That is the question.  At least, it’s one of the debates you might hear when a bunch of professional painters get together to talk shop. (Do they do that? Surely they do that.) Ask a group of expert painters whether they use the sticky stuff, and you’ll probably get a variety of answers!

Is Painter’s Tape More Hassle Than It’s Worth?

If you’ve ever tried to tackle a painting job on your own, you’ve probably painstakingly taped around trim, light fixtures, and floorboards in an attempt to get a clean, professional line. The taping process can be tedious and frustrating, especially in homes where the wall surface isn’t smooth or the trim has layers of older paint built up. And often, even after you invest the time to tape, you still don’t end up with a clean line. What gives? 

Female painter taping trim
Taping takes time, and can be problematic, but for most painters, it’s worth the hassle.

Bleeding and Bridging

Any painter in the “no tape” camp will tell you all the reasons why they don’t use the stuff. Problem number one is usually bleeding. Even when you apply the tape carefully, it’s easy for paint to seep behind the edge. This creates a messy edge and results in more cleanup work. To combat this, some painters use a putty knife to press the tape down and create a tighter seal. While this can help stop bleeding, it doesn’t help with with a phenomenon known as “bridging.” Latex paint forms a skin (or bridge) when it dries. When you pull the tape off, the skin can tear, leaving you with a jagged line. 

Can You Make the Cut?

The alternative to taping involves a high quality paint brush and the steady hands of a surgeon. The professionals call it “cutting in.” Cutting in—painting only the part you want with a crisp clean line— is a painting skill that takes years to master, but it can be invaluable to a professional painter. If you can cut in well, you can paint faster and avoid bleeding and bridging issues. But if you’re not blessed with surgical precision and steady nerves, it’s always best to stick to tape. 

Tape or No-Tape—Either Way Works

Even among the ranks of expert painters with decades of experience, Team Tape and Team No-Tape have ardent defenders. A wise painter picks the method that works best for them. And a wise homeowner picks a great professional painter! At Check Local, we won’t tell you which way is best, but we set you up with the best painters in the Panhandle and beyond. So before you decide, always Check Local!