Will 3M Command strips damage the paint?
March 11, 2009 4:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering using 3M Command strips to hang some lightweight pictures on the walls of my new apartment. These walls are painted taupe, and I don't want to mess up that paint when I eventually move out. Will the adhesive on these strips take any paint with them when they're removed? Do they come off easily?

I see these things recommended all over the place, but I haven't found specific mentions of their use on paint. If it makes a difference, this is an 80-something-year-old building with a brand new paint job.
posted by katillathehun to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use them on college dorm walls, which are paint (and I'll bet the cheap kind) on cinder block walls. I don't remember any paint coming off over the past 3 or 4 years from command strips.

Just for the record, I've also used packing tape, mounting squares, various forms of velcro, and duct tape. None of which pulled paint off the wall, or if it did it was a very minimal amount. Painters tape always pulled paint off the wall.
posted by theichibun at 4:03 PM on March 11, 2009

I haven't had them take paint off, in my experience. I think that's supposed to be the main benefit of Command adhesive--that it doesn't remove paint, so most likely you will be fine.
posted by fructose at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: I used to sell Command stuff for 3M; it works bizarrely well and won't damage the paint, even glossy paint. If you have any doubt put one up, wait a few days and take it down, removing the sticky part entirely--the package will have extra sticky parts. Follow the directions carefully, especially when it comes removing it--pulling the tab straight down, (rather than out away from the wall).
posted by tula at 4:24 PM on March 11, 2009

Not in my experience. Do a patch test if you're worried. Or maybe get a tester pot of the paint just in case.
posted by Solomon at 4:28 PM on March 11, 2009

As long as you follow the directions, you should be fine. I had one of the 3M Hangers take a little bit of paint off a wall, but I had pulled the strip away from the wall to remove it instead of straight down.
posted by Nedroid at 5:13 PM on March 11, 2009

I have used them about 50 times. Paint came off once. I'm pretty sure it was my fault for not pulling the tab far enough down. They're really great. They leave slight discolouration (almost a greasy sheen) but that wipes off with a damp paper towel.
posted by KevCed at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2009

Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread, but does anyone know if said 3M Command strips will work on exposed brick? If not, can anyone recommend something that will? I'm trying to hang a small dry erase board (approximately 18 x 12) on an exposed brick wall, and drilling isn't an option.
posted by saladin at 6:05 PM on March 11, 2009

Nevermind, 3M's FAQ says no.
posted by saladin at 6:07 PM on March 11, 2009

Those 3M Command strips work incredibly well, as long as you follow the directions carefully. I've used them all over my house.
posted by Ostara at 6:24 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: Command strips are excellent, but they dry out over time. I had some on my walls for about three years and the sticky stuff became solid, so they tore instead of stretched and would not come free. Eventually I sort of pried them off with a butter knife and yes, they lifted paint.

If I used Command strips again, I would remove and replace them every year. They do not seem suited to long-term use.
posted by Georgina at 10:23 PM on March 11, 2009

mine ripped the paint right off my walls on 6 of the 8 sites on which i used them.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 11:20 PM on March 11, 2009

I also had them rip paint off the walls but I think it was older flat paint so it was dry as were the strips so it may have contributed...
posted by zennoshinjou at 5:00 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, guys. Looks like I need to test these somewhere first. Their instructions say that heat can cause the adhesive to soften... I wonder if warming them with a hair dryer before removal would help?
posted by katillathehun at 9:32 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: An update for anyone curious: I used the sawtooth strips all over my apartment to great success... for about three months. Just recently, they all started falling off the walls for no apparent reason. I followed the instructions exactly, and the pictures were all very lightweight. It's like the adhesive just vanished. To their credit, however, no paint was taken off in the process.
posted by katillathehun at 11:10 AM on June 8, 2009

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