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What is duct tape?

Duct tape, also called cloth tape, is a long-lasting adhesive tape which can be easily torn by hand.

It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use thanks to its strength and water resistance. It’s available in various widths, lengths and colours – with the most common colours being black, silver and clear.

There’s even duct tape that glows in the dark, which is useful for crafts, Halloween decorations or locating items in dark settings. As well as this, there’s double-sided duct tape which is coated in adhesive on both sides. This is ideal for sticking two objects or surfaces together without making holes or the tape being visible.

Duct tape can have different grades, which help determine the applications it should be used for. The grade refers to how the tape is made – so the type of adhesive used and the strength of the cloth backing. The strength of the cloth backing depends on the number of threads it has, with more threads making it stronger and therefore more difficult to tear.

It was originally called duck tape because during World War II the US military needed a waterproof tape to keep moisture out of ammunition cases. Johnson & Johnson manufactured the tape and, because of its water resistance which emulates water off a duck’s back, it was referred to as ‘duck’ tape.

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Common Adhesive Problems

Believe it or not, standard-issue duct tape is not as versatile as you think. It has its uses—making permanent repairs on the spot —but the following is a list of surfaces that are problems for duct tape.

  1. Wet surfaces: While duct tape is water-resistant, it should only be used for emergency leak repairs. Prolonged submersion in water will cause the adhesion to peel away.
  2. Hot surfaces: Surfaces that reach temperatures over 140°F cause the adhesive to soften, lose its strength, and slip from the attachment.
  3. Cold surfaces: Similarly, duct tape does not work well in extreme cold. Freezing temperatures cause the adhesive to harden which diminishes its sticking power.
  4. Surfaces with Prolonged Exposure to UV Light: UV light can break down the tape’s adhesive bond over time. If you need the tape to remain exposed to direct sunlight, it’s best to use a product that’s been specially treated for UV protection.
  5. Uneven Surfaces: Duct tape has trouble sticking to rough surfaces such as concrete and stucco. Because it has a thin adhesive layer, this specialty tape is only able to make contact with the high points of a surface, which produces a weaker bond.
  6. Dirty Surfaces: In order to achieve maximum adhesion, surfaces must be clean, dry, and dust or oil-free.
  7. Corrugated Cardboard: Don’t use duct tape to seal cardboard boxes. These porous surfaces contain many small fibers on the surface that break away and cause the adhesive bond to fail.
  8. Materials with Low Surface Energy: Materials, like Teflon, have low surface energy, which means it prevents the adhesive from “wetting out” or spreading out to form a strong bond.
  9. Painted Surfaces: Applying duct tape to a surface that’s been painted or treated with another sealant means that the tape is only adhering to the surface layer and not the actual substrate.

Wholesale Waterproof Duct Tape of Good Adhesive PVC Pipe Wrapping Tape

FOB Price: US $ 0.2-0.5 / Roll Min. Order: 2000 Rolls
  • Certification: RoHS, ISO9001
  • Color: Yellow-Green
  • Application: Lighting;Light;Insulation Equipment
  • Adhesive: Rubber Adhesive
  • Base Material: PVC
  • Type: Insulating Tape
  • Suppliers with verified business licenses 4.0 Dongqin International Limited

  • Fujian, China ISO 9001, ISO 9000
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Self Adhesive Duct Sealing Tape (MA01)

FOB Price: US $ 1.5 / Roll Min. Order: 2000 Rolls
  • Application: Pipe Protective
  • Type: Solid
  • Chemistry: Hybrid Insulation
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Thermal Rating: Y 90
  • Maximum Voltage: <10KV
  • Suppliers with verified business licenses 5.0 ZHEJIANG MAXWEL INSULATION TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.

  • Zhejiang, China ISO 9001, ISO 14001, BSCI
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What’s the best duct tape to use?

There are many different types of duct tape to choose from. To help, here are some of the most popular brands. Click through to view the full product range:

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