Your Ultimate Guide to Picking the Right Adhesive Tape

Ask any avid DIYer and he or she will tell you that every household must have some form of adhesive tape. If you don’t agree then maybe a list outlining what this product can do for you will change your mind.


Before discussing its uses, we’ll discuss all you need to know regarding adhesive tape—starting with what it does.


adhesive tape


What is Adhesive Tape?

Simply put; adhesive tape is a product used to join broken objects together. Sure, you can use screws or fasteners but with adhesive tape there’s minimum damage to the object being fixed. As a result, the final appearance of the fixed product looks flawless.


What is Adhesive Tape Made Of?

Adhesive tape basically consists of a backing which is coated with a sticky substance. And it can be applied using pressure, moisture or heat depending on the type of adhesive.


What is the Backing Made of?

It’s important to note that the backing is made of different materials depending on the type you pick. The most common materials used include:

  • Metal foil: Here the backing features aluminium which is known to resist extreme temperatures as well as high humidity.
  • Felt: This is the type to use if you want to minimise any form of scratching on the surface you’re working on.
  • Foam: This backing is protected by a liner. It’s ideally suited for weather-stripping or mounting.
  • Cloth: A backing made of cloth can be used on heat resistant items and will provide that much needed reinforcement.
  • Plastic film: Plastic film also known as polymer contains plastic layers. This type is usually available in different colours or prints. You can also pick a plain one depending on the intended purpose.
  • Rubber: Adhesive tapes which have rubber backings are highly flexible and best suited for electrical insulating. Also, they are very easy to stick.
  • Silicone: Adhesive tapes which feature a silicon backing can also be used for insulation as well as to apply on gaskets. This is because silicon is extremely resistant to high temperatures. Plus, it’s very flexible. Silicon based adhesives are also widely used for medical applications. But note that this is the most expensive out of all the types.
  • Glass: Backings made of glass or fibreglass are known to provide a layer of stability. This is the type to use on objects that are continuously subjected to harsh temperatures. These kinds of backings are known to resist any form of rotting or shrinkage even under extreme environments.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic is a colourless product which can handle exposure to heat and oxidation. However, it’s on the expensive side. Note that it’s a little hard to fix on surfaces and it’ll also need more time to cure.


Types of Adhesives

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

As the name suggests, this type of adhesive requires some degree of pressure to apply it. This means you don’t need any heat or water to apply this product; it simply requires finger application. All you need to do is place the tape on your hand and use your finger to apply pressure and stick it to the object in question.


Pay attention to the temperature in the room. This type of adhesive tends to be tacky at room temperature. Low temperatures make it difficult to stick while high temperatures make it too stretchy.


What you’ll appreciate about this type of adhesive is that it can be used on a variety of surfaces. You’ll be getting value for your money.


Water Activated Tape

With this tape, you’ll need water to ensure application. This means it needs water to get sticky. Water activated adhesive is generally a less expensive option compared to the other types. And it’s ideally suited to seal boxes.


The next time you’re moving houses and want to seal those boxes, consider this type.


Heat Activated Tape

Heat activated tape requires heat for it to become sticky. Usually it’ll need temperatures of 180ᵒF or higher for it to be tacky. This is the tape to pick for use on difficult surfaces such as those made of rubber or plastic based materials.


Be prepared to pay a little more for this type of adhesive because it doesn’t come cheap.


Factors that Negatively Affect Adhesive Tapes

It’s important to know which conditions are favourable for effective application using adhesive tape.  The following factors may result in poor adhesion.


As you might have gathered from the above-mentioned information, the temperature in a room affects the tackiness of the tape. Neither cold nor hot temperature conditions are desirable for adhesive tape to work. Make sure you pick an adhesive tape that’s suited for the temperature you’re using it in.


How clean is the surface you want to work on? Make sure it’s free from dirt or grease as this hinders proper adhesion of the product. Aside from cleanliness, make sure the surface is uniform. If it has high and low contact points this will make for an uneven application affecting adhesion.


Do you now realise the value of adhesive tape in your home? Make sure you pick the right one depending on the desired application.


Keep some in your drawer at all times for emergency situations. You’ll thank us later.

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