Using Painters Tape Properly Using Painters Tape Properly

When it comes time to paint an update your home's appearance you've know you're going to need a range of painting supplies . We're all familiar with the standard painting supplies such as brushes, rollers, paint trays and drop cloths, but most of us wouldn't spend any time thinking about a very valuable contributor to a professional looking paint job – painters tape. All painters tapes aren't the same and knowing some of the differences between tape types as well as how to use it properly can turn an OK paint job into a great looking room.

All painters tapes aren't the same

  • There are at least two kinds of tape – regular painters tape for use on dry painted surfaces, trim, woodwork, metal or glass and “Delicate” painters tape for use on faux finishes, wall coverings and freshly painted surfaces. (up to 24 hours old) Read the labeling on the package to be sure you get the proper type of tape for your project.
  • Size does matter with painters tape so it's commonly available in widths ranging from 3/4” up to 3”. For most jobs 1 1/2” tape will be the best option however, narrower tape works better on thin baseboards or trim while the wider tape can provide quicker coverage to protect large, flat surfaces.
  • Don't ever use masking tape instead of painters in your project. Masking tape has much more adhesive than painters tape and will end up lifting the underlying paint right off the wall or trim.

Techniques for using painters tape

  • Applying painters tape
  • The underlying surface needs to be smooth, clean and dry or paint can seep under the tape and you'll end up with an uneven paint line.
  • Apply the tape in one to two foot long sections and firmly press down the edges of the tape with your finger or a putty knife.
  • Be careful you don;t stretch the tape or it could split leaving an opening for paint to seep underneath.
  • Painting over painters tape
  • Move your brush parallel to the edge of the painters tape rather than cutting into the tape edge.
  • Avoid going back over the same spot more than once by loading your brush with paint and painting in a long, smooth stroke along the edge.
  • Removing painters tape.
  • Allow the paint to dry to the touch before you start to remove it - taking it off too quickly will likely smear your fresh paint job. If time is important, you can help paint dry faster by putting a fan in the room to keep the air moving constantly.
  • Remove the tape by slowly pulling it back on itself. If you pull too fast the tape will likely tear but pulling too slowly will leave behind adhesive residue.
  • If you've allowed the paint to dry thoroughly (24 hours or more) it's a good idea to us a utility knife or razor blade to cut the tape loose before starting to remove it.

Learn Proper Painting Techniques >

Murray Anderson is a veteran freelance writer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!