Thursday, December 6, 2012

Aluminum tape: its time has come

What keeps a tape from being permanent?  Two things:
  • The substrate does not survive contact with moisture or sunlight
  • The adhesive fails, usually due to exposure to sunlight, and dries out or crumbles
That should tell you why I like the aluminum tape you can buy at big-box home supply stores like Lowes or Home Depot. 

Look for it in the insulation aisle

The substrate is actually metal - it's aluminum - thin enough to stretch a little and to easily conform to almost any shape.  And because it is metal, no sunlight - zero sunlight - penetrates the substrate to attack the adhesive.  The metal is polished and apparently anodized - it survives years of exposure to sea air without a blemish.

And the acrylic adhesive they put on this tape is some of the most aggressive I have seen. And because it is protected, it is as easy to remove tape that has been in place for years as it is to remove newly-applied tape - the adhesive does not get hard.

Here are a couple of examples where this marvelous stuff is in use on Eolian:

  • Sealing the top of the mast boot. The tape adheres tenaciously to the mast, forming a permanent water-tite seal, and it conforms nicely in the task of overlapping the mast boot fabric. The hose clamp  serves to mechanically hold the boot in place - not to create a seal.
  • Sealing the joint where the two ends of the extrusion come together on our windows. When they came from the factory, there was an internal seal, but I had to destroy this to replace the glazing. The tape is a permanent cover for the joint.
  • Protecting the PVC used to make the new wind vane

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