Painter’s Tape: Friend or Foe?

I used painter’s tape in about one third of the rooms I painted this summer in our house. For the most part, I found painter’s tape to be more of a hindrance to a good painting job than a help. Read about the pros and cons of using painter’s tape.

There were a couple of types of painter’s tapes used in the home improvement project.

Painter’s Tape: Friend

There are some advantages to using a painter’s tape for trim work or to help you paint the wall not the ceiling and vice versa. There are certain situations where the use of painter’s tape will make your interior home improvement project easier. Here are the times when you should say yes to painter’s tape for an interior wall painting project.

1. Limited Painting Surface

You will only be painting the wall or the ceiling. When you are only painting the wall or the ceiling, you will want to be super careful about not getting paint on the opposite surface.

If you will only be painting one or the other, it would be to your advantage to use painter’s tape.

2. You do not have a steady hand.

If you cannot paint neatly, painter’s tape will help you keep your edges straight.

3. You can lay the tape in a straight line.

In order to use the painter’s tape properly, it needs to be placed in a completely straight line with no bumps, bubbles or folds. This can be a challenge for some DIY painters.

Painter’s Tape: Foe

Here are the home improvement situations where you might want to skip the painter’s tape.

1. You have a strict deadline.

It’s not a good idea to use painter’s tape on a primed or painted surface that is not completely dry. While a painted wall or ceiling may feel dry enough to place painter’s paint on, the results could be disastrous.

2. False Sense of Security

The biggest drawback to using painter’s tape is that it gives you a false sense of security when painting. In the words of Caroline Mulford in Sixteen Candles, ” It makes it okay to be really, super careless.”

3. Adhesive Residue

Some brands of painter’s tape will leave behind an adhesive residue. It will take some warm water or a straight razor edge to remove it. The underlying paint will need to be fixed.

4. It Doesn’t Stick

The opposite may also happen. Painter’s tape, even a brand new roll will not always stick to the walls or trim. It’s possible to waste a lot of tape this way. When you are trying to hang up the tape and it falls down it may get dirty or fold over itself. Then it needs to be replaced with a new piece.

5. You’ll Be Putting Up Crown Molding or a Border

If you already know that you will be using crown molding or a wallpaper border, you may not need to worry about the edging between the ceiling and the wall.


Personal experience
Sixteen Candles, movie

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