How to prep surfaces for better tape bonding

You may have once used a piece of tape that didn't adhere to the surface. You knew the problem wasn't with the tape because you had used it before with good results. The problem may have been that you didn't prepare the surfaces for adhesion.  

A properly cleaned surface is critical to tape bonding. If there is dust, dirt or another residue on the surface, it creates an unstable bond with the tape. That's why preparation is key. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare surfaces for adhesion.

Degrease metals

When you use tape with metal, you should first remove any fats, grease and oils from the surface. Wiping it down with a paper towel may not be enough. You might need to employ a solvent-based cleaner or specialized degreaser to get rid of oils or grease first. After that, you can use a water cleaner. Wipe off the surface of the metal and make sure it's completely dry before you try applying the tape. 

Seal porous surfaces

Preparing porous surfaces for tape can be challenging. You may need to seal the material first to create a unified surface that tape will stick to immediately. Porous surfaces may include: 




You can use a range of sealers to get the surface ready. Whatever you're using, be sure to try it out on a small part of the surface first and then test the tape before sealing the entire thing. 

Use abrasion carefully

Roughing up the material can create an additional surface area where you can use the tape. When you roughen something, it may become more open to bonding. A bit of abrasion can clean a surface and add more texture. For instance, using sandpaper on glass may remove mildew and dirt that has resisted the tape's adhesiveness. But remember that abrasion can also weaken materials such as glass. Be sure to work carefully and stop if the makeup of the surface becomes compromised. 

Utilize a primer

Primer can bridge the gap between an uncooperative surface and an adhesive tape. You can use it on plastic, paint and other surfaces. You only need a thin coating of primer to reap all the benefits. Make sure to clean the surface before applying the primer to avoid bumps and bubbles. 

Ensure dryness

Tape won't stick to a wet surface. Even the slightest bit of moisture can prevent bonding between a surface and an adhesive. Dry off the surface after cleaning it, and let it sit for a while if you can spare the time. Air drying offers the most effective way to ensure all moisture is gone. Then you can try the tape again. 

Find the right type of tape for your needs

Cleaning surfaces before taping can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your tape. Not sure what type you need? The tape experts here at tesa can help you find the right adhesive solution for your surface. Contact us to schedule a consultation.