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Tape is basically a backing material with glue. Picking the right tape for a job requires selecting the appropriate backing and glue. As a general rule, tape does not stick to material similar to the non-sticky side of its backing (otherwise you could not unroll it).

There are five major groups of tapes, organized by their backing material:
  • paper tapes - light duty, decorative, an easily broken or torn. Most common paper tape is masking tape, whose best feature is its ease of removal.
  • plastic tape - ranges from light duty, clear or colored cellophane tape (like ordinary Scotch Tape) for paper or cardboard, to the stronger electrical tape. Plastic tapes tear easily and, depending on the type of plastic, may stretch easily or break when stretched.
  • fabric tape - such as duct tape, is a medium to heavy duty tape for a wide variety of temporary household repair. Fabric tapes are strong but tear easily once started.
  • strapping tape - has strong threads embedded in the backing to make it difficult to stretch or tear, which makes it good for reinforcing and sealing packages.
  • metallic tapes - the aluminum and steel backing of metallic tapes is extremely

    strong; that strength is complemented by the strength of the adhesive. Best known type is furnace tape, which is temperature resistant, very durable, and long lasting.

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