Don’t Use Tape on Wood Floors!

Have you seen the ads recently? “I’m a painter and Scotch Blue is my tape!” Happy, smiling professional painters extolling the virtues of the miracle tape that’s safe for just about any use.

It’s a sad tale that we hear all too often. “I thought using blue painter’s tape would be safe for my wood floors . . . “ The result is frequently what you see in this photo. When the tape is removed, the finish is peeled off. Suddenly you’ve got a racing stripe down the middle of your dining room!

So how should you or your painter protect a wood floor while work is being done? Read on!

Tape only paper-to-paper or paper-to-trim

When work is being done in any room with a wood floor it’s essential to put down rosin paper, a fabric tarp, or other substantial protective barrier. Not only will the barrier capture drips, it will also help to protect the floor against dirt and grit that can scratch a finish.  Don’t let a painting contractor begin work in your home unless they’ve covered the entire floor.  If they tell you that they’ll move a tarp along as they paint, tell them, “no way!”

Top flooring professionals know, however, that you never tape rosin paper or tarps down to a wood floor. The industry rule is to tape only paper-to-paper or paper-to-trim. It’s the best way to insure that tape won’t pull the finish or leave a residue behind.

This photo from the DIY network shows a very nice installation of rosin paper to protect a floor.  However, we DO NOT recommend that you use red rosin paper as the pigment can bleed through and stain your floor.

How can tape ruin the finish of my floor?

There are a number of ways that tape can harm your floor. First, when the bond between the finish and floor are weakened because of age and wear, even a mild adhesive can peel up flakes or patches of the coating, requiring spot or complete refinishing.

Second, and perhaps more frequently, a poor-quality tape will leave behind an adhesive residue that is a magnet for dirt and grit. This can lead to scratches and the premature wear of the floor’s coating.

Carefully clean any wood floor where tape has been used

If you’ve already used tape on your wood flooring, be sure to carefully clean it with a product designed for hardwood floors such as our Mr. Floor Wood Floor Cleaner. While you might not be able to see the adhesive residue, you can be sure it’s there. After you’ve cleaned the area, feel it with your hand to confirm that no residue remains. It’s likely to take several passes with the cleaner on paper towels to be sure your floor is adhesive-free and ready to shine for years to come!


What if I have to use tape on the floor?

If for some reason you just have to put tape down on your floor, consider the following rules.

  • Use the highest quality painter’s tape. (We prefer Scotch blue 2080 and to a lesser extent, 2090.)
  • Press the tape as lightly as possible to the finish and do not walk on it
  • Leave the tape in place for as short a time as possible, but no more than a few days
  • Slowly and carefully pull the tape back at a 45-degree angle
  • Keep the tape out of direct sunlight for long periods of time
  • Test the tape in a hidden area of your floor to see if the finish can resist pulling

Should you have any questions or would like to take advantage of our expertise, give us a call or open the chat window. We’re here to help!