or Frogtape. For professionals, it’s entirely dependent on your workflow and where you’re applying your masking. If like me, you can remove your tape within a single day, there’s no reason to be spending the money on anything beyond production tape (except the benefits of Frogtape’s Paintblock technology). Of course there are exceptions to this, but knowing the advantages of each tape will help you make the call for yourself and help you save money over the course of your career.