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Two types of pre-taped masking film and why you should use them

First of all, what is pretaped masking film?

Pretaped masking film originated by combining masking tape and masking film to make painting easier, cleaner and faster in the automotive finishing business to protect vehicles from overspray.

The plastic film of the pretaped masking film is treated with a unique static cling formula that attracts paint overspray and also reduces flaking to allow for multiple uses during painting jobs. In terms of the masking tape component, it is specially designed to work when spraypainting a vehicle, even when temperatures get hot, and it gives a clean even peel when removed without leaving residue on the vehicle.

In the same way as the automotive finishing business, the concrete coating business has a decorative concrete resurfacing technique that is a similar process to spraypainting. In concrete resurfacing a special coating is sprayed onto the surface through a hopper gun, which is like a spray gun, but instead of spraying paint, it sprays a polymer-modified concrete through the gun onto the surface.

Therefore, the intent of all pretaped masking film is the same, to protect the surfaces around the application process. When it comes to concrete resurfacing, the intent is to protect outdoor surfaces like walls, pool fencing, etc, from overspray.

Where the difference comes in is where the pre-taped masking film is applied. What happens is that in concrete resurfacing the masking tape is attached close to the ground, it holds to the base of the wall and then the plastic film is pulled upwards and tagged to the wall so that when the applicator is spraying onto the concrete the surrounding areas are protected. The main photo is an example of how this looks once it has been taped up.

If the applicator does not use a pretaped masking film and the polymer-modified concrete gets onto the walls it’s really difficult to clean off and can be costly to repair, so it’s easier to mask up and protect the surfaces and prevent a problem from overspray.

There are a few major differences in the type of pre-taped masking film as in the painting industry this is mostly for indoor use and is unaffected by the weather, therefore the tape is thin, the plastic weak, and the product is cheap.

When it comes to the automotive industry, the adhesive on the masking tape has to be fit for purpose for the automotive industry, and as heat and other chemicals are involved it requires different specifications and plastic.

In both the painting and automotive industries, they mask up in more controlled environments, thus it’s easier to use basic pretaped masking film products without special features.

When you move outdoors, applicators have to deal with all kinds of challenges like the wind and UV, heat and cold, dew and moisture, first and uneven or different textured outdoor surfaces.

This is why the construction or building industry needs a purpose-built, high quality, construction-grade product that can function well for builders, concreters and construction workers. The construction industry needs a multi-purpose pre-taped masking film that can stand up to the elements when working outdoors on all kinds of jobs. 

Therefore, for a product to be effective, it must be suitable for masking up outdoor areas in diverse weather conditions, be fit for purpose across many different industries, and be able to perform when conditions change.

This is where Mask Up Outdoors, our own proprietary product comes in. We didn’t just take an automotive pretaped masking film and change the size of the tape or film, we designed and tested it with the end purpose in mind, for those working outdoors doing decorative concrete resurfacing.

The problems the applicators were facing was that the tapes often came off in the wind, the plastic tore, it was hard to get it to stick to damp or dirty surfaces, and if left on too long, it would leave masking tape residue when pulling off.

We wanted to help the construction industry by designing and manufacturing high quality, professional pretaped masking film that met the expectations of applicators as well as performed outdoors.

With this in mind, we developed two types of masking film, one with crepe paper tape and the other with cloth tape. The first one with the crepe paper tape was a modification of automotive tape where we replaced the natural rubber masking tape with an industrial-grade tape acrylic rubber with a crosslinking agent with better adhesion and water resistance. We also strengthened the plastic so it didn’t tear in the wind as easily. With the waterproofing agent, it helped it stick when areas were damp, dirty or affected by dew.

The second kind of pretaped masking film was where we tried something new, that is, to not use a crepe paper tape but a renderers grade cloth tape, and this has proved to be very popular as overall it performs even better than the first tape.

Both products, the one with crepe tape and the one with cloth tape are suitable for masking up outdoor areas and have similar yet distinctive features. One of the main differences os that one tape is 50m long while the other is 25m, which makes a cost difference, but depending on the application, you have two very good tapes to choose from depending on the associated conditions.

The tapes have the following features:

  • General purpose, heavy-duty tape for masking up and protecting outdoor areas
  • Good cling properties and conformance to irregular surfaces
  • Excellent holding strength
  • Strong tackiness with good adhesion, even on dirty surfaces
  • Solvent and moisture resistance to minimize bleed through
  • Water-resistant properties and can stick to damp outdoor surfaces
  • Clean and residue-free removal within 24 hours or 14 days with the cloth tape
  • Electrostatic film properties where PE film clings to the surface
  • Superior ripping and linearity to improve workability
  • Easy unwinding and application of multi-folded drop sheet
  • Easy cutting and trimming
  • Temperature resistance
  • Meets restriction of hazardous substances compliance
  • Meets registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals compliance
  • Retail wrapped in a heat-shrink film

So the final question is: Which of the two tapes do I use?

The simple answer: it depends!

What we have found is that smart applicators carry both tapes in their van and use either of them depending on the situation. We have also found that some like the pretaped masking film with the crepe tape because you get more bang for your buck, but others like using the cloth tape and pay the extra as they say it’s just better!

What works for one may not work for another, so why not try them out, at the end of the day it will save you time and money.

If you are looking for a good quality pretaped masking film made for masking outdoors, then look no further than Mask Up Outdoor and contact Barefoot Concrete or buy it directly through our online shop.