By David Gaylord – Gaylord Hardwood Flooring
Tape Is Kryptonite on Hardwood Flooring
In the past few years we have experienced issues with painters tape removing the finish from hardwood flooring. This isn’t something that only occurs with our finish but is a problem across the entire industry. More and more manufacturers are adding this as an exclusion in their warranty.
With hardwood floor finishes being so durable, you have to wonder how this could possibly happen from something as harmless as painters tape. It is actually the chemical resins in the tape used to prevent it from drying out that causes this to happen. These chemicals are trapped under the tape and will eat away at the finish over time. The longer the tape in on the floor, the more likely it will be to cause problems.
Where we see this happen most often is on the flooring near stair nosings or other transition pieces. These areas are prone to this for two reasons. #1 at a nosing or transition piece you have people stepping on the tape constantly, further pushing the chemicals into the finish. The second reason is that these are often pieces that have been ripped along the sides or cut at the ends. Since the surface isn’t entirely sealed, the chemicals are able to get in under the finish which causes the most damage.
Some brands of painter’s tape are safe on hardwood flooring but only for a short period of time. Say 24-48 hours or so. Typically, when someone puts tape on their hardwood floor to install protective paper, it is on the flooring for far longer than 48 hours. The safest way to prevent this problem is to avoid putting tape on the hardwood flooring altogether. If you are installing protective paper or something similar to prevent damage, be sure to tape the paper together and not directly to the hardwood flooring.