Even if you spend time researching and selecting the best product for the job, you might still find from time to time that your adhesive cloth tape simply won’t stick. We understand this situation can be extremely frustrating. That’s why we’ve compiled this useful troubleshooting guide to help you identify what the cause of your not-so-sticky situation might be.

The right tape for the job

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that there’s a good reason why we manufacture such a wide range of products at Advance Tapes: each one is designed for a different set of requirements. If you’re using one of our adhesive tapes and you’re struggling with any of the problems listed below, we can probably offer an alternative that’s better suited to your needs.

Step 1: Is it the tape?

If you’ve had success before and you’re using the same tape, on the same surface, and under the same conditions, then there’s a chance your tape might need to be replaced. This can sometimes be an age-related problem. Although adhesive tape can often keep working for many years, it will eventually deteriorate, even when it’s still on the roll. However, before you rush out to replace your tape, keep reading. It’s actually more likely that one of the following is the source of your problem. 

Step 2: Is it the surface?

Different materials obviously have very different scientific properties, and this can have a significant effect on the performance of adhesives used on them. Even “all-purpose” tapes might have trouble with certain applications, so you might need to check whether a tape designed specifically for the material you’re working with (e.g. cardboard, wood, steel, PVC etc.) might perform better. The texture of the material you’re trying to use your tape on can also make a major difference. Some tapes require a smooth surface to adhere properly, otherwise they won’t make enough contact to form a strong bond. You might need a tape that’s more conformable or has a thicker coating of adhesive for rough surfaces. You will almost always get better results if you clean and prepare your surface before trying to stick anything to it, making sure any dirt, dust, oil or water is removed. Gently using a cloth to wipe and dry the surface will usually achieve this without doing any damage. Alternatively, if constant cleaning isn’t practical (for example, if you’re doing messy construction work), certain high-tack tapes will still be effective even on dirty or dusty surfaces.

Step 3: Is it the user?

The surface might be prepared, but what about you? For most applications you can obviously use your hands to apply tape without worrying about oil from your skin affecting the adhesive. However, if your hands are particularly wet or oily from working with machinery or using cosmetic products, this might present more of an issue.

Step 4: Are you applying it correctly?

Once you have clean hands, ensure you are applying the tape exactly as instructed. A certain amount of pressure is usually required for pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes to work properly, hence the name. Placing tape lightly won’t necessarily provide much of a bond, but applying some pressure ensures the adhesive makes as much contact as possible with the surface. Another thing to avoid is stretching the product as you apply it. After being positioned, some stretchy tapes (especially those made of PVC) will gradually shrink. With long strips of tape, this can have a much more noticeable effect and cause your tape to unstick itself from the surface.

Step 5: Is it the temperature?

If it’s too hot – or more likely if you’re in the UK, too cold – when you try to apply your tape, it might not function as well as it should. You shouldn’t let either the roll or the surface get too cold before applying the tape, which can cause the adhesive to become too hard and unable to stick. All our tapes have a defined service temperature range, and some are designed to withstand more extreme temperatures than others.

Still having trouble?

We’re constantly developing new ideas and improving the performance of our existing products, so we know a thing or two about using the best adhesive for the job. If you still have any problems using our products or similar tapes, feel free to get in touch and we’ll do our best to advise you on the best solution!

This post is also available in: French German

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