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Removing Blue Tape Residue9/22
SHORT VERSION: How do you remove blue tape residue from a newly painted surface?
The work-piece is 3/4" B-2 Maple Veneer Plywood.
After the piece was sprayed (2-3 days cure time at least), we fastened an accessory to the surface with a combination of staples and silicone.
To keep the product flush to the surface while the silicone is curing, we used 3M ScotchBlue 1" tape. The tape is applied 24 hours before delivery, then removed on site. The tape also protects the accessory during blanket-wrapping and transit.
The delivery day in question was hot (90F+ temps). The product was carried in an enclosed cargo trailer for a 6-7 hour ride during the morning and arriving around lunch-time. By this time the outdoor temps were hot. So, the trailer was hot as well.
When the tape was removed, it left behind a lot of residue.
Since the finish was only a few days old, we opted NOT to try to remove the residue with any type of chemical. We felt that waiting for the finish to completely cure first would be wise. We guessed at around 30 days for a full cure. The customer agreed and is awaiting further word from us. We have a month to figure this out.
This blue tape procedure is something we have been doing for years with no ill effects when the tape is removed within 24 hours. The only time we had an issue with a bit of residue was when the tape was left on for 2-3 months.
We expect that the high heat was a contributing factor. Also, this was a brand new roll of 1" blue tape. We usually use 3/4" tape, but none was locally available.
Also, we are wondering if 3M changed their adhesive. They did change the product. The 1" tape used to be 1" wide. It is now 24mm wide. The 3/4" tape used to be 3/4" wide. It is now 18mm wide. Each is slightly narrower than the original. A discussion about reducing the product instead of increasing the price is better left to another discussion.
IIRC, the old tape was 3M 2070 and it was BLUE. The new tape is 3M 2090 and is BLUE. Tonight I did find a 3M 2070 online, but it appears to be YELLOW. This is the tape for delicate surfaces. We probably need to switch tapes.
And, we probably need to alter our procedure and remove the tape BEFORE it leaves the factory. Any residue can be spotted and the piece replaced if necessary before delivery. I am hoping the tape switch will avoid any issues.
The QUESTION we really need an answer to is: When the 30 days are up, what chemical and method do we need to use to remove the tape residue?
I am thinking possibly using rubbing alcohol. DNA might be a bit strong. Acetone may be way too strong.
The work-piece in question is not easily replaced as it is an integral part of a much larger assembly. Otherwise, we would simply make a new piece and replace it.
Any ideas, please?
DNA should be fine. And it should be fine now.
Pretty sure they changed the adhesive on the blue tape to compete with Frog tape. They put a gel edge on it that swells when latex paint tries to wick under. But that was a couple years ago. Personally I'd try mineral spirits first, IN A HIDDEN SPOT. If successful, then move to the fix. I don't have personal experience with that material, so my advice is just that.
Try WD-40 in an inconspicuous area. Greatest "solvency" with least risk of solvent damage.
VM&P Naptha..... within hours of spraying will not affect a precat or post cat product...
In addition to the above, don't buff the residue too vigorously as you may end up with shiny spots.
I always start with water, then simple green, then alcohol. Either denatured or rubbing. then naptha. then acetone. then carb cleaner(toluene).
After that its some abrasive.
Coke has phosphoric acid. Acetic acid is Vinegar. Vinegar might work. Its really aggressive on epoxy.
Sorry to hear of your blue tape problems. We use it for everything. It often leaves no residue for years. I think you are correct about the heat.
Regular masking tape goes bad surprisingly quickly. Don't buy extra rolls of that stuff. It shreds coming off the roll when its old.
Thanks for the replies!
We sprayed a sample piece two days ago with the same finish schedule and materials. The next step is to apply multiple pieces of the blue tape from the same roll, let it set in the enclosed trailer for a day, then try some of the ideas mentioned. Outside temps are forecast for the high 80's today. When the sun comes out the temps inside the trailer will climb much higher. This should replicate the conditions from last week when we first had this issue.
We have been successfully using blue tape for years. I did notice that this new roll of tape seems extra-aggressive. This new roll is the same brand and part number. The only difference is that it is 1" wide instead of 3/4" wide. I seriously doubt the width has anything to do with it. I wonder if the manufacturer modified their adhesive formula somehow. By the way, we have always purchased the name-brand blue tape as opposed to bargain brands.
I will look for an alternative for finished surfaces. We also use blue tape for aligning and holding small and odd-shaped pieces together while gluing where regular clamps are not practical. That may still work, as any residue can be removed before finishing.
I stopped buying regular masking tape a few decades ago. I agree that when it gets old it is worthless. It will not even come off the roll properly.
Thanks for the reminder not to accidentally "buff" the surface and change the sheen.
The future plan to avoid this problem is to a) change to a less aggressive tape, and b) remove the tape before the work-piece leaves the factory; preferably a day or two before.
I use green 3m 401+ tape for most of my projects. It a high heat tape used in the automotive field. It sticks to freshly dried lacquer that blue tape just won't stick too.
Coincidentally, in the last hour, I took alot of 3m 3/4" blue tape that's been on Laminex cabinet doors. Its been on them since October. 20l/ft of cabinets and mirrors.
No residue. Its a big addition reno project. They were existing wardrobe cabinets. We used the blue to hold the doors shut and as a base for duct tape to hold sheets of masonite to the floor to ceiling cabinets.
I still think the heat got the better of you.
I forgot you have new finish. My project would be similar to stick blue tape to a laminate counter top for a year.
Have you (or anyone else reading) had the blue tape leave a pink discoloration on your finish?
Right now we have a large job where the blue tape has discolored our conversion varnish. It was placed there to mark scratches/dings (most of them totally inconsequential) that happened after install, during the home build.
We peel the tape off, and the underlying paint has a pink/apricot colored "ghost" in the same shape of the tape.
This was blue tape, I am not sure the brand but I think it was also 3M.
Pink is usually a sign of over-catylization.
I've never had the tape turn my finish pink. I use both the green and blue 3m tapes.
Yeah in this case it's not an issue of overcatalyzation, I'm sure of it. Although I do know what you mean, it can definitely happen.
The issue we are seeing is happening on too many products that were sprayed on too many days, by different people, on different colors. And I have the log book of how much catalyst was used (we log EVERY mix) and it was all accurate.
I can replicate this problem using the tape the client had on leftover trim that's been sitting, painted, unused in a rack for months. The tape is not 3m like I originally thought, it's some off brand..... and NONE of my own stash of painter's tape (various brands) will do it. But this one roll will.
Last week I mentioned that we were going to spray a sample work-piece with the same finishing schedule and materials, then apply the same blue tape. We did that then let the work-piece set in the hot trailer for a day.
We tried a variety of chemicals including DNA, Acetone, MEK, Xylol, and "Awesome" (general purpose cleaner available at a local dollar chain store). DNA did ok, but not great. Acetone and MEK ate into the paint. Xylol did pretty well, better than DNA, but still attacked the paint a bit. Awesome did surprising well, but still not good enough.
My MLC lacquer specialist suggested I try "3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner 08984." Had to purchase it online as the local stores did not have it.
The 3M product did remove the blue tape residue, and did it quite well.
The only issue that we have with the sample piece is the physical impression left in the painted surface from the tape. If the work-piece is held up to the light so one can see a reflection off the surface, there is a slight indentation where the tape was. But, the residue is gone.
So, the immediate issue of removing the residue is resolved. The next step is to use it on the jobsite and hope that the physical impression is not noticeable or not there. The original work-piece was sprayed several days before the tape was applied. The sample test piece had blue tape applied much sooner. So, hopefully the paint on the real piece was harder and will not show the tape impression.
And, the lesson learned is to a) find a "delicate version" of the tape to hold the small piece being siliconed into place, and b) let the silicone cure for 24 hours then remove it at the factory before delivery to check for issues.
Thanks for all of the suggestions! :-)
I've used that 3m Adhesive remover in the past. Its really good stuff. Kinda expensive and smells like gasoline mixed with WD-40.