Painters Tape Tips
  Helpful tips on how to apply and remove painters tape to create a quality paint job.
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Painters Tape Tips

Using painters tape is more complex than I ever imagined. Recently I took on the job of painting our bathroom. I wanted to get away from white, so I chose a bold color for the walls. I washed the walls and woodwork, and then painted both with Kilz so it would be a good paint job. But unfortunately I didnít do as good of a job as I hoped to.

To help keep from having to worry about wiping paint from the woodwork I outlined the woodwork with painters tape. After painting the walls with two coats of paint, I started peeling off the painters tape. I became very frustrated to find that as I was peeling it off, the paint was coming off with it! The Kilz came off the woodwork and the wall paint also came off.


Thinking it was just the paint may not have been good and dry; I left it on another day but both the Kilz and wall paint continued to come off. As a last resort I started looking for information on how to prevent this from happening again. Here are some of the tips I found that could help you from making the same mistakes I did.

Applying Painters Tape

Make sure your surface is clean, dry and smooth before applying the tape. By not having a clean, dry, smooth surface, paint will seep in under the tape creating uneven edges. Be sure to spend a little extra money for a good brand of tape. Spend a little extra to purchase a good brush also. Using cheap brushes or sponge brushes can cause the paint to seep in under your tape and create jagged lines.

When putting the tape on, use only a few feet at a time being sure you do not stretch it while applying it. The reason for this is the backing of the tape is made to conform to curves in the surface. Press along the tapes edges to make a smooth flat contact with the surface. Using an old credit card, putty knife or firmly pressing with your finger will work. Lay the tape into depressed areas because if it is forced or stretched, the tape may lift up or even break.

Removal Tips

When removing the tape, pull it back over itself. If you pull too fast and the tape will tear while pulling too slow and the tape will leave adhesive on the surface. When removing the tape, pace yourself. If you let the paint totally dry before removing the tape you may need to use a razor blade.

When removing the tape, be sure the paint is dry to the touch. If the tape is removed too soon, it will create a smudge line. But also do not leave the tape on too long.

The temperature also plays a part in removing the tape. If it is too cold the tape will become brittle and tear, if too hot, the adhesive will stick to the surface.

Types Of Painters Tape

When purchasing painters tape, bear in mind that not all painters tape is alike. There are different levels of adhesive on the various tapes. Be sure to check the labels to make sure you are getting the right one for the job you are undertaking.

In an unseen location, test the tape you have to make sure it does not pull the paint off. If it does, then you need to use one with less adhesive on it.

Do not to use painters tape on lacquer, faux, delicate finishes, or new paint less than a month old. When dealing with latex paints, the tape should be removed promptly after you are finished, as long as the paint is dry.

When painting along a taped edge, always drag your brush parallel with the tape instead of into the taped edge. Resist the temptation to paint the same spot several times over. Load your brush and drag the tip along the taped edge just once, then move on! Better yet, you can use the painting technique of making shorter strokes along the edge.

Hopefully these tips will help you to avoid the problems that I had and create a quality paint job.

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