What's the Best Masking Tape for Painting?

Updated on February 9, 2018
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Matt is a professional painter sharing house painting tips and related product reviews. Matt writes about various topics.

Choosing the Right Masking Tape for Painting

Unless you have the skills to cut in a straight line without masking, tape is essential for not only achieving sharp lines, but also for protecting trim from paint spatter when rolling walls.

The various tape colors and sizes can make it confusing to select the right product. Using the right tape reduces touch up work and saves a lot of time. I'll share my experience with different products so you can make the best choice for your painting project.

Frog Masking Tape

Green Frog tape is an excellent product I've used many times over the years. This product is a little more expensive than Scotch blue painter's tape, but the adhesion is stronger for a tighter seal.

Green (Multi-surface)

When not in use, the tape should always be stored in the plastic container it comes in to prevent the adhesive from drying out.

Wall Striping

This product is a must for wall striping when sharp lines are crucial. I've done several wall striping projects and paint bleed-through is almost completed eliminated with this tape.

Trim and Windows

Green tape is good for covering trim edges for wall painting, but not fresh paint because it can lift paint from the surface when pulled off. Frog tape also performs better than Scotch brand for masking glass on wood windows that will be painted, especially if it's cold outside. Blue tape does not stick well to cold glass.

Delicate Surfaces (Yellow)

The reduced adhesion of yellow Frog tape is best for taping over fresh paint or delicate surfaces that could otherwise be damaged using tape that's too sticky. An example would be masking the sides of stained cabinets. Sticking regular blue painter's tape on the side of a cabinet box for a few days could tear the veneer off when removed.

Cabinets and Fresh Paint

I recently painted the walls and cabinets in a kitchen, using yellow Frog tape to mask the freshly painted walls along the cabinet edges. When the tape was pulled several days later, no paint from the cabinets bled underneath onto the walls, and the tape did not tear off any of the wall paint either. This product is safe for use on fresh paint that has dried for at least twenty four hours.

Wallpaper

Low adhesion tape is best when taping over wallpaper. Thin wallpaper can tear, or the print on the surface can come off, if the wrong tape is used.

Flooring

When freshly stained floors need to be masked for wall or trim painting, tape for delicate surfaces is ideal, especially if the floors will be covered for any length of time.

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape

The 3M Scotch blue brand is the most common masking tape for painting walls and trim. When rolling walls, the regular blue is what I use the most to cover the top of base board, and it works fine for that, as well as for taping off the sides of door frames.

3M Masking Machine

Regular blue tape is the best choice when using the 3M masking machine to mask surfaces for spraying or rolling. The tape comes off the roll nicely in the machine without tearing like white masking tape does.

Interior Trim and Corners

Blue tape is good for taping interior trim and corners when painting an accent wall. The trick to get a tight seal with this product is to press along the edges with a five-in-one tool, or flat head screwdriver. Doing this almost completely eliminates bleeding paint.

This product is thicker and easier to work with than flimsy Frog tape, and it costs less, but it doesn't always stick well in colder temperatures. Oil primer also tends to leak through easily in my experience. For priming and painting window sash, Green Frog tape is the better option.

Walls and Wood Floors Painter's Tape

Like Frog tape for delicate surfaces, it does the same thing, but this product is not sold in the stores near me so I use yellow Frog tape.

Scotch Hard-to-Stick Surfaces

Regular blue tape doesn't have strong enough adhesion to stick well to concrete or brick. Hard-to-Stick surfaces is the best choice when taping lines on a garage floor for epoxy, or for masking brick on a chimney. You can also use it to cover concrete beneath wood columns or garage door frames to be painted.

Scotch Blue Vs Frog Tape: Which One Is Better?

I use Scotch blue painter's tape the most because it costs less and performs well when used correctly. But for wall striping and situations where I cannot risk paint or primer bleed, green Frog tape is awesome. I really like the Delicate Surfaces version, and I use it a lot when taping floors, cabinets, and freshly painted walls.

The best product to use depends on what you're covering. For the ease of masking trim, I prefer regular blue Scotch. The tape is thicker and easier to work with, and it won't twist or crease as easily.

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