The Ultimate Guide to Protective Tapes and Films

Jun. 10, 2024

How to Protect Your Surfaces


Tapes and films for surface protection are highly versatile and used across various industries, including medical, aerospace, electronics, steel and aluminum fabrication, acrylic and polycarbonate coated plastics, graphic arts, and woodworking. These protective materials feature a low to moderate tack adhesive, ensuring they leave no residue upon removal.


Paper Tapes


Protective paper tapes are ideal for masking applications such as painting, printed graphics, and screen printing. These tapes offer easy and clean removal and come in various tack levels. The paper is available in standard to premium quality, allowing for detailed die cuts and pre-spaced graphics. However, these tapes are very soft, can tear easily, and may require special packaging during shipment.


A latex-saturated application tape with a natural rubber high-tack adhesive is perfect for clean pick-up and transfer of lettering and graphics. It's essential that your protective paper lays flat on the exposed release liner to prevent wrinkling, tunneling, and edge curling of cut graphics and die-cut lettering.


- Low Tack: Suitable for pre-masking large format digital prints.

- Medium to High Tack: Ideal for most sign shop applications.

- High Tack: Used with heavyweight paper for small to medium graphics.

- High Tack Layflat: Lays flat on silicone release liners, perfect for most sign shop applications.

- Pallet Tape: Protects the print surfaces of textile screen print equipment, extending the life of the pallet.

- Painter’s Tape: Ensures a clean release after painting walls, wood trim, glass, woodwork, metal, and more.


Protective Tapes and Films

Protective Films


Originally designed for window protection, protective films are transparent and shield surfaces from dirt, moisture, and handling. These films leave no residue, protect non-porous surfaces, prevent scratches and abrasions, and are transparent. They are often used to protect windows, flooring (including floorboards and carpets), and finished metals and plastics during mechanical processes, storage, and transportation.


Protective films can be used for permanent or temporary applications on solid surfaces. Suitable substrates include lacquered plates, plastics, glass, laminates, and reflective aluminum. They can be applied by machine or hand and are available in various widths to fit your needs. Their high transparency makes them suitable for protecting critical surfaces where aesthetic appearance is important.


- Low Tack Film: Used for pre-masking medium to large vinyl graphics.

- Medium Tack Film: Ideal for most sign shop applications.

- Medium Tack and Easy to Tear Film: Designed for simplified applications.

- High Tack Film: Best for small vinyl graphics and lettering.


Protecting Surfaces in the Automotive Industry


The automotive industry uses surface protection tapes and films in various ways, including masking mirrors and door panels during assembly and delivery to the dealer.


Latex-saturated protective paper can be hand-cut or die-cut for specialty detail painting, such as pin-striping. It is designed to prevent paint from bleeding through, ensuring a clean, sharp edge. These tapes can be applied by machine or by hand and are engineered for both low-temperature performance and high-heat applications, withstanding temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional features can include flame and corrosion resistance for harsh environments.


Urethane protective films are strong, durable, and virtually invisible, helping vehicles maintain a newer appearance for longer. These films create a barrier to protect vulnerable areas such as front bumpers, hoods, side mirrors, and panels.


In addition to exterior protection, automotive manufacturers aim to protect a car's interior as well. Interior protective tapes must adhere to various materials and textures, remove quickly and cleanly without leaving adhesive residue, and resist thermal degradation when exposed to high interior temperatures.


Protecting Surfaces in the Aerospace Industry


Protective tapes and films have various applications in the aerospace industry. High-grade protective tapes are used for aircraft painting and stripping, as they are solvent resistant and protect windows, hatches, and other areas during these processes. Surface protection products are also employed in refurbishing aircraft components, securing seams in aircraft air conditioning, duct and air handling systems, and galleys.


Protection of Carpets


Carpet protective films use a puncture-resistant film and a specialty adhesive. These films quickly adhere to carpets without floating and are easily removed without residue after extended use. They can be printed for automotive applications or reverse wound for quick and efficient commercial installation.


Many advancements are being made in surface protection tapes and films. We can help you find cost-effective and time-saving solutions for your application. Contact us to see how we can turn your ideas into reality.

Protective Tapes and Films

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