There are many electrical tapes on the market, and it can be difficult to choose the right one for your specific application.
Each type of tape is designed for specific applications and using the wrong one can impact the quality of your installation and/or repair.
Here are three applications and my recommendations for the most suitable electrical tapes for each. These applications are:
- Environmental sealing and re-jacketing
- Low-voltage primary insulating
- Medium-voltage primary insulating and waterproofing
1. Choose mastic tapes for environmental sealing and re-jacketing.
Mastic tapes are effective for environmental sealing applications – and for good reason. Their sticky adhesive allows them to seal on most surfaces and they can easily fuse to themselves. This is important because, as you wrap the tape, it creates a strong and reliable seal.
It’s important to remember that, when working on a cable jacket, you will need abrasion resistance. Also, keep in mind that not all mastic tapes are created equal and each have their own purposes.
Here is what you need to know when choosing a 3M™ Mastic Tape:
- For normal sealing and filling, I recommend using 3M™ Scotch-Seal™ Mastic Tape 2229 or Scotch® Rubber Mastic Tape 2228. They’re designed to help you get your job done just right and efficiently. From the thick construction of 3M™ Scotch-Seal™ Mastic Tape 2229 to the easy release liner on Scotch® Rubber Mastic Tape 2228 that allows for quick application build–up. Both options work well for environmental sealing applications, especially 3M™ Scotch-Seal™ Mastic Tape 2229 for filling.
- For re-jacking applications, I recommend using Scotch® Cable Jacket Repair Tape 2234. This flame-retardant mastic acts as a barrier and offers optimized adhesion on jacket materials for longer lasting seals, and great abrasion resistance.
Watch this video on how to apply 3M™ Scotch-Seal™ Mastic Tape 2229.
Watch this video to see how you can repair a cable jacket with 3M™ Mastic Tapes.
2. Choose vinyl tapes for low-voltage primary insulating.
Before you start your low-voltage splicing (600V and less) project, ask yourself where the splice is going to be.
If it’s in a sealed box, or in an environment that is always dry, vinyl electrical tape is the best choice because it has excellent dielectric strength and durability.
If the splice will be buried or could become wet, vinyl electrical tape alone won’t be enough. To ensure the longevity and durability of the application, you will also need to seal the splice. The easiest way to do this is by using a rubber tape first and then covering it with vinyl electrical tape.
Here is what you need to know when choosing a 3M™ Vinyl Tape:
- For dry low-voltage splicing, I recommend Scotch® Professional Grade Vinyl Electrical Tape Super 88 because it is thicker and will help provide additional protection.
- For wet low-voltage splicing, I recommend starting first with a rubber tape like Scotch® Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape, 130C – it’s highly conformable and self-fusing. Next, apply Scotch® Professional Grade Vinyl Electrical Tape Super 88 or Scotch® Super 33+™ Vinyl Electrical Tape on top for abrasion resistance and additional UV protection.
Watch this video on how to apply Scotch® Professional Grade Vinyl Electrical Tape Super 88.
3. Choose rubber tapes for medium-voltage primary insulating and waterproofing.
If you need to splice a primary cable and for whatever reason using a cold shrink product like 3M™ Cold Shrink Splice QS-III is not an option, a splice can be made of tape as long as the proper steps are followed.
To do this, you will need two different types of rubber tape: Scotch® Electrical Semi-Conducting Tape 13 to rebuild the semi-conductive layers, and Scotch® Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape, 130C to rebuild the insulation. When installed correctly, these two rubber tapes self-fuse without leaving any air gaps behind – and this is key in these applications. You can cover the splice using rejacketing tapes or vinyl tapes.
Watch this video on how to apply Scotch® Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape, 130C.
Learn more about the right tape for your application.
Try the 3M Electrical Tape Selector Tool to help you choose the right tape for your application.