By Greg Illes
Standard vinyl electrical tape has been around for a long time – too long, some would say. The problem with this commonly used product is its adhesive. It doesn’t really stick very well and after awhile it starts to peel loose, leaving a gooey mess behind. But now there’s a self-fusing silicone rubber tape for weatherproof connections which works great.
A better alternative
Some years ago, a worthy alternative to standard vinyl electrical tape appeared – a silicone rubber tape that was self-fusing. It bonded to itself with enthusiasm and had no adhesive to age or create a mess. Furthermore, it was impervious to many chemicals, ozone and UV, which age and deteriorate lesser products.
Recently, this self-vulcanizing tape has seen a surge in popularity. It’s now sold in many colors and widths, all at affordable prices (although much more expensive than its cheaper brother). Sold by everyone from Ace Hardware to Amazon, a 1″ x 12′ roll runs about $10, and 2″ x 36′ will set you back about $30.
How do you use self-fusing silicone rubber tape?
You apply the tape by peeling off its backing (being careful not to let it touch itself – it bonds instantly). Wrap the tape around the object to be covered and make the first wrap go over itself. Then stretch the tape in the direction you want and continue wrapping. It’s easiest to cut off a piece in advance rather than applying it from the roll. A little experience will show you how much to use, and it takes very little: Two to three inches will weatherproof most electrical joints.
Notice that the tape doesn’t actually stick to anything but itself. This means that it’s easy to remove, but it also means that it can’t be used for any application that requires a sticky seal. The best way to think of this “tool” is as a rubber-molding process. Once the tape is applied and wrapped around the object, it is literally as if the object were cast inside a mold. In fact, I’ve cut open 5-year-old wrappings and they still looked as if they were just one solid piece of rubber.
What can you use it for?
Due to its stretchy nature, the tape is fabulously conforming. It will create a solid rubber sleeve around the most odd-shaped joints and other objects. In addition to electrical, the tape can be used for any purpose where a rubber coating is desired. For example, my flagpole gave up its rattle after I rubber-taped the base. Your imagination is your only limit.
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog.
Gaffer tape could replace duct tape in your repair kit
Recently a rat chewed a hole in the stinky slinky connection to my macerator. I wrapped a double layer of “Rescue Tape” around the hose where the leak had been, That was a couple of months ago. Since then macerator line has developed a leak which I have repaired with the tape. I keep thinking I should replace those lines, but I’m in no hurry so long as the tape holds.
It’s great for vacuum cleaner hoses too.
Actually that tape was developed by 3M decades ago. It was developed by my uncle and others in the taoe division in Maplewood Mn.
I had a leak around the top of my windshield. I tried using an adhesive that windshield installers use. It didn’t work. I got some black silicon tape and ran a single piece the whole length of the rubber gasket -overlapping it on the fiberglass cap. It’s been there for 3 years and still no leaks. You can’t even tell it’s there because it matches the gasket.
We have used this type of tape for years at our company to waterproof electrical connections in a very wet environment. I stretch the tape a lot when applying, start with a wrap or two at the base of the connector before overlapping as working up. I do use at least two layers, wrapping up the connector and harness, then back down. I also work with 10-12 inch lengths as it is much easier to use. I liked the tape so much I have used it on my trailer harnesses and have never had any issues.
Been around for years in the high voltage trade but only recently available (if you didn’t know where to look) to the general public. Good stuff but like was said “no Sticky” which can be good or bad depending on your application.
This is awesome stuff. I used it to repair some drain plumbing. Worked great. I wouldnt ask it to work on the pressure side. But be careful. Once it sticks to itself, its stuck..
Stuff works great, It’s in my tool kit. Lately, used it to seal a persistent small drip on plumbing lines. No more leak, great joy.