By Ian Crump of PaintTech Decorators
I have been doing this job almost 30 years now and for 20 of those years I have been spraying. We were the first company to take spraying into the Royal Albert Hall in London and it took quite a bit of convincing! If the deadline hadn’t been so tight to get finished I don’t think they would have allowed it..
There were very few masking products available at that time. We had to buy thick plastic to cut down and used tapes that left residue with bleed through that was crazy! There were no UV resistant tapes or the selection of products like there is now.
We were working on a project in Thames Ditton for builders TH Smith that had lots of Georgian windows of which we were down to paint the inside. We spent far too much time masking the top floor before prepping and spraying them. When we came to take the tape off we realised that the glue had left residue on pretty much all of the glass and was a nightmare to remove! The back of the house was even worse than the front because it got more sunlight so we spent hours with window scrapers getting it all off! That was when we worked out that lots of masking tapes are not UV resistant and if left on for any length of time won’t come off easily – yes we learnt the hard way but it never happened again.
It was then that we learnt that tape isn’t just tape, especially when you are spraying…
That evening we spent time researching masking tapes and ordered a few different ones to test. We didn’t just test on windows though, we also tested on woodwork and walls as well to see how they all fared. From that we worked out which ones worked best for us and ran with those on the rest of this project including the windows downstairs – these tapes became our baseline.
Later down the line we started testing more and more as new products came to market and still do this now.
If a product is better than our current baseline then we will consider adding it to our system or replacing the baseline BUT only once it has been tested for an extensive period of time in various different environments, on lots of substrates, at varying temperatures and times of the year.
We would then adopt the new system but only for 10-20% of the project with our baseline being used on the remaining so that if there are failings then it doesn’t affect the entire project and is therefore less costly to put right.
This testing not only works for tapes, papers and dropdown it also works for paints, fillers etc too.
So what are we looking for when testing tapes?
We have mentioned this before in a previous blog but this is how far we go and what we are looking for when we are testing any tapes:
- How sticky or tacky is it – believe it or not some of the less tacky tapes actually stick better
- How it tears off the roll – does it tear fairly straight or does it ribbon on the roll
- How well does it pull off the roll
- How does it work on your hand masker – does it fit the major brands hand masking machines, does it pull onto the paper nice and straight.
- How well does it stick to multiple surfaces – depends on the use of the tape but ideally we want it to be able to stick well to new plaster, existing plaster, woodwork, windows, carpet and tiles.
- Does it pull paint – this isn’t always down to the tape as its sometimes the preparation itself
- Is it UV resistant on glass – like we have said, we learnt this the hard way.
- And finally, price – this doesn’t always have to be a major factor in our opinion however it does have to be competitive if it’s comparable to another tape in the market.
Introduction to Q1
When Q1 masking tapes were introduced to us by Jack Frost back in 2016 he had been using them for a while – they were his baseline. I trialed them for a while but for me they just didn’t fit into my systems as they were a more general purpose tape rather than a sprayers tape and there is a very distinct difference.
When we heard the chatter about Q1 launching a new range of tapes our ears pricked up.! Q1 got in touch with us because of our strength in the industry and because we run the biggest community for sprayers. We hear and see a lot of info posted about tapes – the good, the bad and the ugly. Masking plays a huge part when you are spraying as you can’t spray without using masking of some sort. Masking is always used in some way within our systems and we talk a lot about this on the courses at PaintTech Training Academy.
We were very keen to meet up with Q1 to find out more about the new tapes launching specially for the spraying market. We were sent a few samples to try out before we met with Q1 at the Edenbridge, Kent Academy so we could have a chat about our first impressions. We met up with Casey, Alex, Ionela and Davide and ran through our thoughts so far, including where the new tapes fitted into the industry alongside other current brands. We were really impressed with the knowledge and passion that Davide showed for delivering a range of tapes for sprayers. We talked in depth about what we, as decorators and sprayers want and need from a masking tape and manufacturer. Q1 most of all are prepared to listen, take criticism, re-vamp and adapt their tapes to suit the industry which is a huge plus as far as we are concerned.
Where and how did we test it?
Following on from the meeting Q1 had the idea that PaintTech Decorators, our sister company could test the tapes within our working environment on site and on the projects that we were working on. We had a better suggestion; if we were the only ones to test the products then you would only have our view based on our own projects BUT by sending out the tapes to 20 people who are also decorators and sprayers then you would get a mixture of results over various kinds of projects from residential to light commercial. We agreed to send tapes to people within our support group which is a group of volunteers who have done courses with us at PaintTech Training Academy. We believe that training is just the beginning of the journey and ongoing support plays a really important role in succeeding.
We correlated the information between the group and have come to the conclusion that this company is working incredibly hard with our industry to achieve for the first time what the industry is actually asking for – a full masking system for sprayers..
So whats my view:
It’s still early days in the testing phase for me but so far the results have been positive. For me as a decorator and sprayer thought the biggest and most exciting factor is that Q1 are wanting to develop the product to make sure that they get it right…