Fix-It Chick: Choose the right electrical tape for various situations

With so many different types of electrical tape on the market today, it is sometimes difficult to know which one to choose. A little insight about the various options may help with the decision-making process.

• Black vinyl electrical tape is the most common and least expensive electrical tape on the market. Lower-priced vinyl tapes are less adhesive, less resilient and will not last as long as higher-quality tapes. 3M Brand 33+ Professional electrical tape is a high-quality tape that is super stretchy and works well in most situations. It is UV-resistant and weatherproof up to 221 degrees F. Choose inexpensive electrical tape for short-term projects and nonelectrical purposes where good adhesion and weather resistance is not necessary. Use “33”or another high-quality tape for most electrical needs or as a protective coating on flexible and nonflexible materials.

• 3M cold weather electrical tape is a flame retardant tape that works in freezing temperatures. Use it for jobs subject to weather extremes.

• Colored electrical tape is designed for marking and identification purposes. Use it to color code wires, switches or anything else. It is weather-resistant and stretchy, and it has good insulating properties.

• Rubber splicing tape is a self-fusing rubber tape that is used for splicing wires together. When wrapped on top of itself it will fuse together forming a water-resistant bond. In electrical situations, rubber splicing tape is often covered with a layer of friction tape to add extra protection to the splice. Use rubber splicing tape for splicing wires together and for water-resistant repairs on nonelectrical items.

• Friction tape is not as much an electrical tape as it is a protective, nonslip coating. Friction tape has excellent adhesion, is abrasion-resistant and provides increased surface texture in any application. Its textured surface is also nonreflective, allowing it to be used in discrete situations. Use friction tape to add a better grip to cables, wires, tools, sports equipment and pretty much anything else.

• Liquid electrical tape is a thick, gooey liquid that turns into a chemical-resistant vinyl polymer coating when dry. It is a great option for applications where standard electrical tape is difficult to apply. Use liquid electrical tape in tight spaces and on uneven surfaces to form a malleable permanent protective coating for electrical and nonelectrical purposes.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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