Can You Paint Over Tape? (Different Types)

| Updated on
Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Many painters use tapes to cover things they don’t want to paint. So, can you paint over tape?

You can paint over paintable tapes that have a textured surface and are thin and less sticky. For instance, you can paint over painter’s tape. But, if the tape has a slick or glossy surface, you can’t paint over it because it won’t stick. 

If you apply paint over unpaintable tape, the coating won’t stick and will peel off.

Do All Tapes Accept Paint?

Paint sticks to most types of tape, but not to all of them. Some types are made from materials that repel moisture (or liquid), so you can’t apply paint over them.

By design, tapes are meant to join materials together and not to be painted over. Also, most of them have a rubber-like and slick texture that prevents liquids from sticking.

When you apply paint over tape, it will stick initially, but after a while, it will start to peel off. The paint will peel (or slide) off because it didn’t stick properly to the slick surface of the tape.

However, some types, such as painter’s tape, are designed to accept paints because they have a textured surface made from crepe paper material. This textured surface allows the paint to stick over them. They also have low adhesives meaning the coating won’t come off if you remove the tape.

What Happens If You Paint Over Tape?

What Happens If You Paint Over tape

When you paint over tape, there will be poor adhesion between them. That’s because the slick nature of the tape will prevent the coating from penetrating its surface, so the adhesion will be weak. The paint will gradually crack and peel off.

However, if you apply paint over paintable tape, the coating will stick and dry well. That’s because they have a textured surface and are designed to accept paint.

For paints to stick, they must penetrate the surface and the surface must be textured (or rough). This allows the coating to bite (stick) over it. However, most tapes have a slick surface that doesn’t allow penetration.

For instance, black tapes have a slippery texture, making it difficult for paint to stick. So, if you apply paint over it, the adhesion will be weak because of the slippery surface.

However, if the tape is textured, the paint will stick well over. Tapes that are textured are made from paper or crepe. This includes regular paper, masking, and painter’s tape.

Types of Tapes:

Types of Tapes You Can Paint Over?

Duct Tape

Paints don’t stick to duct tape because it has a slick surface that prevents penetration. Also, they are waterproof, meaning the surface won’t absorb any moisture. The combination of the slick and waterproof features prevents the paint from sticking.

If you paint over it, there will be a weak adhesion and the coating will peel off. Also, it has strong adhesives, which will rip the finish when it is pulled from the surface.

Painters Tape

You can paint over painter’s tape because it’s designed to accept paint. This tape is made from crepe paper and has a textured surface that allows penetration. Also, it has a low level of glue or adhesives, meaning that the finish will not come off when you pull it off.

Gorilla Tape

Paint sticks to gorilla tape, but you shouldn’t paint over it. That’s because it is formulated with rubber-based adhesives that will rip the finish off when you pull it. So, you can paint over it only if you won’t remove the tape afterward. 

Masking Tape

You can paint over masking tape because it has similar features as painter’s tape. This tape has a textured surface that accepts any type of paint. However, you shouldn’t leave paint over it for too long as it can cause issues in the finish.

It also has a strong adhesive so the finish can come off if you pull it.

Drywall Tape

You can paint over paper drywall tape, but you can’t paint over fiberglass mesh drywall tape. This is because the paper drywall tape has a textured surface and accepts paints.

However, the fiberglass mesh drywall has tiny holes and squares in the surface, so the paint coating won’t be even. The finish will look patterned and uneven if you paint them.

Clear Tape

You can paint over clear tape if you don’t plan on removing it afterward. However, if you use it to demarcate the surface while applying paint, you shouldn’t paint over it. That’s because it will be difficult to know where the tape is when you want to pull it off after the finish has dried.

Also, it tends to leave glue on the surface which is hard to remove. 

Scrim Tape

You shouldn’t paint over scrim tape because it is made of fiberglass threads woven together. This means scrim tape has pores and spaces in it. So, if you paint over it, the finish will be uneven. 

Also, when you remove it from the surface, irregular lines will form in the finish.

Scotch Tape

Paint won’t stick to scotch tape because it has a slick and shiny surface that prevents penetration. Also, scotch tape is transparent, meaning it will be difficult to know where the tape is after the finish has dried.

How To Paint Over Tape?

Painting over tape is easy, but the finish will become messy and uneven if you don’t follow the right steps.

Here are the tools you need:

  • The required tape (preferably painter’s tape)
  • A gallon of paint
  • A paintbrush
  • Clean rags
  • Dish soap
  • A bucket of water
  • A pair of work gloves

1. Wipe and Clean The Surface

First, wipe and clean the surface. Cleaning will remove the dust nibs and filth on the surface. If the surface is filthy, the tape and the paint won’t stick properly.

To clean the surface:

  1. Use a mixture of dish soap and water. 
  2. Pour the soapy water into a clean rag. 
  3. Use the dampened rag to swipe the stains and filth off the surface. 
  4. Rinse the surface with clean water. 
  5. Wait for the surface to dry.

2. Put The Tape Over The Surface

Once the surface is clean and dry, put the paintable tape over it. Press it well into the surface to prevent bleed-through. This also helps to prevent paint from flowing underneath the tape.

3. Apply The Paint

To paint over tape:

  1. Use a paintbrush because it gives you more control.
  2. Don’t apply too many coats as it can be difficult to remove the tape after.
  3. Leave the finish to dry.

4. Remove The Tape

After the paint dries, remove the tape. If you remove it while the coating is still wet, the finish will turn messy. To remove it, pull one end of it and lift it until it’s completely off the surface. 

You can also leave the tape under the paint. But, it must be thin and transparent to prevent finish cracks. 

5. Touch Up The Edges

After removing the tape, you might see patches in the finish. If you do, you must apply a thin coat of paint to touch up those areas.

Types of Paints You Can:

Here are some types of paint you can or can’t use over tapes:

Latex Paint

You can use latex paint only over painter’s tape, but not over other types. That’s because latex paint is water-based and won’t stick to slick natures like duct or scotch tape. 

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is oil-based and will stick to tapes with textured surfaces only. If the tape is slick or glossy, the enamel paint won’t stick due to the high levels of oil it has. Its solvent (oil) will slide off the slick surface and won’t stick. 

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint sticks to most tapes because it has impressive adhesive qualities. However, acrylic paint is thin, and if you use tapes with strong glue, its coating will come off when you remove the tape.

Final Words

You can paint over tapes as long as you use the right type. For example, paints won’t stick well to tapes with slick and glossy surfaces and a strong glue (adhesion). However, they will stick well to paintable tapes with a textured finish and weak adhesion. 

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

Leave a Comment