Here at Walker Tape Converting, we know a thing or two about tape. For starters, we know that there are a lot of them. This can make finding the right one for your project difficult. How do you know where to start, let alone sort through all of those tapes?


We want to make the tape selection process as simple and painless as possible. To help simplify it for you, here are the four main things you need to think about when picking a tape.


The Environment


The first thing to ask when finding the right tape is what kind of environment will the project be in. Temperature, UV exposure, water exposure, and humidity can all have an impact on how long and how well a tape can hold.


For example, let’s say your tape is going to be used to hold a windscreen on a boat in place. In this case, you’ll need a tape that can handle a lot of water, humidity, and UV light. Luckily, most (if not all) tapes come with data sheets. These lists include things like what kind of temperatures, water, and light they can handle.


The Carrier


Once you’ve narrowed down the tapes to the ones that will work within the environmental conditions, you can start thinking about the carrier.


The tape carrier is the material that the adhesive is put on. The different types of carriers include:


  • Paper
  • Film
  • Fabric
  • Non-woven
  • Foam
  • Foil
  • Filament
  • Transfer (no carrier)


Each of these carriers can change how the tape behaves. Paper carriers, for example, offer great surface protection, which is why they’re used in masking tapes. Non-woven carriers are really durable, but can still be torn by hand, so they are used for medical tapes. Meanwhile, foil carriers are thermally conductive, making them great for HVAC tapes.


The use of the tape can change which kind of carrier you will want for your tape.


The Adhesive


After the environment and the carrier, you’ll need to pick your adhesive. Initially this may seem simple, after all, aren’t all adhesives basically the same? 


In all reality, different adhesives have different bases. Each base will have a different combination of:


  • Tack
  • Adhesion
  • Cohesion


These three are known as the triangle of tape. They explain how an adhesive works. Tack is how sticky an adhesive feels when you touch it, it affects how easily the tape grabs hold. The actual action of holding on (instead of just being sticky) is adhesion. Finally, cohesion is the strength of the adhesive, if it isn’t strong, it will tear and not be able to hold on.


Some of the main adhesive bases include:


  • Rubber
  • Acrylic
  • Silicon


Each has its own combination of the sides of the triangle of tape. For example, acrylic-based adhesives have great adhesion and cohesion, but not the best tack. They can hang on for a long time, without tearing or coming unstuck, but it takes a minute for them to grab on.


When picking an adhesive, you need to consider how important adhesion, cohesion, and tack are to your project.


The Liner


The last thing you need to think about with tape is an important, yet underappreciated one. It’s the liner. This is the layer that covers the adhesive until you’re ready to use it. It’s like the paper wrapper that covers a bandage.


People tend to underestimate the liner because it doesn’t exactly change how a tape behaves like the others do. It instead affects how easy the tape is to work with.


Different adhesives are going to stick to different materials better. So, if you match an adhesive with a liner that it sticks to, then it will be difficult to take the liner off for use. This is why it’s such an important part of finding a good tape.


The different liner types include:


  • Polyester
  • Kraft Paper
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Glassine


Most tapes come with a liner already on them. If you find a tape that is perfect on all aspects except the liner, don’t worry. Here at Walker Tape Converting, one of the converting capabilities we offer is relinering. We can take off the old liner and put on a new one that’s perfect for your project.



No matter what your project or what kind of tape you’re looking for, Walker Tape Converting can help. Reach out to our experts to get your free solution and quote today!

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