Boat Maintaince

Masking Tapes

Adhesive Properties


As I sit here editing this website on 4/6/2024 I find a lot of these tapes are unavailable. But the one I wanted to try most but didn't is still around. I am going to buy some right now. The story is still relevant even if some of the data is just interesting rather than current. Thanks for reading.

Oh the horors of having tape pull up the paint below

Seemed like a simple enough project to paint the deck on my boat. Add some non-skid and repair several years of little cracks where the old non-skid was coming off. It turned into the project from hell when the masking tape pulled off the paint below. In spots it did not pull anything off. In spots it pulled off my fresh paint. In other spots it pulled off 10 years of paint leaving rather deep ridges. In one spot it pulled off all the paint, 60 years worth, all the way to the base cloth. This was a low stick tape. It was not as low stick as the tape I once used so I started looking for more of that tape. I could not find it but I did find a list of tapes and how sticky they are. This is not very easy to find so I thought I would share the results of the several hours I spent online finding this information.

I started with the tapes commonly available in the local stores, then added a couple more for comparison. The tapes are:
  • Standard Blue Multi Purpose 3M-2090
  • 3M Blue Advanced Tape 3M-2080
  • 3M Blue Advanced but with the green lettering 3M-2093
  • 3M-06526 percision masking tape
  • Frog Tape, standard
  • Frog Tape Delicate Surfaces
  • Sure Tape CP 29 Purple - discontinued
  • 3m 2460 Ultimate Paint Edge
  • 3M-2070 Save-Release - discontinued
The last three are not commonly available with the last one not available at all. It is still listed on Amazon, but you cannot buy it. Left off t his list is a tape that you can get at West Marine called 3M Scotch Performance Masking Tape #233. It has an adhesion of 38 so it is getting close to Duct Tape which is 55. I also left off the ever present Green Tape, 3M-256, which has an adhesion of 25, more than the standard blue tape. That said, when I say standard blue tape I mean the blue tape that comes nicely wrapped up. The real standard blue tape is 2750 and has an adhesive rating of 38.

By the way, it was the 3M 2480 that pulled off the paint. I did not find it easy release like I remember it from the last time I used it.

The graph below shows the adhesion and thickness of these tapes. The thickness may have an influence on the look of the edge so I included it. Most tapes are similar though. I included the strength of the tape as getting tape off is sometimes an issue.

It is too bad that the 3M-2070 is not available but it really was not very sticky. It was difficult to get it to stick. It is similar to Post-It. Speaking of Post-It, they do make Post-It tape but I could not find the specifications and do not know if it works with paint. At the other end, I found Duct Tape at 55 ounces per inch of width, which is the unit of measure in the graph. The thickness is in mills.




Based on this research, I have used the CP-28 tape but it isn't available as of 4/6/2024. I had good luck with it and have some roles left. It was more expensive than the Home Depot tapes but using the Advanced 3M tape cost me 2 full days labor to sand down the craters and apply two new coats. The 2460 looks good. I have not tried it for a paint job but will probably will next time as I see it is Prime and free shipping now. The Post-It tape was 2 inches wide and 36 yards instead of 60 yards. I would have to cut the roll in half on a talbe saw to make it reasonable to use. As I said, I am unsure if will even work as painters tape. The 2070 was low tack but in reality margional as painters tape because it just did not stick.

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