Choosing the Right Masking Tape

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso

Using masking tape is probably the only time when one would hope for a “sticky situation”, and this guide will help you navigate that. When it comes to tape, there’s not a one-size-fits-all, because different supplies adhere better to different materials. For example, the tape you use on metal won’t be the same tape you use on wood flooring. Each of these tapes will help you achieve the perfect paint lines, just make sure to read the fine print when choose which adhesive is best for your project.

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Most Purposes

Frog Tape has a special ingredient that turns paint into a gel before it can bleed underneath, so you get super crisp lines. The medium-strength adhesive won’t harm wood finishes, but avoid putting it on wallpaper. Use it outdoors for up to 14 days and indoors for 21. It has a one-year shelf life.


Delicate Surfaces

Scotch-Blue Delicate Tape (#2080) has low- to-medium adhesion, so it won’t damage vinyl wallpaper, finished wood floors, or primed wallboard—although it can harm uncoated paper or foil wall coverings and other vulnerable surfaces. Pulls up clean for up to 60 days.


Carpets & Other Flooring

Where you need to protect carpet, sheet flooring, or unfinished wood and metal from paint, medium-to-high-adhesion Scotch General Purpose (#2050) goes down tight and pulls away cleanly up to three days later. Caution: It may leave a residue if allowed to bake in the sun, and it’s not recommended on finished wood floors, wall coverings, or painted metal.


Tight Corners

Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Corners and Hinges (#2090CM) comes in handy precut, medium-adhesion shapes that you peel off and stick to window panes, hinge leaves, and other tight spots. They won’t lift paint that has cured at least 30 days, and they’ll pull up clean—and survive in the sun—for up to 14 days.



Medium-adhesion Painter’s Mate Green Tape is a useful decorating tool for creating faux tile patterns, stripes, or borders. It won’t damage paint that’s over a month old, and it peels off cleanly after eight days, even after being left in full sun.



The paper backing on Razor-Edge Gold tape (#CP 60) is so sheer that you can position it just right and even cut it in place to follow a line. Its low-strength adhesive won’t pull up wallpaper or cured paint. Safe to leave in place for 60 days, indoors or out.

On Brick

Scotch Hard-to-Stick Tape (#2060) adheres to rough, hard-to-stick-to interior surfaces like brick, concrete, and rough wood, but it will leave behind adhesive residue if used outdoors or if left in place for more than three days. Unlike most tapes, it peels cleanly off lacquered surfaces. Not recommended for use on wallboard, wall coverings, or finished wood floors.



High-adhesion Scotch Heavy-Duty Poly Stucco tape (#3260) also sticks to metal and vinyl. It has a waterproof polyester backing, so it’ll hold its grip in the sun for up to a month. 


(This information was originally presented in This Old House magazine. Author // Jenn Largesse.)

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso
Dani is House One’s assistant editor. As a Norwalk, CT native, Dani graduated from UConn with a BA in Digital Media and Design. This millennial longs for the days of All That, Tamagotchis, and Dunkaroos. When she’s not working, she’s hanging outdoors, playing with her dogs, or watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

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