The FEMA manuals recommend the use of "Duct" tape to have on hand for emergencies. Well...surprise...there is "duct tape" and then there is "duct tape". They aren't all the same animal. Quack. Quack.
The first name for duct tape was DUCK. It was developed during World War 2 to keep the moisture out of ammunition cans. Johnson and Johnson were the first manufacturers. It was provided only in olive drab and because it was waterproof the name "duck" as in "water off a duck's back" stuck. Later on people began calling it "duct" tape, although it didn't have anything to do with ducts.
"Duck" is a brand name of Henkel consumer adhesives.
While having such tape around before and after a hurricane, flood or disaster is a very helpful, before you stock up, you need to know a little bit about the various products.
GAFFER TAPE looks like duct tape. It feels like duct tape. It has a non-reflective background and comes in lots of pretty colors.
It was designed for the motion picture industry. It is waterproof, comes in 1/2 in, 1 in. 2 in., 4 in, and ocassionally 6 inch widths, can be torn just like duct tape but the adhesive is not that strong. It is ideal for use when you do not want to damage the surface of an expensive wooden door or a vehicle. For example, if your headlights go out and you want to tape flashlights to your hood, gaffer tape is the tape to use. It is extremely strong and will not damage the paint when removed. It is the best tape to use indoors when taping down rugs for the handicapped so they won't trip. The wide tape, sold as chroma-key, can put two inches on the rug and two inches on the floor, providing a seamless joint. An elderly patient will not trip at the intersection of rug and floor. When the time comes to remove the tape the floor and the rug will not be damaged. Other tapes will permanantly damage the rug. It can be used outdoors for general construction. Movie people use it to secure flats and signs rather than using nails. It is expensive. 2" by 60 yards is $15.00 in 2009 prices. Four inch runs $80 for 20 yards.
Basicly, the difference between grades is 1/5 in all areas. Thus Industrial grade has 4/5 the strength and waterproofing ability of Ultimate Grade. Undustrial grade 3/5, Professional 2/5. All purpose 1/5 and utility grade less that a fifth. Yuck.
In terms of tensile strength Ultimate grade is rated at about 70 pounds.
The latest type of "duct" tape now on the market is "Gorilla Tape". This sells for $9.00 for 12 yards and is the strongest and moisture moisture resistant of all tapes on the market. It has a tensile strength of 85 pounds. Excellent!
Scotch Transparent "duct" tape alleges to last six times longer. It doesn't. Tensile strength of 35 pounds. Peels off too easily. $6.00 for 20 yards.
Nashua Water Proofing Tape. $9.00 for 11 yards. Low tensile strength of 14 pounds. Becomes slimey when wet.
Scotch Multi-Purpose Duct Tape. $10.00 for sixty yards. 45 pound tensile strength. Doesn't hold well when wet. Best holds when wrapped around itself.
All of these tapes can be "torn" without a scissors. To be legally sold as "Duct" tape the tape must meet certain heat resistant criterion.
Then there are the "junk" look-a-like tapes sold at the ninety-nine cent stores. Not very good.
Suppose you have to affix a one quarter inch sheet of plywood to a ledge to cover a window blow out by a hurricane. The building is brick.
Gorilla tape is the appropriate tape. The glue thickness is four times as much as the other tapes and it is designed to grip irregular surfaces.
Now let's go inside. The window is blown out and you want to cover the inside with plastic. The problem is the walls are covered in fancy wallpaper. The correct tape to use is Gaffer tape. It is waterproof, strong, but can be removed from wallpaper after a few days without damaging the wallpaper. That's why it's used on motion picture sets to attach temporary items to expensive easily damaged surfaces.
The idea of taping windows to prevent injury in a hurricane is widespread, but my personal opinion is that professionally installed hurricane shutters or 3/4 inch plywood thororoughly secured to the frame of the structure are the only way to go.
Nevertheless, many people will decide to use tape for such a purpose. Masking tape is completely useless. Gorilla tape cannot be removed without the danger of breaking the glass. Gaffer tape might be considered. It can be removed easily.
A company called Bunker Industries manufactures a brand called "Hurricane Tape", similar to duct tape. They allege this tape is specially reinforced and easily removed and designed for "Hurricane Protection" of windows. I have no opinion on this, but if you must use window tape, it seems to be the best product. If you believe their advertising.
The force of a hurricane wind cannot be underestimated. It will slap a two-by-four right right through the side of a building.
Since this post 3M Corp. has marketed "duck tape" in various colors and designs, from flowers to stripes to squigglies. They are the greatest thing since sliced bread. These are available at Home Depot and Staples.
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