The answer, of course, is “no,” but that doesn’t stop most folks from thinking that duck tape is the go-to fixer for just about everything. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this much-loved adhesive.
Stopping just short of world peace, a recent study conducted by OnePoll found that 88% of Americans first think of duck tape when faced with any repair problem. 78% of them say they believe that duck tape (also called duct tape) actually has magical properties. While duct tape is awesome, the miracle-making claims are a bit overblown. In reality, there are a huge number of instances in which you might think to reach for duct tape when something else would serve you much better. \
Ship With the Right Stuff
With industrual packaging, it’s almost always best to go with clear carton sealing tape, and best to use it on a tape dispenser that makes the sealing job all the easier. If you want to reinforce packaging, your first instinct might be to reach for duct tape, but more likely what you want is strapping tape. Also known as filament tape, this pressure-sensitive wonder can handle hundreds of pounds of stress.
But it’s not just about strength, as duct tape is plenty strong. It’s also about the presentation. When you send off that package to a client or customer, generally, you want to use a nice bubble mailer, a padded mailer, or a water-resistant and self-sealing poly mailer. Finishing off these elegant mailing materials with rough-and-ready duct tape leans less to the professional side and rather presents more of a post-apocalyptic vibe.
Step Up in Strength
Now, duct tape is seriously strong. There’s no denying that. You can count on its holding power — from economy grade duct tape that stands up to hurricane-force winds, to easy-to-use twist-proof cloth tape, and up to heavy-duty construction duct tape that meets rigorous HUD and BOCA codes. But in cases where you want top-level strength, common in agricultural, construction and manufacturing needs, you can’t beat the strength of steel. Consider 14-gauge baling wire ties to secure your stuff, or go pro with high-tensile steel strapping, painted for a fine finish and wax coated for smoothness.
Go More Subtle With Office Supplies
While a big hefty roll of duct tape may be great for the warehouse, workrooms, and any other place where you put a bit of elbow grease into the job, most office settings aren’t the perfect places for industrial-strength items. Consider products that are more suitable. Instead of trying to loop duct tape for two-sided sticking get double-sided tape and create a seamless seal with a professional look. Paper sealing tape also looks great on packaging. Got something to mount? Foam tape might be the answer.
Things You Shouldn’t Use Duct Tape On
Ducts. Yes, as weird as it sounds, while duct tape may have started out as a sealant for heating and cooling ducts, liquid mastic sealants hold up much better over time. You might be tempted to use duct tape when painting, but it’s a pretty bad idea. Painting over duct tape doesn’t work because it’s designed to resist moisture, thus the paint will peel. If you use duct tape for creating a line, the paint will seep into the texture of the tape and leave you with uneven results. Best to go with masking tape if you want to paint a nice clean border.
And Duct Tape for Just About Everything Else
But who are we kidding? Everyone loves duct tape because you can use it on almost everything. A sudden downpour and you’re in your favorite dress shoes? Wrap those babies in some makeshift rain boots. Construct yourself a cheap smartphone case, wrap and roll to make a lint remover, or hang a strip as a flycatcher. Go big and make a boat (really, look at them on YouTube) or think small and design a coin purse. And on and on and on.
So, yes, duct tape doesn’t solve everything. Maybe one day they’ll invent a roll with a pinch of magic and that dream will come true. But until then, enjoy duct tape for what it can do, and be thankful there are lots of options to take on what it can’t.