What Masking Tape Should You Use?

What Masking Tape Should You Use?

Jul 17th 2019

The main considerations for choosing masking tapes for your coating jobs is the tape material, the temperature the tape will be exposed to, the thickness, and the residue the tape might leave behind. Many tapes can now perform under very high temperatures—even over 500 degrees F—and still leave little or no residue.

Below we’ll review some of the most popular masking tapes for Teflon paint and powder coating in each of four temperature ranges. It’s also important to remember that many tape types also come in precut “disc” versions for convenience.

Low Temperature: 0° - 325°F

The common industrial-grade “crepe” tape available at most hardware stores will only perform well up to 225° F, though there is a High-Temp Crepe Tape for applications up to 325° F. The advantages of the High-Temp Crepe Tape are the thickness (7.5 mil), the ability to handle corners, the lack of residue, and the low price. In addition, 3M offers material and color options in this low temperature range, including crepe, vinyl, aluminum foil, and lead foil tapes.

Mid-Temperature: 325° - 425°F

Polyester is the most popular material for this temperature range (up to 400° F) because it is thin, extremely economical, and removes cleanly from surfaces without leaving a residue. Available in green (2 mil), red (1 mil), and blue (1 mil). These polyester tapes are the industry standard for general purpose powder coating, e-coating, anodizing, plating, and painting.

High Temperature: 425°- 500°F

The most common tape for Teflon™ paint is a polyimide tape often known by the name Kapton®. Kapton can withstand ovens up to 500° F, adheres well to any surface, and removes cleanly from surfaces without leaving a residue. It has an amber color and is available in 1 mil or 2 mil thicknesses.

Glass Cloth, or fiberglass tape, is also commonly used for Teflon™ coatings and other high-temperature (up to 500° F) coating processes such as thermal spray and plasma spray. It is very abrasion resistant, which makes it ideal for a grit blasting mask. It adheres well to any surface and removes cleanly from surfaces without leaving a residue.

Aluminum/Glass Flame Spray Tape is another high-temp (500° F) tape that combines strong fiberglass cloth with aluminum foil and is coated with special silicone adhesive. This tape has high reflection to radiant heat and good flexibility for plasma spray masking, grit blasting, and extreme temperature coating.

Very High Temperature: Over 500° F

The High-Temperature Aluminum Foil Tape from 3M is a shiny silver, 3.6 mil aluminum foil backing with silicone adhesive used in many high-temperature applications. This tape provides good holding, splicing, patching, or general protection. It is also flame resistant and meets requirements of F.A.R. 25.853(a). The performance range is from -65° F to over 600° F. As the adhesive thermosets at high temperatures, the adhesive mass becomes firm, gradually losing its pressure sensitivity while still holding the tape in place.