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What Is Gaffer Tape? Here’s Everything You May Know

Consumers, builders, DIY’ers and everyone else who buys industrial tape often think that gaffer tape is a blanket term for all heavy-duty tapes. This actually isn’t the case at all and gaffers’ tape is very different to other industrial tapes on the market, so what is gaffer tape? Here we let you know the details that you may not be aware of!

Gaffer Tape: What Is It Made From?

The first thing that tells gaffer tape apart from other heavy-duty tape is its cloth coating. Unlike duct tape, its matt backing is designed so that it doesn’t reflect light. This results in a tape that is more UV resistant than other reflective counterparts. It also means that gaffer tape is an excellent choice in industries that need tape to hold up lighting rigs and cameras but don’t want a tape that reflects any light. Due to the fact that it is constructed of cloth, it is a pressure sensitive tape that easily manipulated to fit in all types of situation.

Gaffer Tape Adhesive 

Adhesive Tape

The adhesive on gaffer tape is also different to other products on the market. Unlike other products, one of the design features of gaffer tape is that when you remove it, it won’t leave a sticky residue on the surface you have pulled it away from. It can do this because the adhesive is not a naturally occurring one; rather it is a petroleum based adhesive that has been designed to pull away easily without leaving a residue. It may be thought that because you can pull it away from surfaces easily, it may not be strong. This isn’t the case at all; the adhesive is exceptionally strong but has been designed with this feature in mind.

Is Gaffer Tape Waterproof?

For its many benefits, gaffer tape unfortunately cannot be categorised as being waterproof. If you think of a material plaster that you use, they are water resistant up until a point and then they absorb the water and lose their adhesive properties. This is the same for gaffer tape, the cloth coating will provide some level of protection against water, but it isn’t effective against consistently wet conditions. Once it has permeated the cloth layer, the adhesive will lose its binding properties.

Is Gaffer Tape Strong?

You can rip gaffer tape by hand to get the length you need for the job you need to do, but don’t think that this compromises on its strength. Gaffer tape gets it strength from the tight cotton weave across the length and width of the fabric, this result in a tape that is exceptionally strong and versatile. It can be used to fix, hold and pull items together and due to the manner in which it has been woven, the pressure makes the weave that much tighter, resulting in a high tensile, strong tape.

When Is The Best Time To Use Gaffer Tape?

There are very little applications that gaffer tape can’t be used for. As you can now purchase it in an array of colours, you can use it to hide cables in your home, not only can you purchase colours that will match your walls, you are also reducing your home from tripping hazards. Gaffer tape is excellent in arts, crafts and as a temporary fix for almost anything inside of the home, office or set. As it doesn’t leave any residual marks, you can take it off and start again at any given point, safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to spend time trying to break down adhesive prints left by the tape. As aforementioned, gaffer tape isn’t water proof, it is only water resistant. So if you are thinking of using it outside where there is a high chance that it will be exposed to consistent rain or water, gaffer tape may not be your best option.

Final Thoughts

Gaffer tape and duct tape are not interchangeable terms as some may think. Gaffer tape is constructed of a tight cloth weave that gives it a matt finish, making it relatively resistant to UV rays. Due to this weaved cloth construction it is an exceptionally strong tape that is easily manipulated to fit almost any situation. Due to the cloth construction it is not as waterproof as duct tape but does have water resistant properties up until the water has permeated the cloth, then it impacts the adhesive on the surface below. Gaffer tape is an excellent choice if you want to fix items in and around the home, in the office or on set. It can be easily removed without leaving any residue, ripped easily and you can even now get an array of colours to match almost any surface.

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