Masking Tape vs. Painter's Tape

A man uses masking tape.

Painters tape can be expensive so many do-it-yourself painters prefer to use masking tape instead. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, depending on what you're painting and what kind of paint you're painting with. Both tapes come in a variety of sizes. Price is the primary difference, but there are other considerations, like residue, the ability to withstand the application of paint, and the effects of oil and water-based paints.

Advantages of Masking Tape

Masking tape is cheaper than painters tape, making it a great alternative. It leaves clean lines and is easy to find at a wide variety of stores. It is a great option for painting window frames as it comes off of glass cleanly. It is also good for painting on canvas.

Disadvantages of Masking Tape

Masking tape leaves a sticky, hard to clean residue. It must be removed quickly, ideally within hours of applying it so it comes off cleanly. Paint may stick to the surface, causing paint to peel up when the tape is removed. Water-based paint can cause the tape to buckle or pucker letting paint seep onto the surface below. Oil-based paint will degrade masking tape more quickly, seeping through the surface.

Advantages of Painters Tape

Painters tape is hung by a man.

Painters tape is designed for painting and doesn't pucker or buckle when paint is applied. It also leaves clean lines and is available in many stores. It may be left over several days and still come off cleanly.

Disadvantages of Painters Tape

Painters tape is more expensive than masking tape.