When it comes to painting your home. most people will know that using some form of masking tape is a very good idea. In this article we explain the differences between the various types of masking tape, including the popular frog tape, and painter's tape that comes in either a distinct blue or green colour.
There are a few reasons why you would use masking tape for painting. These are:
- It helps leave clearly defined paint lines
- It should leave a nice sharp clean edge
- It protects one surface when painting one adjacent to it
Most home owners will be familiar with masking tape when they are decorating their home. We have listed below the key differences between masking tape and painter's tape.
You may hear people talking about "Frog Tape," and this is simply one brand name for painter's tape.
Key Differences in Masking and Painter Tapes
- Good for general purpose painting
- Has a good stickiness
- Needs to be removed as soon as the painting has been completed and is still wet
- Can suffer from paint bleed
- Does not always give clean sharp lines
- Is pretty cheap to buy especially in bulk
- Comes in a wide selection of widths and lengths
- Once the seal is opened it will dry up over time and become pretty useless
Painter's (Frog) Tape
- Excellent for general purpose painting
- Has a low tack adhesion so doesn't lift paint when removed
- Can be left on for around 10 days if needed
- Comes in a selection of widths
- More expensive than masking tape
- The container used is sealed so will make the unused tape good to use at a later date
- Leave clear neat lines on all paint surfaces
In summary, painter's tape is about 2-3 times more expensive than ordinary masking tape but it does do a better job.
A typical 50 metre roll of 25 mm masking tape costs about £1.50-2.00, and the equivalent painter's tape will cost around £5.00 for the same size.
DIY Stores Masking Tape Conundrum
Like many items in the DIY stores masking tape is just not that simple to buy. The reason for that is the many different types. These tapes come in different widths, different lengths, different brands such as frog tape, scotch tape, painter's tape, blue tape etc.
Just to confuse things a little more there is also a masking tape made by Duck tape.
Hopefully we can make some sense of all of this, so as you can simply pick the best masking tape for painting.
Masking Tape Buyer's Guide
Masking Tape Width
The wider a tape is the more expensive it will be. These tapes come in a range of widths from as small as 10mm and up to 50mm. It really depends how neat your painting is when cutting in. If in doubt or a beginner to painting then buy a bigger width.
If you are neat and tidy or an experienced painter, then a 20-30 mm tape is perfect.
Masking Tape Length
You can buy different lengths, and generally speaking the longer the roll you buy, the cheaper it will be. Trust us when we say that you will nearly always use more masking tape than you think when painting a room.
As an example if you mask off a door frame it will take about 16 feet of tape (5 metres)
With skirting boards it is the length of the room x 2 and the width of the room x 2. A typical 12 feet by 12 feet living room will need about 45 feet of tape (14 metres)
Preventing Paint Bleed
At some point the paint on one surface will meet the paint on an adjacent surface. For example a door frame and a wall. Paint bleed is where one of the paints bleeds into the other, and this is very noticeable when two different colours are used.
Good quality painter's tape stops this from happening. Most emulsion paint used for ceilings and walls and contains water. That water can easily leak into other paints, and painter's tape stops that from happening.
Professional Paint Lines
It is really nice to have clean neat lines with no bleeding. Painter's tape is the better choice for this. It isn't so important between walls and say a door frame, as the lines merge well together. However, if you are painting a shape in a wall a different colour, or trying out stripes, then the tape will make a huge difference.
When to Remove Masking Tape
Masking tape should be removed as soon as the painting is finished. Pull away at a 45 degree angle and that will give you the best and neatest results.
If you are not sure what tools are available for painting then check back to our Painting and Decorating Tools article for some more ideas.