Masking Tape: Un-Du
Masking tape is a very interesting industry. For nearly 50 years, it just sort of grew without many major improvements or changes to the product. Rubber-based adhesives were applied to a paper strip and you have tape. The trouble is, the tape didn't play well with all of the different surfaces out there. As typically happens, the light bulb went off in someone's head and a new family of tapes was born.
Did you know that standard wall paint is simply colored glue? It is a liquid that dries and sticks to surfaces. That is not much different than most other glues. The primary adhesive or glue in paints is an acrylic resin. Acrylic resins are durable and they also are flexible. These are qualities you might find desirable if you were a tape manufacturer.
The trick is to modify the chemistry of the acrylic adhesives to do a wide range of tasks. In fact, that is the message that you need to know. There is no one masking tape that is perfect for all jobs. You need an assortment of tapes to be prepared for all possible challenges.
The tape company chemists simply blend and modify the acrylic adhesives to develop tapes that exhibit different characteristics.
I am quite certain that there are different masking tape manufacturers out there. But I was only able to find two that are really players in the residential marketplace.
The first and foremost company happens to be the leader in tapes of all sorts. It is the 3M Company.
If my notes are accurate, a scientist at 3M actually invented masking tape back in the 1920's.
3M, as you might expect, has a full line of specialty masking tapes. Not only do they have a tape for every possible job, but the products come in all sorts of different sizes. If you saw their full line of products, you would be impressed to say the least.
The other major player happens to be a company called Henkel Consumer Adhesives. You might more readily recognize them by their logo of the yellow duck with the painters hat. Duck tape, get it?
Read the Labels
Some of the tapes you see may look identical but they indeed are not. Most have very specific purposes, and I highly recommend that you read the labels carefully before you buy. Be sure the tape fits your need and make certain that you can remove it from the work surface in the specified amount of time.
If you are in doubt about tape dwell time or temperature conditions, always call the tape manufacturer's technical help line. Look inside the roll of tape. You will often find this information with you all the time. That was a smart use of space - the inside of the tape roll!