It doesn’t matter if you’re a primly-dressed office assistant or a rough-and-tumble construction worker: Everyone needs tape at some point. But how do you know which kind will successfully get the job done? If you’ve only ever dealt with duct tape for DIY repairs, how are you supposed to tell the difference between polythene and polyester? Here are four common types of tape and how they might help you.
1: Polypropylene Tape
Also known as “packing tape,” polypropylene is shiny, sticky and transparent. It works well in professional settings because of its clear appearance and flexible design; you can apply it to the bottom of a fax machine and no one will ever know. On the other hand, it isn’t very strong, and it loses its elasticity fairly quickly. Polypropylene is best suited for medium-level jobs where presentation is more important than durability.
2: PVC Tape
A favorite of builders, carpenters and craftsmen, PVC is a pressure sensitive adhesive tape that applies without fuss and peels away clean when the job is done. It’s also quite flexible, capable of twisting and sticking to awkward surfaces without breakage. If you’re looking for something to hold your project together and not leave a sticky residue afterwards, PVC tape is the one for you.
3: Gummed Tape
Gummed tape is made of sticky, tacky material from a starch or animal base. In its smallest form, it’s available everywhere as scotch tape; in its largest, you’ll only find it in specialty stores as drywall or gaffer tape. Whether or not you’ll appreciate gummed tape depends on your purpose in using it. If you just need something quick and convenient, gummed tape is easy to use and apply. If you require something that can hold up underwater or take a pounding, you might prefer a stronger brand.
4: Polyisobutylene Tape
Not to be confused with polypropylene (PP) tape, polyisobutylene (PIB) tape is strong and mighty, the kind trusted on construction sites and in auto shops. It doesn’t offer the most attractive look, but it won’t stop sticking until the temperature reaches 200°F, and it’s also waterproof, ozone-proof and UV-resistant for protection against all the elements. It can even throw off high voltages from electrical currents!
These are just four of the most common tape varieties you’ll find in hardware stores. Hopefully, this guide will help you make an informed decision the next time you need to order work supplies.