Waterproof tape is a large product category that includes several tape types with distinct designs and purposes, including duct tape, reflective tape, and nonslip tape. Since these products are water resistant, they work for use indoors or even outdoors, where they can patch small leaks, create reflective surfaces to warn of safety hazards or obstacles, and make nonslip surfaces on concrete steps, wooden deck boards, or pool ladders.
The best waterproof tape can even be applied underwater for making repairs to a filled above-ground pool or to the bottom of a boat without having to pull it out of the water. To find the best waterproof tape for your next maintenance or repair project, take a look at the top selections below, then continue reading for shopping tips and important product considerations that can help you make a final decision.
- BEST OVERALL: Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Tape 4″ x 10′ Black
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Trazon Grip Tape – Heavy Duty Anti Slip Tape
- BEST FOR LEAKING PIPES: Flex Tape Rubberized Waterproof Tape, 4″ x 5′
- BEST FOR OUTDOORS: 360Tronics Butyl Waterproof Tape 2″W X 16.4’L
- BEST REFLECTIVE: Starrey Flexible Reflective Tape White Silver
- MOST VERSATILE: T-REX Ferociously Strong Repair Tape
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Waterproof Tape
When searching for a waterproof tape product, it’s important to understand the types of tape available and how best to use them. Also consider the material used to make the tape and how this affects the product’s durability, application, and level of water resistance.
Water-resistant and waterproof tapes come in several different types that are differentiated by their purpose, durability, and texture.
- Waterproof reflective tape is regularly used to mark mailboxes, driveways, and trash cans so they are easy to see at night or in poor weather. Reflective tape also can help clearly identify lanes and dangerous locations in the workshop or be placed on a boat to help make it more visible to other boats.
- Drywall tape isn’t waterproof, but it uses water to become more malleable and adhesive, allowing the tape to properly fill the gaps between two drywall pieces and eliminating the indented look that can come from just using drywall compound. Moisture-resistant drywall tape is a good choice for the bathroom, kitchen, and any other rooms subjected to high levels of moisture and humidity.
- Nonslip waterproof tape has a textured backing to help prevent slipping. It’s a great option to add to potentially slick surfaces, like the floor of a boat, the front steps up to the house, or the deck/patio. The textured backing on the tape helps to prevent slipping.
- Gaffer tape is similar to duct tape in strength and adhesion, but it’s more resistant to heat and easier to remove without leaving behind a sticky residue. However, gaffer tape is made with a heavy cotton cloth backing that is typically only water resistant, not waterproof. Also, waterproof gaffer tape is a specialty product that might be difficult to find.
- Duct tape also has a cloth construction, but the cloth has a polyethylene resin coating, which makes it waterproof. Duct tape is a common fixer around the house and in several different industries, including HVAC installation and maintenance, automotive repairs, and even in the hotel industry to secure protective sheets, carpets, and paddings.
Waterproof tape is made with a range of materials, including cloth, plastic, and rubber, with each affecting its durability, water resistance, adhesive strength, and application method.
- Cloth generally refers to a cotton tape backing that is durable when applied but also easy to tear from the roll. With this functionality, users can easily tear pieces of gaffer tape and duct tape. However, cloth doesn’t have any significant water resistance, so it needs to be coated with another substance to be effective in wet conditions.
- Plastic includes polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, and polymethyl methacrylate, which are used to provide a waterproof backing to common tape types, including duct tape, reflective tape, and nonslip tape. Plastic is flexible and strong, allowing the tape to stretch without breaking. However, plastic can include potent adhesives that leave behind residues that are difficult to remove.
- Both butyl rubber and silicone rubber are excellent options for waterproof tape. This type of tape is used for outdoor repairs to seal up leaks in the roof, to fix a hole in the side of an above-ground pool, or to patch up a boat. Some can even go on while underwater.
Select waterproof tape based on its adhesive strength and the effectiveness of the adhesive. On average, a waterproof tape can remain effective for up to 5 years before the adhesive begins to break down, though factors like extreme temperature changes, physical stress, and exposure to direct sunlight can reduce this length of effectiveness.
Look for a waterproof tape product that meets the project’s requirements for adhesive strength. Temporarily securing wires with gaffer tape requires significantly less adhesive strength and resistance than applying nonslip tape to a heavily used part of the house, like the front steps. Tape designed to stop leaks needs to be able to create a tight, waterproof bond with the metal, wood, or plastic surface to prevent running water from seeping in and gradually peeling away the tape.
While considering the type of tape and its material and adhesive strength, shoppers often overlook an important feature of waterproof tape: color and finish. However, using brightly colored tape is a common application in numerous situations, such as clearly and concisely cordoning off a hazardous area or highlighting a hard-to-see object, like a mailbox or garage door.
Waterproof tape with neutral colors is great for home design, as it can fade into the background instead of drawing attention to the repair. Gaffer tape typically comes in neutral colors and has a matte finish for taping wires and set pieces in the film and theater industry without reflecting light and detracting from the shoot or performance.
Ease of Use
Choosing the correct product for a specific purpose is the best way to ensure the project will get completed with the least amount of problems. Waterproof tape products designed for general-purpose repairs around the house usually can peel, cut, and apply without much trouble, but these products might have a hard time properly adhering to outdoor surfaces.
Tape products made for repairing leaks or resisting hot and cold temperature extremes are more difficult to apply because the adhesive is stronger and more viscous so it can create a bond that completely seals the hole or crack. However, once this tape is in place, it can be difficult to remove without leaving a sticky residue behind.
Our Top Picks
The products below were chosen for quality, price, and the considerations mentioned above. Take a look at this list to find some of the best waterproof tapes to help make your next repair project easier and more efficient.
The Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Tape works for indoor or outdoor use with equal effect; it’s resistant to temperature extremes as well as rain, snow, and UV radiation. This tape can bond to a variety of surfaces without cracking or peeling. The waterproof tape comes in a 10-foot roll that is 4 inches wide with an adhesive designed to form a permanent bond to the material to which it’s applied, including plastic, metal, aluminum, rubber, wood, vinyl, glass, steel, and acrylic.
Users can apply the tape on hot, cold, wet, dry, or even submerged surfaces, though it will form the strongest seal when the surface is clean and the tape makes complete contact with no wrinkles. It has a flexible polyethylene backing that stretches to form a compression patch on contoured surfaces. Note that the tape can be difficult to tear, so it’s better to measure and cut a piece to the correct size instead of fighting with the roll.
The affordable Trazon waterproof grip tape comes in a 35-foot length and three different widths, including 1-inch, 2-inch, and 4-inch sizes. It also has an 80-grit aluminum oxide textured backing designed to create waterproof, nonslip surfaces on a variety of materials, like stone, concrete, metal, plastic, glass, and wood. This addition can make it easier and safer to use stairs, ladders, skateboards, scooters, and boats.
The nonslip waterproof tape has a strong adhesive capable of withstanding oils, detergents, and the wear and tear of regular foot traffic without shifting or peeling. Its design can work in most climates, since it should resist rain, snow, sun, and sleet as well as hot and cold temperature extremes.
Take home repairs seriously with the Flex Tape Rubberized Waterproof Tape, which is designed for patching leaks in wood, glass, cement, ceramic, metal, rubber, or stone. Once the user peels away the thin layer of plastic protecting the adhesive side, the adhesive forms a watertight bond that instantly stops leaks in sprinkler systems, pools, and water pipes, preventing flooding and extensive water damage.
This waterproof tape comes in a 4-inch-wide by 5-foot roll and is resistant to fluctuating temperatures for applying in extreme cold and hot conditions. It also can go on dry, wet, or even submerged surfaces for active leaks and marine repairs. Once the waterproof tape adheres to the surface it will seal out both water and air to prevent flooding, water damage, and water hammer.
For an effective waterproof solution to a leaking roof, drafty window, or even to patch a sprinkler system, the 360Tronics waterproof tape is an excellent option that bonds to cement, metal, plastic, and wood. The tape is made with a rubber butyl adhesive and aluminum foil backing, allowing it to form a watertight seal that effectively stops leaks by patching the cracks and holes.
This waterproof tape boasts a long life, with a stated resistance to aging and stretching that keeps the tape effective for up to 30 years when properly applied. It is also resistant to high- and low-temperature extremes, UV radiation, abrasion damage, and solutions like oil or diesel. Choose between 16-foot or 33-foot lengths, and also select the width from three different options, including 2 inches, 3.9 inches, or 6 inches.
The Starrey Flexible Reflective waterproof tape is made with durable and highly reflective polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is about 10 times brighter than standard PVC reflective backing. The waterproof tape is designed for indoor or outdoor purposes, though it most often goes on cars, trucks, and other vehicles, as well as stationary objects, like mailboxes, trash cans, and garage doors.
The roll of tape comes in 15-foot and 45-foot lengths and 0.5-inch, 1-inch, and 3-inch widths for a variety of projects. It has a heavy-duty backing and a strong adhesive that can be applied to metal, wood, or plastic surfaces. Once applied, the tape is resistant to gasoline, diesel, and high- and low-temperature extremes. It’s even abrasion and wash resistant so regular use and cleaning of a surface will not damage the tape.
The T-REX Ferociously Strong Repair Tape is a versatile product great for a range of indoor and outdoor repairs, like taping a torn screen or fixing a hole in a tent. The waterproof tape is designed with outdoor applications in mind, even rough and wet surfaces. It also has a clear, UV-resistant backing that prevents the adhesive from drying out and peeling under direct sunlight.
This waterproof duct tape comes in a 9-yard roll that is 1.88 inches wide; it can be used on multiple small repairs before needing replacement. It’s easy to tear and it has a double-thick adhesive that supports quick and effective application of this waterproof tape on wood, metal, and plastic to create a watertight bond.
FAQs About Waterproof Tape
Read on to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about waterproof tape products and how to use them in your next maintenance and repair project.
Q. Can I remove splinters with waterproof tape?
Some waterproof tape products, with a strong enough adhesive, can be used to carefully draw out and remove splinters.
Q. Can I stop leaking with waterproof tape?
Waterproof tape designed for sealing cracks and holes is a good option to stop a leak. There are even some products that can be applied to underwater surfaces, which is great for repairing a boat.
Q. Is waterproof tape good for outdoor use?
Using waterproof tape outdoors is a great idea, as long as the specific product is rated for this purpose. Nonslip tape is commonly used on stone steps and slick deck boards to help prevent slipping, while tape made with rubber butyl is a good choice for sealing gaps and cracks in the roof and chimney flashing.