On the topic of tape, we don’t rely on it to make straight cut lines with paint. That said, we do understand that thousands of homeowners/DIY-ers do. Pros expect it to stay tight, hold its edges, not rip coming off the roll or fall off what we stick it on. Sounds easy enough, but tape seems to be one of the most frequently complained about paint products.
What is the most important function of blue tape?
Painters use blue tape to mask off surfaces that we don’t want to be affected by what we are about to do. Pros spend a lot of time protecting all kinds of surfaces from over spray, roller spatter and other undesired messes.
We hear it from every corner of the paint world. Tape is too sticky or not sticky enough. It sticks to itself, or it sticks to nothing else. It leaves adhesive residue or even tape carnage on surfaces.
Sometimes, it seems that people must be choosing the wrong type of tape for their task. Or worse, they put blue tape on painted surfaces that aren’t even close to cured yet. It is definitely possible for operator error to cause tape failure, if not flawed tape selection.
Tape has become a bit of a lightning rod issue for painters and other general users of it.
3M, among many other achievements in innovation, is kind of synonymous with blue tape. However, they are no longer the only game in town for tape. There are several good, and smaller companies putting out popular painter’s tapes these days. 3M’s ScotchBlue brand is perhaps the most visible in paint stores, with lines of tapes that are intended for use on all different types of surfaces.
We have at times wondered if there may be a disconnect in the area of helping painters and general consumers figure out which tapes are intended for which purposes.
When we walk into the paint store, we are looking to grab some blue tape, not to read tiny little print in three languages, or to memorize another series of product numbers. It might be beneficial to all involved if tapes for different applications were color coded…we wonder why there have to be so many flavors of blue.
But, today’s discussion is about:
3M 2093 Edge Lock
3M 2093EL is a popular “multi-surface” tape, intended for use on baseboards, trim, metal and glass. By “baseboards”, we assume that the manufacturer means baseboard heaters, as there would be no other reason to really distinguish baseboard trim from other types of household trim.
This is what the manufacturer classifies as a “medium adhesion” tape, with a recommended 14 day removal time. And it is uv resistant.
Recently, we had the chance to put 2093 to the test on a real world project. We were restoring 21 window units in a home that had suffered significant smoke damage from a basement fire. The house is 18 years old, and the windows (pine) had been badly “sooted out” by smoke during the fire.
Our task was to put a robust chemical clean up on the window sashes, then sand and refinish them. Professional painters know that there are a few things in the world that scratch glass easily, and one of them is the abrasives that are used during sanding of wood. Tape selection and performance are critical on a project like this. If the tape fails, we can quickly run into hundreds of dollars in damaged glass. With 21 windows involved, thousands of dollars is even possible – not a fun insurance discussion.
This is what makes tape so serious. We take on risk, and we expect the products we use to eliminate them sometimes. This would be one of those times.
We applied 3M 2093 to the perimeters of all 21 windows where the glass meets the wood sash. Being December in Vermont, the tape was applied with about a 50 degree variation between interior and exterior temperatures. More specifically, it was about 70* on one side of the glass, and 20* on the other – a perfect opportunity for cold glass temperatures, and potential for condensation on the glass (see photo).
To complicate matters, our first task would be to get the entire window surfaces wet during the cleaning. We would be scrubbing the windows with a few different chemical mixes – including bleach, Dirtex and Jomax – all mixed with water, to eliminate each type of cosmetic issue present on the windows. After the chemical applications, lots of straight water rinsing and scrubbing.
Generally, it is counter intuitive to get tape wet, but in this case, given the nature of the hard scrubbing required on the sashes, especially at the bottoms where wood meets glass (and soot had especially taken root), we had no choice. Sure, duct tape would be a more bullet proof protective barrier, but removing duct tape residue from glass is miserable. Blue tape would be the most convenient option, in this unfortunate situation.
Upon completion of the scrub down, and after a full weekend of heated dry time, we commenced with heavily sanding the wood sash components, with particular emphasis on sanding by hand aggressively into the tape. The tape had at this point been soaking wet and dried, and still sitting on windows in cold conditions. There were just a couple of bottom corners where we reinforced the tape while sanding.
After sanding and vacuuming, we then got the tape wet again, only this time with oil gel stain, and then urethane. The tape was on the window units for a week and a half during this process:
How Did it Do?
There were no failures, and really no concerns or inconveniences whatsoever. 3M 2093 not only stuck to the glass, but stayed tight through all of this – for about a week and a half. In fact, during sanding, we actually used it as a bit of a fence to glide along on the very edges into the glass. And during stain and urethane applications, we smeared onto it comfortably. In the end, it pulled off intact, and left only a slight residue on the glass which easily bladed and wiped out.
We consider this to be a pretty extreme project application where tape performance is critical, and 2093 did its job. We would choose it again for this series of tasks.
If you need assistance choosing the right type of tape for your project needs, click to view 3M’s Tape Selector Chart. Can’t emphasize enough the need for consumers to make sure they are buying the tape that is intended for the task.
Please leave comments about your own experiences with 3m 2093 Edge Lock Multi-Surface tape. Thanks for reading.