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Tapes and their uses

Posted on April 15, 2016 by W.H.Cox

At first glance, it might seem like an uninspiring subject. After all, who gets excited about tape and the multiple varieties thereof? But in fact, it pays to know your tape; to know which kind you need for which job. So let us introduce you to the world of tape – some kinds you’ll already be acquainted with, and some may be new to you.

Tapes useful for moving

Masking tape

This paper-based tape can be torn by hand and is often used during painting jobs, to mask the areas that did not require painting. It may well come in useful if you’re painting to make your house more saleable or if you’ve just arrived at your new home and are starting to decorate it. In addition to the ease with which strips of it can be torn off, its other benefits include the fact that it can be pulled off without leaving residue behind or damaging the surface to which it was affixed. It can also be used to secure glass panes before work is carried out on them.

Duct tape / Gaffer tape

Duct tape is a tape backed with cloth or scrim (a type of fabric). Gaffer tape is a variety of duct tape which can be removed without leaving behind any residue (unlike standard duct tape). Thanks to its strength and flexibility, uses of this tape are incredibly varied. It may be useful to have before and after a house move, in case you ever need to make a temporary fix of pipework, electrics, pluming and more. Some varieties of duct tape are heat-resistant.

Packing tape / Parcel tape / Packaging tape

This is the very useful tape, here’s nothing better than this for sealing all your cardboard boxes so that they’re safe in transit. It’s like a fortified version of adhesive tape, which can be dispensed easily, using a tape gun.

Surgical tape

We’re probably all familiar with surgical tape, perhaps keeping it at home when we need to attach wound dressings, or coming across it in hospitals. It’s designed to adhere to skin without damaging it. It is also breathable. Because it doesn’t leave much residue behind, it’s sometimes used to create non-slip handles on tennis rackets and other sporting gear. Since house-moves can occasionally result in minor injuries, it’s a good idea to have some surgical tape in a first-aid box, kept at close hand throughout your move.

Adhesive tape (aka pressure-sensitive tape/sticky tape).

This is the tape that most of us know as Sellotape, a brand name which, like Hoover, is often used as if it’s a generic name. It’s the general, all-purpose tape which is useful for home and office, with a large breadth of purposes. It’s not the sturdiest kind of tape, so it should only be used for the smaller elements of your move.

Other kinds of tape

Besides the kinds of tape useful for moving house is another whole world of tape with other purposes. Here we pick just a sample of them, to help you know them better.

Water-activated adhesive tape

As the name suggests, this tape becomes adhesive once it’s hydrated. It uses either starch or animal-based glue. 

Double-sided tape

Just as the name suggests, this term covers any variety of tape with adhesive on both sides. Since it’s used to join things rather than overlay them, it is usually invisible once implemented

 Electrical tape

Also known as insulating tape, electrical tape insulates electric wires and other electrical materials. It can be torn by hand and comes away cleanly from surfaces. Consequently, it’s popular for any undertakings which require one object to be attached to another. There are multiple varieties, including some made from fibreglass cloth.