Masking Tape Concerns

ztp Finishing paint-grade cabinets on site how long can you leave masking tape on? September 18, 2012

I'm painting my first pre-installed kitchen (off-white). I need to prime and finish in place. Interiors are pre-finished birch. I need to mask the interiors, but I am concerned about bleed under the edge of the tape.

The tape needs to be on for at least a week due to timing. I love white masking tape for walls with sand texture, because it's the only thing that sticks. Can I use white in interiors for a week without risk of residue? I can get the 3M production white or the standard.

The face frames are built similar to frameless where they only overlap the sides and bottom of the case by 1/32nd or so due to the inset/euro nature of this job. So I do need to be accurate with the masking. What's my best line of defense?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
That just sounds like a long time. Are you sure you can't tape just before you spray certain stages? That would be better. You never know how tape is going to react. Do you have time for a test?

From contributor B:
I wouldn't worry too much about bleed through. Depending on what you're using (solvent/WB), you can either wipe it off with lacquer thinner or blade it off with a fresh razor blade. Just angle the blade and scrape it off. It should come off real easy on the prefinished ply. I always use 3M blue painters tape (not the delicate blue with orange inner wrap). More expensive, but it does the job. A week isn't too long. One thing (I learned this making surfboards for 20 years) - when you pull the tape, make sure you have a good angle on it. Pull it back as much as possible. You want to tear across the joint, not lift up on it.

From contributor M:

Good point, contributor B! You need to use the more expensive tape - it is thicker. I've finished for years and we never cheap out. I've been known to run a strip around glass doors and then tape the paper on the other tape that's on the glass. Takes a little longer, but sure not to bleed.

From the original questioner:
I found that the white masking tape is definitely stickier than the blue. Now wouldn't that translate to edges staying free from bleed under? I'm also using GF pigmented off white poly.

From contributor A:
I've left the 3M scotch blue on various parts of my own house for over a year. It leaves no residue. When we mask boxes, we use the 3/4" blue, then we use 3/4"-1 1/2" white to tape the paper to the blue. Never had a problem.