Reflective Tape Application Instructions

Instructions for Applying Reflective Tapes

Reflective Tape adhesive performance is dependent on surface preparation. Adhesive tape products should only be installed when it is dry outside. Applications should not be attempted on a rainy day or when dew is forming on the ground or other surfaces. A dry sunny day is optimal. The temperature should be between 32 and 100 degrees. Room temperature is best. Never attempt to apply reflective tape in below freezing temperatures and do expose the tape to below freezing temperatures until it has cured for at least 48 hours. The reason is that the tape contracts in extreme cold and if it sets in a contracted state it may buckle later on when the temperature increases and the tape expands.


The surface that the tape will be applied needs to be clean, dry and free of any contaminants such as dirt, grease etc.. Hand washing the application area is best.

To insure that the area is clean, a rag wet with rubbing alcohol should be used to wipe down the surface. Before the alcohol dries wipe it down again with a separate rag. This will help clean and also help dry the surface.


Note-practicing with a small piece of tape is often helpful.

Peel the backing off the the tape or Peel as you apply. Do not peel off more than you can work with at one time. Also, try to avoid touching the adhesive side of the tape as this can contaminate the adhesive and reduce its effectiveness.

Lay the material down using your fingers to press it onto the surface. Avoid laying the tape down and then pulling it up and applying it again as this tends to damage the adhesive. (Also, we have a picture below of a hinge application process that can help keep the tape straight during application.)

Squeegee the tape down to the surface. Gently at first and then with more pressure. Wrap the squeegee in cloth if necessary to keep from scratching the material. If a squeegee is not available use a soft cloth to press the tape firmly to the surface. Cut the material with a razor blade at any seams or joints in the surface that you are applying it to. Go over rivets and then after application (if necessary) cut around the rivets with a razor blade or exacto so that the material lays flat all the way around the rivet. Note – This is not necessary with our flexible engineer grade since it will conform over the rivets in most cases.

Our Flexible Engineer Grade Reflective Tape and Flexible High Intensity Reflective Tape WILL go around corners and fold around the edges of doors, etc. Our other reflective tapes are stiffer and WILL NOT stretch and are not designed to wrap around sharp corners or be folded over 90 degree edges. If you go around a sharp corner cut the tape and begin a new piece around the corner. The edges of the tape should be kept about 1/4″ from the edge of the surface that you are working on. If you bend the tape around a sharp corner it will stick at first but will eventually come up. The material is designed to be applied to generally flat surfaces.

When more than one piece of tape is needed to form a continious line, it is recommended that you butt splice the material instead of overlapping it. Note – Flexible engineer grade can be overlapped since it is so thin.

Special Instructions for Flexible Engineer Grade tape –
Application Temperature – 59 – 77 degrees fahrenheit. When the temperature is above this range the flexible engineer grade material becomes very soft and pliable. When the temperature is below this range the material becomes stiffer. (The material is designed this way so that if necessary it can be heated with a hair dryer during application to make it conform to complex curves, rivets, etc..) The material can be installed in temperatures above and below the recommended range, however, it is easier to install in the recommended temperature range.

If installing outside in hot or cold temperatures it helps to keep the tape inside an air conditioned or heated vehicle until you are ready to install it. In the summer, installing in the shade is helpful and in the winter, installing in direct sun is preferable. Also, we have posted some pictures of how a masking tape hinge can be used to position the tape and apply it. In warmer weather this method will help in the installation of the flexible engineer grade tapes.

Service Temperature – Once installed the tape can handle temperatures from -22 to +176 degrees fahrenheit.

reflective tape application instructions