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Different Types of Duct Tape – Are You Using the Right Type

Different Types of Duct Tape – Are You Using the Right Type?

Duct tape is a very popular type of tape due to its versatility. Though a common household name for repair technicians in a myriad of industries, this tape was initially designed for the military as a replacement for paper tape and melted wax, which was used for sealing ammo cases. At the end of World War II, the tape found a lot of uses outside the military, and its popularity in the United States grew due to its versatility in home construction.

Over the years, the tape has undergone a myriad of changes in terms of design and construction, all aimed at making it suitable for a variety of applications. The initial design featured a strong fabric that was then bonded to a polythene film, to give it strong sealing and waterproofing capabilities. The common duct tape color back then was silver-gray; not the black duct tape you are used to seeing presently. This was purposefully done, allowing it to match metal ductwork, upon which it started to become used extensively.

Currently, duct tape is available in multiple forms and designs, which are used for a variety of applications across multiple industries. Each available variety has specific features that make them suitable for applications in their respective industries. As such, it pays to know about the different types of duct tape, so that you can choose the right one whenever you need to use it. Below is a brief look at the various types of duct tape, and the possible areas of application.

General Purpose Duct Tape

Just as the name suggests, you need this kind of duct tape for all kinds of odd applications. It features a low fabric count, low weight adhesive, and a very thin polythene film. If you are looking for a short-term solution that will later require a more long-term repair, then this is the most suitable type of duct tape to use. It isn’t ideal for applications where long-term service is needed.

Gaffer’s Tape

is another common type of duct tape; one which you have probably encountered numerous times without realizing it. It is a heavy cotton cloth pressure-sensitive tape that has both strong tensile and adhesive properties. It is the preferred tape of choice for applications in photography, film, theatre, TV production and industrial staging works. Other than application in this industry, gaffer tape tends to be preferred where a quick ad hoc fix is needed for temporary purposes. That is why it is commonly seen when it comes to salvaging broken pieces of production equipment, and for attaching temporary fixtures or props in the film and photography industries.

Professional Grade Duct Tape

Professional grade duct tape is also known as “contractor” grade duct tape. It is a step higher than industrial-grade duct tape, and this means that they come with more strength, durability, and adhesion compared to industrial-grade tapes. Within this category, there are also other sub-categories of professional-grade tape, and they are primarily used in the construction industry – especially for remediation, restoration and abatement jobs within the building industry.

Stucco Tape

is designed for application on a wide variety of textures and materials, and it can be comfortably used on brick, stucco, concrete, metal, and wood without any compromise in terms of strength and durability. The name came about as a result of its use on doors and windows before the spraying of outer walls with stucco. Because it is designed for outdoor use for several days, it is not only strong and durable, but it has also been treated to resist degradation as a result of excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Industrial Grade Duct Tape

Duct tape has a wide range of applications in manufacturing and industrial work. Of all the tape types, it is one of the few that has been developed to provide the strength and versatility desired in industrial setups. With industrial-grade duct tape, both the polythene and the fabric are upgraded with additional adhesive coating weight to offer the strength needed for industrial applications. A popular type of industrial-grade duct tape is the multicolored tape you will normally see at exhibitions being used to seam and hold carpets.

True Duct Tape

Just as the name suggests, true duct tape never disappoints, but this doesn’t mean that other tapes are somehow lower grade or knock-offs of some sort. These duct tapes were designed to seal air ducts, and they have done exceptionally well for this particular application. They are designed for permanent use, and they can withstand heat and air pressure for as long as the duct onto where they are applied is still in use – lifetime service. This category is top of the line, boasting high tensile strength, and great reliability. It is a darling in the HVAC industry and a must-have tool in every HVAC technician’s bag.

Coated Cloth Tape

Coated cloth tape is also known as a “Mission Tape”, and this is perhaps attributed to the fact that it has found its way into outer space several times during the numerous U.S manned space launches. It was the tape that was used in the construction of carbon dioxide absorbers, believed to have rescued the lives of the scientists aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. The tape’s construction features a cloth backing, making it strong and flexible. Apart from its use in space crafts, it can also be used for sealing walls, as bandages, as well as throughout electrical and plumbing applications.

Choosing the Right Type of Tape for the Job at Hand

With so many types of duct tape to choose from, it is vital that you understand the nature of the job you have at hand. This will help you choose the most suitable tape, as opposed to just looking at duct tape colors, then picking the one you think pleases you the most. Also, based on the job at hand, it should be easy for you to determine whether you need double-sided duct tape or whether the regular one-sided option will do.

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