Containment 101: Using Tape to Build High-Performance Containment Systems

Article written by Lisa Zierfuss


The containment building is a critical part of many restorations, remediation, and abatement jobs. These barriers, often made with poly-sheeting held in place by tape, are used for a range of jobs – from the abatement of mold, lead, and asbestos, to clean-up of damage caused by fire, smoke, or water, to keeping contaminants and even crime scenes contained. Containment systems are also useful in general remodeling projects, particularly where stone or woodcutting occurs when particles such as silica dust or sawdust are released into the air. In these situations, having the proper tape(s) is essential to building a high-performance containment system.




Building an airtight containment is paramount to protecting interiors during restoration projects and minimizing the risk of contact with hazardous materials during abatement. Containments serve to:


  1. Prevent potentially hazardous substances – such as mold spores, asbestos, lead-based paint, silica dust, and more – from spreading throughout the entire structure.
  2. Address concerns for health and safety, especially where airborne hazardous materials are present.
  3. Function as a barrier to keep dust and other particles confined within a workspace, which also helps make clean-up easier.




Tape – either applied in a two-step or one-step approach – is often used to build containment systems. The traditional two-step method involves the use of two different types: a blue painter’s tape and a heavy-duty or poly-hanging duct tape. To build a containment using this method, a blue painter’s tape. Ideally one with clean removal of 14 days or longer, is applied to surfaces to which poly-sheeting will be hung. Then a heavy-duty or poly-hanging duct tape is used to secure the poly-sheeting to the backing of the painter’s tape.


In this situation, the painter’s tape serves as a barrier to protect surfaces from damage that could otherwise be caused by the direct application of duct tape to the surface. Surface protection is particularly critical in restoration or remodeling jobs in which the structure will remain intact once the job is complete.


This method also eliminates the need to use a spray adhesive, which can be messy.


The two-step, two tape method has been used and relied on by professionals for decades, but advances in tape offerings have also led to the option of a one-step method of the containment building.


The one-step method eliminates the need for two tapes in favor of simplifying and using a single, double-sided tape to hang poly-sheeting.


Double-sided containment tapes combine the properties of the two types of tapes used in the traditional two-step method. One tape, one-step solution delivers several benefits to users, including:


  • Time savings: Using a double-sided containment tape eliminates the extra steps of using two tapes, allowing containments to go up faster and come down easier. Many of these tapes also offer 21-day clean removal rather than 14,. Which allows for longer project duration and less risk of surface damage.
  • Waste reduction: Double-sided containment tapes also reduce the waste and tape consumption associated with the two-step method. In order to create an adequately sized work area using the two tape method, it is usually necessary to double. Or triple up on the painters and duct tapes in order to get the same width of the usable poly-hanging area as a double-sided tape can offer. Meaning more time spent and more product going to waste. These factors can add up in the long run.



Shurtape Tape Solutions


Whether you prefer the Two-Step Method or the One-Step Method of building containment systems for restoration and abatement applications. Using the right tapes is key to achieving airtight, high-performing barriers. Shurtape offers a full line of tapes to get the job done.


For the Two-Step Method, try:


· Shurtape CP 327: Specifically formulated blue containment masking tape that replaces the traditional blue painter’s tape in the containment building process. This tape is made with an aggressive adhesive that allows it to stay fixed to the wall. Even while bearing the weight of the poly-sheeting and duct tape, but removes cleanly for up to 21 days.


· Shurtape PC 608: Heavy-duty, poly-hanging duct tape designed to hold a variety of types and thicknesses of poly-sheeting. It tears cleanly and easily, performs well in cold temperatures, and will stick even in wet, damp, or humid conditions.


For the One-Step Method, try:


· Shurtape DS 154: Double-sided, two-tapes-in-one solution engineered with a differential adhesive system. On the surface side is a painter’s tape that offers 21-day clean removal from a variety of surfaces; on the linered side is an aggressive adhesive that securely holds poly-sheeting and other protective coverings. When the job is done, the tape and poly-sheeting removal cleanly and easily, in a single step.


To learn more and to find the right tape for your next project, visit

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