Here's the deal:
Gaffer Tape vs Duct Tape
These four questions will help you decide which adhesive-backed tape product is best suited for the job at hand:
1 ) What characteristics should the tape your using have?
A ) Temporarily: Like securing a cable to the floor. You may not want the most aggressive adhesive available.
Gaffer Tape is the best product for this application, because it is strong enough to give you lots of holding power, yet the adhesive is not so strong that it is going to damage the surface it is attached to.
B )Permanent repair or attachment: Then you should consider the most aggressive adhesive available, even though it may leave adhesive residue or damage the surface it is attached to. If you do not plan on removing the tape, then this should not be a concern.
Duct Tape works fine for this purpose too, but has a more aggressive adhesive which may, in some cases, damage the surface it is attached to when it is removed.
- Duct tape is great for making repairs, as it is durable, waterproof, conforms to the surface it is being used on and is really sticky. A duct tape repair will last for a very long time.
2 ) How long do I need the adhesive to last?
Temporary: Like a label, a product with a non-aggressive adhesive may meet your needs. These products are usually less expensive, however they do not stand up in environments where they will be exposed to water, sun light, or any caustic substances.
Permanent: You will want to consider a tape with some sort of fabric reinforcement. Gaffers tape is true cotton cloth and derives its strength from a tight weave of cotton fibers. Duct tape is a vinyl tape with fiber reinforcing. It is not true cloth. Both will give a stronger bond than either paper or vinyl-only tapes.
3 ) How important is cost?
- Whether to use duct tape or gaffers tape? It may be hard to understand the value of a decision to use a product that seems almost identical to something but costs twice as much.
- Handling the two products will help you understand the cost difference. Gaffers tape is made of true cotton cloth, a woven product which gains great strength and more consistent handling characteristics from this true cloth base. No matter how short the piece it tears straight. Gaffers tape does not stretch like duct tape, and most important, doesn't reflect light.
- Gaffers tape's non-reflective nature allows you to make invisible repairs, ones that don't show up even in the bright lights of television and film work. This may be gaffers tape's best characteristic. It is also available in many colors, again giving it an advantage in making an invisible repair or in matching your carpet.
4 ) Do I need to concern myself with what is left behind when, or if, the tape is removed?