What is Foil Tape and What is it Used for?

Foil tape is a highly versatile high tensile tape that takes its name from its metal foil backing. Foil tape can be made with aluminum, copper, or lead foil. It is commonly used in construction and home projects, although its potential extends far beyond these conventional uses. It holds up against the elements and stays adhered to surfaces for long periods. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about foil tape and its uses.

What Is Foil Tape?

Foil tape is usually made with aluminum, but some foil tapes use lead or copper backings instead. Some foil tape varieties also contain glass, tin plating, or steel. The metal in foil tape gives it extra durability compared to plastic-based tapes. Most foil tapes can withstand temperatures between -40°F and 350°F. Since all the metals used in foil tape are relatively soft, the tape is highly malleable. The best foil tape combines the flexibility and protective qualities of aluminum, copper, and lead foil with a top-notch adhesive.

Aluminum Foil Tape

Aluminum foil tape is pretty tough. It maintains its integrity in very cold and very hot temperatures. This tape is commonly used to secure duct seams, connections, and joints. Additionally, it has excellent waterproof properties. These features allow aluminum foil tape to protect exteriors against the elements and harmful chemicals.

Aluminum foil tape is a shiny silver color. At Tape Jungle, it is sold in widths ranging from 1/2" (12 mm) to 12" (300 mm). You can purchase aluminum tape in rolls up to 800 M (875 yds) long.

Lead Foil Tape

Lead is famously heavy. As a result, lead tape is sometimes used to add weight to golf club heads and other sports equipment. It is highly malleable and easy to shape into artistic patterns. Lead foil tape is often used for protective masking during electroplating. In medical settings, it provides shielding from X-rays. Lead foil tape is an effective shield against electromagnetic forces and radio frequencies.

Lead foil tape is a dull silver, similar to duct tape. Tape Jungle's customers can buy it in widths from 1/4" (6.3 mm) to 4" (101.6 mm). The rolls are 36 yds long.

Copper Foil Tape

Electricians often use copper in their work because copper is extremely electrically conductive. Copper foil tape is great for repairing electrical cables and modifying printed wiring boards. It is a good soldering tape and conforms well to irregular surfaces. When paired with an acrylic adhesive, copper foil tape bonds firmly to surfaces and resists weather damage.

Copper foil tape is an attractive copper color. The tape resists tarnishing, so it won't become discolored like other copper products. The thinnest copper foil tape width available at Tape Jungle is 1/4" (6.3 mm), and the thickest width is 12" (304.8 mm). Each copper foil roll is 36 yds long.

Top 6 Foil Tape Uses

Now that you understand what foil tape is, let's address how this versatile tape is used. Here are six of the most common applications of foil tape.

1. Construction Projects

There are many uses for all types of foil tape within construction projects. Foil tape adheres to fiberglass, mineral thermal wood insulation, plastics, and other materials commonly used in construction. It creates secure protective seals even when applied to uneven surfaces. Thanks to foil tape's water resistance, it is safe to use it to repair roofs, gutters, and anything else regularly exposed to rain.

2. Electrical Systems

Working with electrical systems is notoriously risky. Poorly installed electrical cables spark fires and shock anyone who touches them. It is safe to coat electrical cables with foil tape because the tape is covered with polymer. This makes the tape safe to touch but doesn't affect the electrical conduction of the cable. Copper foil tape is especially good at maintaining conductivity.

Foil tape protects against harmful temperatures and fires and won't become brittle in extreme cold or warp in extreme heat. It's also flame-resistant, which is very important for the safety of your electrical system.

3. Insulation

Foil tape is a perfect insulation solution. It is secure, easy to use, and cost-effective. It can quickly seal leaks in heating and cooling system ducts. This prevents heated or cooled air from escaping, which makes your system work more efficiently and consequently saves you money. You can also fix damaged insulation cables by wrapping them in foil tape. As a bonus, foil tape protects your insulation from moisture. Some people use duct tape for insulation, but foil tape is more effective because it better resists the elements.

Foil tape maintains its integrity even when affixed to heated insulation materials, while the adhesive in duct tape can deteriorate over time, especially if exposed to high temperatures.

4. HVAC Projects

Professional HVAC installers and amateur home repairers use foil tape in HVAC projects. Foil tape should be used to seal HVAC ducts for several reasons. Seams are a weak point in duct systems, but taping them makes them less likely to fall apart. Sealing seams prevent future degradation.

Sealing leaks in ventilation systems improves your air quality by preventing outside particles from entering the system. Even if you have a severe leak in your HVAC system that requires professional repair, foil tape can still help you. Using foil tape as a temporary fix prevents the problem from worsening, making it easier for your HVAC repair team to seal the leak permanently.

5. Packaging

Aluminum foil tape has been used since World War I to secure packages. It is extremely durable and looks more professional than clear packing tape. Sealing with this aluminum foil tape protects shipped items from severe temperature changes, moisture, vermin, and heavy precipitation. It's ideal for packages shipped long distances because foil tape retains its adhesive seal over long periods, even when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Foil tape packaging is highly recommended as protection for products that are sensitive to heat or moisture.

6. Crafts

In addition to all foil tape's practical uses, it also makes a great crafting material. The smooth texture and shiny colors are eye-catching. Lead foil tape can be die-cut into creative shapes. All types of foil tape are flexible and easy to use. If you need to change something in your art project, remove the tape and reapply a new strip.

Foil tape is effective as a masking tape too. Many artists use blue painter's tape to protect canvases from paint, but painter's tape doesn't work well on materials like metal. For people painting on metal or fiberglass, painter's tape doesn't provide a strong enough seal. Foil tape, however, adheres firmly and creates crisp straight lines.

How To Use Foil Tape

To use foil tape effectively, you should first decide what type of tape is best for your project. For example, general-purpose aluminum foil tape works well for most tasks, but industrial-grade aluminum tape is a better choice if you need something heavy-duty. If you want good soldering tape, you should use copper foil tape. Lead foil tape is excellent for electroplating and adding seals to leaded windows.

Before applying tape to a surface, clean the surface thoroughly. Dirt and grease can weaken adhesive seals. For the same reason, you should try to keep the adhesive side of the foil tape clean. Measure how much tape you need for projects where extra precision is needed. This is especially recommended for duct sealing because a single long tape strip around the duct will create a stronger seal than multiple smaller strips. After applying foil tape, press down firmly and smooth it out so that the tape adheres snugly to the material.

Although you don't have to use a tape dispenser with foil tape, tape dispensers make measurement and application easier. If you are packaging lots of boxes, consider investing in a tape dispenser to speed up the packing process.

Where Can You Find Foil Tape?

Foil tape is not as widely available in brick-and-mortar stores as common tapes like duct tape. Fortunately, you can find all types of foil tape online at Tape Jungle. Customize your order by selecting different varieties of foil tape, different widths and lengths, and strength levels. You may decide to go with lead foil tape, copper tape, or aluminum tape, all of which are available with Tape Jungle.

In addition to our foil tapes, we have hundreds of adhesive tapes and packaging supplies for whatever industry you're working in. We help you get the exact right size and thickness for your project, and you can even order custom printed tapes.

We help businesses in the aeronautical, entertainment, automobile, and garment industries, among many others. View our double-coated, ATG, and duct tapes, or check out the foil tape webpage. For expert opinions, contact Tape Jungle to learn more about the suitable aluminum foil, lead, or copper tape for you.