Using Adhesive Tape for the Building Trade

Adhesive tape is an incredibly versatile thing that has a lot of uses in everything from school projects to maker-space projects, and more industrial jobs such as in the building trade.

Double-sided tape is often used in the construction industry. The type of double-sided tape used in construction is rather different than the stuff that would stick your bits of paper together in school, but it’s still, essentially, the same thing.

Double-sided adhesive tape is great for situations where you want to join materials at a single point, while spreading the stress load and while creating a neat and smooth appearance.

Yes, screws and rivets can be stronger but they can also be unsightly. If you can find the right adhesive for the job then you can get a great finish for your building project.

Finding the Right Adhesive

That’s the challenge. Adhesive tape needs to be able to cope with the environment that it is being used in. Tape that works well in warmer climates might not work in cold or wet climates.

Tape that can handle cold might not cope with changing temperatures, humidity, or exposure to UV light. The adhesive that you would use for grippy surfaces might not work if you need to bind something to smooth concrete.

Thankfully, adhesive technology has come a very long way. This means that there are more tapes that can be used in construction and building scenarios, and we can expect to see that trend continue over the next few years.

What Can You Use Tape For?

In the building trade, there are a few options for using adhesive tape. One area where it is being used a lot these days is to overlap vapour barrier seams, and to attach them to the walls. Vapour barriers are important in crawlspaces, as builders need to seam the building envelope and prevent air leakage. Being able to seal it with barrier tape is better than doing it using screws.

Another area where it gets used a lot is to overlap and seal housewrap seams. If you use single-sided tape, then it could allow water to penetrate and migrate behind the tape, then reach into the structure. Double-sided tape is more efficient at making sure that no water gets through.

Adhesive tape can also be used to secure flooring underlay, to help improve sound attenuation. This is something that is particularly important in modern buildings. As buildings become more and more airtight, sound transmission is becoming an issue.

In smaller building jobs, adhesive tape is often used as a temporary mounting, so that you can line something up and hold it in place while you work with more permanent mountings. Examples of temporary placement include light switch junction boxes, crown moldings, electronic thermostats, electric panels, and even basics such as light switches.

Tape can be used for floor protection, to install building materials, and for many other reasons. The fact that you can use tape to make installing small mountings and other parts easier is important, and will become increasingly important over the coming months and years in many parts of the building sector as we are starting to experience a labor shortage.

Skilled tradespeople are in short supply, and having the option to use tape – in areas where it is safe to do so – to serve as an extra pair of hands is a hugely useful thing.

Know Your Job

It’s important that you understand your job. The tape that you use for seaming is not the same as the tape that you would use for flashing. Seaming needs high performance tape for a tight building envelope, while flashing needs a different tape that is still high performance, but that is more aimed at preventing water penetration.

The construction materials that are being used matters too. With walls, you’re likely to be dealing with weather-resistant barriers, rigid insulation, and OBS or plywood.

Meanwhile, flooring is likely to have you using tape with underlay or vapour barriers, and roofing tape would need to work with underlay, and again plywood or OBS.

The tape that you choose will need to match the conditions that you are working in. Pay attention to temperature variability (which can often have more impact than overall temperature), UV light, wind, water, moisture, and the presence of dirt.

An ideal environment would be dry, clean, and have a predictable ambient temperature, but that’s a scenario that you are unlikely to encounter often.

There are numerous different kinds of tape on the market, and matching the tape you use to the performance required can sometimes be tricky, but it is worth the effort to save you from expensive repairs in the long term. Tape is more convenient, and often more reliable, than glue, but you need to choose the right type.