Can I use tape on my floor?
As a general rule, tape should never be applied directly to a floor regardless of whether the finish is completely cured or not. However, experienced hardwood floor professionals will often use low-adhesive painter’s tape to delineate rooms and mark lines for sport floors, etc., but the tape is not left on the floor for an extended period and very carefully removed.
Floor finishes will generally cure in seven (waterborne) to thirty days (solvent based). When tape is applied to a floor finish that is not fully cured the adhesive on the tape may have a reaction with the solvent still gassing off from the finish- causing a stronger bond than expected, possibly resulting in the finish being peeled off the floor when the tape is pulled (basically super-glued together). Just as a professional painter would not apply tape to a newly painted surface (same reaction will take place), tape should not be applied to a newly finished floor.
We always teach at our schools (as does NWFA) that if the floor needs to be covered, then brown wrapping paper (never red rosin paper- could stain the floor) should be used and the segment should only be taped to each other, thus creating a floating sheet. We don’t suggest taping to the trim work for the same reasoning listed above, it may peel the paint.
We do not even recommended applying tape on a floor if the finish is fully cured; as the stronger adhesive on some tapes could have this same type of reaction if left on the floor for too long, again resulting in the tape peeling the finish off of the flooring surface.
When removing tape, peel very gently at a 45 degree angle. DO NOT just rip the tape straight up off the floor as you will likely pull finish with it.