For some people, painter’s tape and masking tape may seem just the same. They both have a crepe paper backing, but they have a few characteristics which make them different from one another.

The main difference between masking and painter’s tape is the adhesive. Painter’s tape is designed to avoid paint bleeding and remove easily. Therefore, it’s less likely to leave behind a sticky residue or cause damage to the painted walls and other surfaces.

In this article, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of each tape type and show you the differences and similarities. Apply the information to choose the best tape for your needs.

Advantages And Disadvantages

As with everything, masking tape and painter’s tape have pros and cons. For example:

Masking Tape

Leaves clean, straight linesCan leave behind a sticky residue that is hard to clean
Is easy to findMust be removed within hours of application for clean removal
Is cheaper than painter’s tapeCan peel up paint if it sticks to the tape’s surface
Is great for painting on windows or canvasCan buckle under water-based paint, which allows the paint to seep below the tape

Painter’s Tape

Leaves clean, straight linesMore expensive
Is easy to find 
Won’t pucker or buckle, no matter what type of paint you use 
Can be left on a surface for several days after painting and still be removed without any problems 

Masking Tape vs Painter`s Tape

Masking tape and painter’s tape have the same weights, and you can use them for the same jobs. In fact, they’re from the same family — all painter’s tapes are masking tapes. But on the flip side, not all masking tapes are painter’s tapes.

If they are really similar, is it necessary to pick one over the other? The answer depends on your project type, time, and your budget.

Masking Tape

Masking tape is somewhat more versatile. It has a stronger adhesive than painter’s tape. Masking tape is good for making labels, fixing lightweight items, and painting.

However, its sticky strength has a downside. When you remove it from any type of surface, masking tape may leave behind a residue. The residue builds quickly. It can be a little frustrating to clean up. So, it can be good for projects where the tape is meant to stick around for a bit.

While you use masking tape for paint jobs, it may come with some risks. It can bleed through the edges and even some paint to come up with the tape when you remove it. But, it is a cheaper alternative to painter’s tape. When you use it carefully and remove it quickly, it may help you create a straight line on small paint projects.

Painter’s tape and masking tape may feel almost alike, but there are some differences between a paint job. Masking tape certainly works, but when it comes to getting a professional finish and creating less clean-up, consider making a trip to the hardware store to invest in a roll of painter’s tape.

Painter’s Tape

You can value painter’s tape by do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike for its ability to create crisp, clean paint lines. It includes a water-repellent surface so as not to crinkle and ruin the quality of the line edge when you are using water-based paint.

As the adhesive isn’t as strong or sticky as it is on regular masking tape, painter’s tape peels off residue-free and doesn’t take any extra paint with it. It’s good to remove the tape as soon as the paint has dried. You can leave painter’s tape on the walls, floor, ceiling, or windows for up to 14 days before it may cause any major issues. Because of its thinness, it’s less likely to rip or crack as you pull it off the wall.

When you choose distinctive colors to create brand identification, you can easily differentiate it from all the other tapes on the market. The color also helps to stand out against most paint colors during application.

The one disadvantage is how it might hit your wallet. Painter’s tape is more expensive than masking tape. However, it’s worth considering the time and headache that you’ll save from not having to touch things up and clean off the leftover residue.

Differences Between Masking Tape And Painter’s Tape

Masking Tape vs Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape is a special kind of masking tape. Masking is the act of protecting a surface from change. In this circumstance, you want to protect the wall from paint.

Masking tape and painter’s tape share many features. Both are:

  • Made with crepe-paper backing
  • Easy to tear manually
  • You can write on and use them as labels easily
  • Easy to find
  • Used to achieve a straight, crisp line

Masking tape and painter’s tape have similarities, in terms of look and feel. However, there are some characteristics that vary from one another:


They are made for different purposes. Masking tape is good for general impromptu applications and uses around the house at steady temperatures. Painter’s tape is good for painting jobs, indoor and outdoor.


You can use masking tape for painting, but you need to remove it in a matter of hours. However, you can leave it on for a long time.

Functional Integrity

Water-based paint may cause masking tape to collapse or crumble, letting the paint drip on the surface below. Oil-based paint could degrade masking tape more quickly, seeping through the surface. The painter’s tape doesn’t collapse or crumble whenever you apply the paint.

Clean Lines

Generally, both tape types are able to help you achieve a clean, straight line. However, painter’s tape tends to adhere to surfaces better and longer than masking tape. It is possible to leave painter’s tape on a surface for up to 14 days without causing harm. Masking tape may also produce clean lines if you remove it within a couple of hours of applying it, but the tape is not reliable for a long time.

Look at the label in order to know exactly how long you may leave your tape on the surface and still produce clean lines. Most tapes have a label that shows the amount of clean removal time, ranging from a couple of days to weeks.


The adhesive is the clear difference between the masking tape and painter’s tape. The masking tape is much stronger. It may be helpful for all kinds of household and workshop tasks like repairing a torn vacuum bag, making quick labels, or marking a line on laminate boards. For this reason, they don’t split when being sawed. Sticking a piece of masking tape on the tile not only allows you to easily mark where to drill but can also help prevent the tile from cracking.


The differences in how the tape works help determine the best uses for each option as well. Masking tape is good for painting windows, glass, canvas, and small projects. If you have a small hobby project, masking tape is sufficient.

On another side, painter’s tape is excellent for projects where you need to leave the tape on the surface for several days, like a large painting project or home remodel. It’s also perfect for precision lines like you would want when painting stripes or patterns.


Masking tape is cheaper than painter’s tape. Even though there are more disadvantages to using masking tape, it can save you money as long as you’re willing to take a few extra steps to clean up the result. If you have a large project, or you are painting for business, using painter’s tape could save you time and money.


While you can find traditional masking tape just about anywhere, painter’s tape is widely available at any home improvement or hardware store

Is Painter’s Tape Better Than Masking Tape

The answer depends on the specifics of your project. But the answer can be yes. Blue painter’s tape is the industry standard when it comes to protecting walls while painting, 

Masking tape and painter’s tape may look similar. However, you’ll notice a difference in how they perform. Using tape in the painting makes all the difference between getting a job done right the first time vs. spending hours removing masking tape residue, repairing walls, and doing touch-ups.

Painter’s tape is clearly labeled, so you know how long you can safely leave the tape on the wall and expect clean removal. In most circumstances, painter’s tape is effective for longer than masking tape. Therefore, you can leave it up for the duration of most paint jobs. Clean removal time for painter’s tape could be anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Based on the label, you’ll know what to expect upfront and can plan ahead to avoid residue.

You can use painter’s tape in painting. You’ll have clean lines every time. General-purpose masking tapes may not deliver the same results, and you’re better safe than sorry.

There are times when you need something stronger than standard blue painter’s tape or masking tape. When you are painting on rough, uneven surfaces or need stronger tack adhesion, turn to green painter’s tape for your project needs.

Can I Use Masking Tape Instead Of Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape and masking tape have a lot in common. Some people choose to use masking tape instead of painter’s tape because it’s cheaper. Occasionally, the substitution works just fine. But other times DIY-ers go to remove their masking tape and find seepage or residue.

All painter’s tapes are masking tapes; however, not all masking tapes are painter’s tapes. You may use masking tape instead of painter’s tape in some cases. But there are some differences between them that you may not use masking tape instead of painter’s tape.

Maybe the most significant difference between masking and painter’s tapes is that painter’s tapes remove cleanly after the job is done up to a certain amount of time while masking tapes tend to leave residue behind if left up for the duration of a paint project.

You can package most painter’s tapes in some kind of label with a clean removal claim that lets users know how long you can leave the tape and still remove it cleanly. The amount of clean removal time can be anywhere from a few days to several weeks. If you know that your project lasts for a week or more, it is a good best practice to use a tape that is designed to remove cleanly for the duration of your job.

Another distinction between masking and painter’s tape is that you can use painter’s tapes with paint. Some general-purpose masking tapes may pucker or wrinkle when they come in contact with latex paints, which can allow the paint to seep under the tape.

When Should I Use Masking Tape

You can use masking tape easily. It is highly flexible, which makes it a great staple to have around the house. You should get it out when you’re crafting, painting on canvas, or in need of a bit of tape.

You may use it when painting around your windows. Masking tape can remove from glass cleanly enough that there’s no need to use the pricier painter’s tape for glass surfaces.

You can use masking tape in various life hacks:

  • Use it to label foods, toys, boxes, etc.
  • Attach torn hems or fix other wardrobe problems while waiting to get to the tailor.
  • Pick up broken glass, particularly tiny shards.
  • Use it as an emergency lint roller.

When Should I Use Painter`s Tape

You can use painter’s tape for both professional and do-it-yourself paint jobs. 

In addition to protecting blank surfaces, you may also apply it to create designs on your walls and doors.

You may try out one of these projects and patterns :

  • Diamond, herringbone, and hexagon patterns make great accent walls. Layer different colors or keep the pattern lines white.
  • Fake trellises. Bring outdoor detail inside. Take this to the next level by adding garden-appropriate flourishes such as creeping vines or flowers.
  • Stripes and borders. Add a bold splash of color to the center of a wall, or create a faux wallpaper strip that borders the walls.
  • Plaids and argyles. You can paint furniture, too. A plaid table adds a great touch of whimsy to a room.
  • Custom stair risers. Paint wooden staircases for a one-of-a-kind climb.

How To Use Masking Tape

When you select to use masking tape, you may need to perform touch-ups, repair the damage, or remove residue after you finish painting.  Typically, the biggest problem can be the residue. Don’t leave the tape to sit on the surface for too long, it may become unable to peel off the wall cleanly or leave behind more residue than you thought possible.

Some masking tapes may also have the opposite issues. They could have low adhesion, making the tape come undone while you’re painting. It is possible to remove the paint that seeps through or touch up the job later, but you need to plan accordingly.

You should use masking tape only for quick home improvement projects. Apply the tape in short strips for easy removal, and seal the edges by running your fingers over the tape. You can leave plenty of time to remove residue or complete touch-ups after painting. If you paint for a business project, you should go with painter’s tape to save time and money.

How To Use Painter’s Tape

People can do any home improvement project. By properly applying your painter’s tape, you can minimize this possibility. 

You case painter’s tape to create crisp edges around the area you’re painting. After protecting the surface you don’t want to be painted, you should try these two tips to ensure painting perfection.

Paint can sneak underneath if your tape isn’t perfectly smooth. The careful application gives you a fairly even surface, but you can get your tape to lie perfectly flat by further smoothing it out with an old credit card.

When you are painting, you should sweep the paint away from the tape instead of towards it if you want to avoid running the risk of pushing paint under the tape.


You may use either masking or painter’s tape for most painting projects. Overall, the painter’s tape performs better. It creates smoother lines and does not cause damage to your walls.

You could plan to spend time resolving these issues and save money by purchasing masking tape for small projects. The choice depends on your paint type and the look you hope to achieve.


What is masking tape best used for?

Masking tape is mainly used for sealing the areas you don’t want paint on. This is one of the most useful tools when spray-painting since paint sprayers naturally tend to have more overspray.

Do you take the masking tape off when wet or dry?

The best time to remove the masking tape is when the paint is dry. But make sure to not scratch the new paint, and be careful when removing it.