When it comes to the application of decorative concrete finishes, it is the smallest (tackiest) details that will make or break your project.
We always have on hand different kinds of tape: three sizes of blue (painter’s) tapes, black tape, and when all else fails, duct tape.
Your decorative application will dictate the tape choice. For example, blue tape with plastic is one of your best weapons against overspray. It keeps additional cleaning to a minimum and, when removed in a timely manner, it will not leave a residue. We use 2-inch and 4-inch blue tape to secure the plastics, to leave our edges clean and to protect painted walls, trim and other surrounding surfaces.
It only takes one time on lacquer and most faux finishes to give you the painful realization that tape should never be used on these surfaces. While we sometimes use black tape and duct tape on top of a blue tape application, you don’t want to apply these directly. When we need a heavier form of protection that blue tape can provide on its own, we blue-tape an area and secure the protection to the blue tape.
In overlayment applications where we meet up to the drywall, tape does double duty in protecting the drywall from absorbing the moisture in the mix. Without this protection you are compromising the mix and the drywall. To further address this problem, after your overlayment has set, run a utility knife gently around the perimeter and remove the excess.
After staining and sealing, overlaying and polishing, we always preach (not too strong a word) that the floors must be protected. You can use curing blankets and black or duct tape, or use paper with a slight overlap, taped well using blue tape. (Never tape the paper to the floor.)
We have generally found that taking the time to properly apply and use the right tape is always worth the effort. Those pieces of tape assist you in keeping your job clean without hindering the other trades that have been before you, and they protect you from the trades coming in behind. The right tape leaves your job sites clean, your punch list empty and the clients calling you back.
Cathye Rankin is marketing and sales director for GLC3 Concrete, a contracting company based near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Couture Concrete Systems, a manufacturer of decorative concrete materials. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.