Floor marking tape is designed for long-lasting adhesion, even through traffic, pallet dragging, and cleaning machines and chemicals. If your application fails prematurely, explore the reasons for the damage prior to reapplication to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Troubleshooting problems with your floor marking tape application starts with considering whether you’ve chosen the correct type of tape—a free sample kit helps determine what is best for your industrial facility—and examining any adverse conditions within your facility. Here are the most common reasons floor marking tape applications fail, and how to make your visual cues last longer.

1) Surface Temperature Affects Adhesion

Regular floor marking tape may not adhere properly to a surface that is too hot or too cold, such as near doorways, at loading docks, or in refrigerator or freezer storage areas. In these areas, the tape may pull away from the floor, wall, or other surfaces. This is because the cold draws the moisture out of the adhesive, reducing the tackiness of the adhesive bond. When the bond fails, the tape application peels away. To successfully apply floor markings in cold areas, choose freezer-rated floor tape with a special adhesive that’s designed for use in sub-zero temperatures.

Floor Tape Tip #1: For the best adhesion, ensure the tape and application surface are between 60 to 80 degrees F. Freezer-rated tape can be applied in temperatures as low as -10 degrees F.

2) Tape Was Stored Improperly

If the tape was exposed to extremely hot or very cold temperatures while in storage, it may affect the adhesive. Always store floor tape at the recommended temperature—room temperature or temperature-controlled storage is best. Store tape in a box, with a layer of foam padding to separate rolls, to prevent pressure from damaging the edges, and debris, oil, or grease spills from damaging the tape surface or adhesive backing. Store floor marking tape in the original boxes, or suspend rolls of tape to prevent damage to the tape edge. A floor tape application cart has space for storing extra rolls, which is a good solution in areas where you repair floor markings often—but this is not an ideal long-term storage solution.

Floor Tape Tip #2: If floor tape rolls have been exposed to hot or cold temperatures in storage, inspect them for signs of damage before application. Then, allow the rolls of tape to rest at room temperature for 24 hours before applying.

3) The Tape Is Beyond Its Shelf Life

Most floor marking tape has a shelf life of between 18 to 24 months—beyond that amount of time, the adhesive may deteriorate, leading to insufficient adhesion or premature failure. While buying floor marking tape in bulk is often a more budget-friendly option, consider how often you must replace your floor markings and plan accordingly to prevent product waste. While the shelf life states how long the tape often lasts while in storage, tape may last longer when stored in optimal conditions. When using floor tape that’s been in storage, inspect the adhesive before application and replace your tape if the adhesive appears damaged or has lost its tackiness.

Floor Tape Tip #3: If you have rolls of tape in storage, use the “First In, First Out” method: Use the oldest floor tape first—if it’s within its shelf life and is in good condition—to prevent unnecessary waste due to deterioration.

4) The Application Area Is Cracked or Uneven

Adhesive-backed floor marking tape will not adhere properly to cracked or uneven surfaces. When applying floor marking tape where there are seams, joints, or floor damage, leave a one-inch gap on either side of the crack.

Floor Tape Tip #4: For rough, uneven surfaces, you may need to consider alternate floor marking options such as projected lines and signs. 

5) The Surface Is Not Properly Cleaned

Dirt, debris, grease, oil, sawdust, and other contaminants can affect how well floor marking tape adheres to the surface. To ensure a sufficient bond, always clean the surface properly prior to applying floor marking tape. This process involves first sweeping away any large debris and dirt, then mopping thoroughly. Degreaser may be necessary to remove oil or grease. When the floor has been swept and mopped, complete the cleaning process by cleaning with isopropyl alcohol, allow it to dry, then continue the application process.

Floor Tape Application Tip #5: Before applying floor tape, test the area for cleanliness by sticking a small piece of tape to the surface, then pulling it away. Inspect the adhesive for signs of dirt or debris, and clean again if necessary.

While industrial floor marking tape is designed for use in heavily trafficked areas and to withstand forklift or motorized vehicles, you must choose the appropriate tape type and apply it correctly to ensure long-term adhesion. If the tape continues to fail prematurely, consider adjusting the tape type or application location to prevent damage caused by dragging pallets, twisting wheels, or exposure to the elements. Explore our Resource Center for more tips on applying and maintaining floor marking tape.