Monday, November 26, 2012

Singing the praises of aluminum tape

What keeps a tape from being permanent?  Two things:
  • The substrate does not survive contact with moisture or sunlight
  • The adhesive fails, usually due to exposure to sunlight, and dries out or crumbles
That should tell you why I like the aluminum tape you can buy at big-box home supply stores like Lowes or Home Depot. 

Look for it in the insulation aisle

The substrate is actually metal - it's aluminum - thin enough to stretch a little and to easily conform to almost any shape.  And because it is metal, no sunlight - zero sunlight - penetrates the substrate to attack the adhesive.  The metal is polished and apparently anodized - it survives years of exposure to sea air without a blemish.

And the acrylic adhesive they put on this tape is some of the most aggressive I have seen. And because it is protected, it is as easy to remove tape that has been in place for years as it is to remove newly-applied tape - the adhesive does not get hard.

Here are a couple of examples where this marvelous stuff is in use on Eolian:

  • Sealing the top of the mast boot. The tape adheres tenaciously to the mast, forming a permanent water-tite seal, and it conforms nicely in the task of overlapping the mast boot fabric. The hose clamp  serves to mechanically hold the boot in place - not to create a seal.
  • Sealing the joint where the two ends of the extrusion come together on our windows. When they came from the factory, there was an internal seal, but I had to destroy this to replace the glazing. The tape is a permanent cover for the joint.
  • Protecting the PVC used to make the new wind vane



Deb said...

Good to know. I especially like the idea of the mast boot. Gonna have to try that.

S/V Kintala

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob. That's good to know about.

Drew Frye said...

My favorite on boats is pro-grade gaffer's tape:
Though superficially like duct tape, it is MANY times stronger and lasts for 2-3 years in the rain and salt without looking tattered. Can serve as rigging tape, to cover stitching, to cover holes is spars that birds like. A roll lasts a LONG time because the tape is so durable. Last weekend I had to cutt a 3-year old patch off with a knife because it was time for a metal patch. It would have lasted 5 years, easy.

Also common athletic tape. Good for grip on tiller extensions,fishing pole grips, quick patches, temporary whippings, first aid, and even sprains. Cheap. I carry both the 1 1/2 -inch and 1/2-inch widths, and they never last too long.

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