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Unless you have the skills to cut in a straight line, painter's tape is essential for not only achieving sharp, crisp lines, but protecting trim or baseboard from paint splatter and paint bleeding when rolling walls.
The various tape colors and sizes can make it confusing when selecting the right product. Using the right tape saves time and reduces touch-up work due to paint-bleed and sticky residue. I'll share my experience with different products so you can make the best choice for your painting project.
|FrogTape Multi-Surface "Green"||FrogTape Delicate Surface "Yellow"||3M ScotchBlue Original Multi-Use|
Glass or Cold-Weather Application
Safe Application on Fresh Paint (24-Hour Drying Time)
Delicate Surfaces (Wallpaper, Floors, Wood)
Priming and Window Sash
Green FrogTape, often referred to as green painter's tape, is an excellent product I've used many times over the years. This product is a little more expensive than ScotchBlue painter's tape, but the adhesion is stronger for a tighter seal.
When not in use, this tape should always be stored in the plastic container it comes in to prevent the adhesive from drying out. Here's my review of how green FrogTape performs:
The reduced adhesion of yellow FrogTape is best for taping over fresh paint or delicate surfaces which could otherwise be damaged using tape that's too sticky. An example would be masking the sides of stained cabinets. Sticking regular blue painter's tape on the side of a cabinet box for a few days could tear the veneer off when removed. Here's my review of how yellow FrogTape performs:
The 3M ScotchBlue brand is the most common masking tape for painting walls and trim. When rolling walls, the regular blue is what I use the most to cover the top of the baseboard, and it works fine for that. I also use it for taping off the sides of door frames. I use it with the 3M masking machine.
The 3M Hand-Masker is probably one of the most useful paint prep tools in my tool bag. I've had mine now for over ten years, and it still works great. The tool applies the tape and masking film to the surface at the same time instead of having to do both tasks separately. Regular blue tape is the best choice when using the 3M masking machine to mask surfaces for spraying or rolling. The tape comes off the roll nicely in the machine without tearing like white masking tape.
Here's my review of how 3M ScotchBlue painter's tape performs:
Like FrogTape, ScotchBlue Walls + Wood Floors does the same thing, but this product is not sold in the stores near me and is not locally available, so I use FrogTape Delicate Surface.
Regular blue tape doesn't have strong enough adhesion to stick well to concrete or brick, so Scotch Hard-to-Stick Surfaces is the best choice when taping lines on a garage floor for epoxy or for masking brick on a chimney. You can also use it to cover concrete beneath wood columns or garage door frames when painting.
ScotchBlue and green FrogTape are often locally available, but I use ScotchBlue painter's tape the most because it costs less and performs well when used correctly. But for wall-striping and situations where I cannot risk paint or primer bleed, green FrogTape is awesome. I really like FrogTape Delicate Surfaces, and I use it a lot when taping floors, cabinets, and freshly painted walls.
The best product to use depends on what you're covering. For the ease of masking trim, I prefer regular BlueScotch. The tape is thicker and easier to work with, and it won't twist or crease as easily.
Always be sure to choose your tape type based on your paint project—are you painting drywall, wood, metal, wallpaper, etc.? Consider the details.
I use ScotchBlue painter's tape the most because it costs less and performs well when used correctly.
All painter's tape is classified as masking tape, but not all masking tape or white tape is high quality enough to be categorized as painter's tape. While all masking tape is made with crepe-paper backing, painter's tape is made with a more durable backing. This durable backing prevents the wrinkling, residue, and tearing that commonly occurs with general-purpose masking tape.
Selecting the right painter's tape depends on the surface you are working with and the paint job. Masking tape is rated by how many days the tape can be left on a masked surface without leaving a residue. Common pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape ratings include 1- 3- 7- 14- and 60-days with 7- and 14- being the most popular. Longer ratings, such as the 60-day, have less adhesive and work well for delicate surfaces compared to 1-day ratings which have high adhesion.
Green FrogTape Multi-Surface and ScotchBlue Original Multi-Use. ScotchBlue is generally half the price but delivers comparable results and crisp lines.
ScotchBlue tape works wonderfully for textured surfaces, but it's more about the technique. Treat the surface as you would a flat surface, making sure the application site is clean. Some choose to apply a thin amount of paintable caulk to seal the tape; you can smooth it with a rag and allow it to dry before painting over it.
Green FrogTape Multi-Surface is great, but it is also more costly than ScotchBlue. ScotchBlue does the job when used correctly.
3M Auto Care Performance Masking Tape is commonly recommended for use with water or solvent-based paint. Be sure to select the correct paint according to your project.
Kapton tape has a silicon-based adhesive and can withstand high temperatures. It is used for the manufacturing of fragile electrical components.
Here are some tips for how to prep ceilings, floor trim, window door frames, tile, etc. in a room for a big paint project, including supplies and setup:
You might want to use a tape measure to measure the dimensions of the space ahead of time. 1 gallon of paint generally covers 400 square feet or a small room. This formula can be applied to larger spaces as well. Some websites offer calculators for precise measurements and surface area estimates. Also, consider how many coats of paint are needed.
Yes. Direct sunlight may cause a number of problems with a paint project. The sun gives off heat and may cause the paint to dry too fast or unevenly leading to issues with adhesion, brush marks, or lap marks, which occur when wet and dry layers overlap due to inappropriate temperatures.
Here are some general tips and mistakes to avoid to make your paint project successful:
Best of luck with your project!
Question: What is the best tape when covering textured ceilings?
Answer: I would use either the green frog tape or the yellow frog tape (delicate surfaces). Frog tape is thin and easier to work into areas with bumpy surfaces. It sticks well and less likely to bleed paint.
Question: I will be installing a very expensive paper weave metallic wallpaper. Baseboards will go in after paper install, unfortunately.. but I’m on contractors schedule.. what tape will be best to use on this delicate paper?
Answer: To be honest, I wouldn't personally stick any tape onto expensive wallpaper, but the yellow Frog tape for delicate surfaces has worked well for me. However, I've never used this tape on wallpaper, only painted surfaces. Yellow Frog tape is meant for use on delicate surfaces.
Question: I’m about to paint my sons newly skimmed bedroom. It’s been mist coated and the ceiling painted. I’m not torn between which tape to use for my edges. I’ve used green frog tape before with great results but noticed last time I used it it was pulling the paint off underneath back to bare plaster. What tape would you recommend to avoid this?
Answer: I would use the yellow Frog tape. This tape is meant for use on delicate surfaces. The tape has the same paint blocking technology as the green Frog tape. The yellow version is a low tack tape that's less likely to pull paint off upon removal.
Question: What's the best tape for industrial textured floor?
Answer: Green Frog tape. With the textured surface of the floor being uneven, press the edge of the tape down to fill in gaps where paint could leak through.
Question: I want to 'paint' tiles on my kitchen backsplash. In this article, you recommend Frog green tape for best 'bleed free' results. However, the fellow in the video clip recommends yellow Frog tape for easier removal and best results all around. Which color of Frog tape should I use?
Answer: Either color Frog tape will be fine, but if you need to apply the tape directly onto the painted tile, yellow is best. The yellow tape is for delicate surfaces. Both colors have the same technology to prevent bleed-through.
© 2018 Matt G.
Charlie on August 26, 2018:
What is the best tape to use to cover textured celings?