What do you think is the most durable tape?
Many people use products like glue and duct tape daily to provide solutions where other products fall short. However, when looking at strength and versatility, adhesive foam tapes help people with bonding, gasketing, sealing, and industrial uses.
For over three decades, Strouse has helped customers select foam tape for the sake of producing custom parts. As a converting company, we know how to find the right flexible materials.
Today, we'll discuss foam tape’s many uses and how it might be a better alternative for you and your team. By the end of this article, you may find ways your company can use foam tape to increase your productivity on a daily basis.
What Is Foam Tape?
Think of foam tape as a piece of foam with double-sided adhesive. It's best used when people want to pair the flexibility of foam with the security of adhesive backing.
Foam tape comes in handy for a variety of uses. It can be useful across a number of projects both at home and in an industrial setting. This is because the adhesive sticks to a number of different surfaces.
Foam tape can stick to aluminum, wood, and glass. It also has the ability to withstand conditions like intense heat and moisture. These properties make foam tape a versatile material.
In addition to withstanding all sorts of conditions and bonding to all sorts of surfaces, foam tape comes in a number of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. That's why it's important to ensure you're choosing the right foam tape for your job.
What is Foam Tape Used For?
Most people don't know that foam tape can actually help replace a screw or bolt. In fact, some people prefer it because it’s less visible than mechanical fasteners.
Foam tape applies without a problem to the underside of surfaces, and because it’s tucked out of the way, it gives your project a sleek, finished look.
Screws and bolts can cause vibrations under heavy pressure, but using foam tape eliminates this possibility. As a result, less damage occurs and the project becomes significantly less dangerous.
Foam tape can also be helpful when it comes to mounting pictures and other objects to surfaces. Retail stores use foam tape to hang sale signage and other messages that customers need to see. Yet, foam tape isn't just reserved for light objects.
In fact, foam tape is exceptional when it comes to hanging heavy things. With the help of foam tape, it’s possible to hang mirrors and other heavy objects around your home without fear of falling.
Another common use for foam tape is padding. Foam tape padding can be used for protection, vibration absorption, and sound dampening. It can also help fill areas that normally let in air, dust, or debris.
Foam sealing capabilities are highly utilized in the construction industry. Any excess airflow can really hurt your heating or cooling bill, and contractors use foam tape to fill gaps to prevent air from escaping to help insulate your home. Additionally, they’ll use foam tape to decrease the level of moisture.
What is the Best Foam Tape?
With foam tape being as versatile as it is, it can accommodate almost any use you could imagine. The important thing for your foam tape to be effective is to make sure you choose the right one for the job.
Each type of foam tape comes in a different size, shape, and adhesive, so it's critical to know your options. If you’re looking for the best foam tape, you’ll want to begin by analyzing your need and choosing between general, specialty, acrylic, or VHB foam tapes.
GENERAL FOAM TAPES
These are your standard foam tape options. Most of the tapes in this category are for indoor use. These would be the adhesives you use to mount pictures, mirrors, and other things around your home.
They come in a wide variety of shapes, thicknesses, and materials. Some companies even offer products that are specific to mounting things. These specialty products usually aren't found as a traditional roll of tape.
They come as strips or squares to put directly behind the objects on your walls or other surfaces. You may pay a little bit more for these specialty products, as opposed to just buying a roll of foam tape, but it may be worth it in the long run.
General foam tape can come in a variety of adhesive types. You can choose acrylic, rubber/acrylic, high-temperature acrylic, or re-stickable tapes.
SPECIALTY FOAM PRODUCTS
Using these specialty products ensures you can mount heavier mirrors and pictures neatly and cleanly. No one will see the adhesive holding them up. You can also be sure that the tape rates are high enough to support the weight of whatever you're hanging.
These products will usually have a suggested weight on their packaging. It will help you decide if that particular tape can support your mirror or picture, or maybe you need another option.
ACRYLIC FOAM TAPES
Acrylic foam tapes are slightly different from general foam tapes. These are foam tape products that have an acrylic backing on them.
These types of tapes are a great tool because sometimes the acrylic used can survive in very high temperatures. This property is useful in many industries, especially in the automotive industry.
Cars and trucks have a lot of parts that are operating at high speeds, under intense pressure, and in very high-heat environments. In the past, mechanics would use screws, bolts, or other fasteners to hold these parts together.
However, screws and bolts can easily fail under the conditions found under the hood of a car. The intense pressure of a car's system could cause screws and bolts to rattle or come loose. And under high heat, screws and bolts could potentially melt or become damaged.
Once acrylic foam tapes became available, they changed the game. Mechanics could use the acrylic foam to hold together parts without worrying about screws or bolts coming loose. This fundamentally changed how cars are designed and what they can do moving forward.
These types of tapes also come in handy in the electrical and energy industries. Companies now produce foam tapes that are specific to the solar industry.
Solar panels and inverters are fragile systems that need to be set up a certain way in order to work properly. Acrylic foam tape makes that possible. Some acrylic foam tape products have UV resistance. This makes them the perfect material to construct and repair banks of solar panels, as well as the inverters that serve them.
VHB tapes have some interesting properties that set them apart from the types we've previously mentioned. These tapes are a more permanent solution than the other tapes mentioned.
These tapes can replace metal fasteners like screws and bolts. They also can replace stronger metal fasteners and even be used in place of welding. Their ability to provide almost invisible fastening also helps to keep surfaces smooth.
This could be useful in an application where things need to be streamlined, like aerospace mechanics.
Everything regarding a plane and its flight needs to be kept aerodynamic, and even the tiniest screw or fastener can severely increase drag or resistance, affecting the plane's ability to fly. VHB tapes are durable and likely to stay in place if properly applied.
VHB tapes also provide pressure-sensitive bonding. This makes them very efficient at immediately providing the strength necessary for your project. These types of tapes can provide immediate handling strength.
Many people like using VHB tapes because it's a quicker process than drilling, installing screws, or welding. These tapes can also be used on windows and doors, or accommodate heavy signage.
Lastly, VHB tapes are available for both indoor and outdoor use. Depending on the type of VHB you choose, it might even have outdoors-resistant capabilities.
What Can You Use Double Sided Foam Tape For?
As mentioned earlier, foam tape can replace most mechanical fasteners. There are industries where welds, bolts, and screws come in handy. However, there are a lot of other industries where it makes more sense to use a foam tape product. With double sided foam tapes, you can enjoy the strength of a mechanical fastener with more versatility.
Double sided foam tapes are often more effective than fasteners because they can be applied quickly and easily. Not to mention, they can help you save costs.
Applying foam tape to bond surfaces takes less time and skill than a mechanical fastener. As a result, teams that choose this option can decrease their labor time. Foam tapes also come at a lower price tag than most mechanical fasteners.
Foam tapes also beat mechanical fasteners when it comes to insulation. Depending on your industry, insulation may be a key part of what you do. Two applications where insulation really matters are thermals and acoustics.
Environments must be kept at a certain ambient temperature in industries like science and healthcare. Foam tape can create an airtight seal on equipment and between rooms that can help people in these industries do their jobs.
The same goes for acoustics. Acoustics are huge in the music and entertainment industry. Using double sided foam tape instead of screws or bolts to help hold insulation in place will enclose sound booths or auditoriums more thoroughly.
The result? No air, and no sound, end up leaking out.
Foam tapes also require zero equipment for installation and they don't require drilling holes. Drilling holes is risky because it may harm surfaces, cause leaks, or increase the likelihood of corrosion.
Foam Tapes vs. Liquid Adhesives
Foam tapes can also do the job of liquid adhesives like glues. In fact, they may even be able to work better.
Often, liquid adhesives can be messy. Foam tapes don't require mixing. They also don't generate the same amount of waste as liquid adhesives.
If you mix a liquid adhesive, you may not use all of it. With foam tapes, you don't have that problem. The only waste or excess you'll deal with is the paper backing you must remove before using the tape.
There is little prep time or cleanup when using tape. Just cut your tape, peel the backing, and you're ready. It makes for a fast and easy application.
You also don't have to worry about tape products running or sagging as you do with liquid adhesives. And tape products also have a longer shelf life, so you don't need to worry about tape hardening or becoming unusable as you do with glue and other adhesives.
Should I Use Foam Tape?
Machine shops, manufacturing plants, and other businesses all benefit from foam tape. The challenge is that only a few people know how versatile it is and how much it can help them.
Depending on your application, foam tape might be ideal for a strong yet flexible material. The wide variety of foam tapes offers an adhesive solution for most issues, so whether you choose it will depend entirely on your project needs.
Foam tape shouldn't be seen as a weak product because it can stand up to the same job as other fasteners. After reading about the different uses, you may see a use for foam tape and other non-traditional adhesive products in your everyday work.
Strouse is here to help, and we would love to discuss how we can help you use foam tape and other adhesive products to take your company to the next level.