Painter's tape put to the test

Consumer Reports finds one brand outperforms the rest

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Painting a room with bold stripes can make for a splashy makeover. But even if you're just painting a room with lots of windows or trim, Consumer Reports says the right painter's tape can deliver results like the pros. A good tape keeps the paint from bleeding underneath it, it's easy to remove, and it doesn't take off paint with it.

Consumer Reports looked at six painter's tapes, costing $3 to $8 a roll. Testers compared them with plain old masking tape, which costs about $2.

After applying the tape strips and pressing them down evenly with a weighted roller, testers paint a coat of blue paint over them—and then leave the paint to dry for varying times before pulling off the tape. 

Regular masking tape tore, making it really tedious to remove. But several of the painter's tapes delivered a very sharp line, including 3M's Edge-Lock ScotchBlue Advanced Delicate Surface, 3M's Edge-Lock ScotchBlue Multi-Surface, and FrogTape Multi-Surface.

But those three were a little harder to remove than the clear winner in Consumer Reports tests: the FrogTape Delicate Surface tape. It costs $6 to $8 a roll, leaves a very sharp line, and was the easiest of the six to remove.

When prepping a room to paint, be sure to press the tape down firmly along the edges to prevent the paint from bleeding underneath it. And Consumer Reports says it's best to remove tape as soon after painting as possible, even if the paint is still wet.

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