In junction box splices, can I use black electrical tape for black wire (hot) and white electrical tape for the white neutral wire?

Many people use black electrical tape or just 1 color of electrical tape in the splices in the junction boxes. However, I just want to know if it is a better practice to match the color of the electrical tape with the color of the wires (e.g.: black electrical tape for black wire splice and white electrical tape for white wire splice).

I plan to use the NASA-approved soldered "lineman splice" (http://makezine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/western-union-or-linemans-splice.jpg). So I would use electrical tape to insulate the exposed wires in that case. So I am just asking if there are any common practices or best practices when it comes to the color of the electrical tape to use to insulate the exposed wires in the junction box.


  • 4
    Why are you using electrical tape for splices? A wirenut or push-in type connector works just fine without it.... Oct 1, 2016 at 4:48
  • 5
    Where in the world are you? Oct 1, 2016 at 5:14
  • 1
    I'm curious as to where you are in the world... that will help inform as to whether black and white tape are best practice. (FWIW, I'd call it completely useless, as white wires are white, and that's enough.) Oct 1, 2016 at 15:01
  • 3
    Code seems to require either pressure connections (wirenuts, screws, etc.) or solder (NEC 110.14). Getting a permanent tight twist connection by itself is hard, especially on live wires that go through heat and cool cycles. Tape is superfluous over connectors, although sometimes used. It is now more commonly used to cover exposed screw terminals on switch and outlet devices.
    – bib
    Oct 1, 2016 at 16:06
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    "I have seen those wirenut or push-in-type connector, however, in our area, we still use electrical tapes for splices. Nobody uses wirenut or push-in-type connectors here yet." .............. If you are in the US there is no way I believe this. Oct 1, 2016 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


Tape is not a thing for splices. You should not be using tape as your primary way to splice, period. That is illegal, unsafe and will get all your work flagged by the inspector. Since you say you are in the USA, wire-nuts and splice blocks are readily available and dirt cheap, though you can solder if you really want to.

However, the solder method you want to use is not allowed inside conduit or conduit bodies, and if you do it inside a junction box, you still need to leave 6-8" of tail. Part of your wire will be a stiff stick, so it'll be hard to stuff into the box. 4-11/16 boxes will help, those are much cheaper at real electrical supply.

Also, as far as taping after the solder -- that is not an afterthought. It is complicated! Electrical-grade soldering is serious business, and not least is the fairly complicated taping of insulation, that involves both friction tape and electrical tape. You'd need to find an olllld timer that worked on K&T to educate you.

Shrink wrap might be a viable approach, but watch out for sharp points that wear and puncture the shrink wrap. Part of the friction tape's job is to remove all possibility of that.

In any case I wouldn't depend too much on NASA guidance in that most of their vehicles are single use. I would wire the way NASA's facilities department wires their boring old office buildings. Call them up, they'd be gobsmacked that anyone cares about what they do.

That is not to say there's never a reason to use tape. If you solder, it's an i,portant part of splicing, and you must do hots and neutrals. Some people also use tape to over-wrap wire nuts to "keep them on", but they need to get better nuts and use the right size! Older (20 year old) nuts are not nearly as good as today's. Exception: nuts capping off a single wire need to be taped or they will fall off.

Work must be neat, workmanlike and consistent within your installation. Nobody ever got fired for using black for everything. However that can make the wiring rather difficult to understand, which is why I own 10 colors of electrical tape.

By "consistent within your installation" I mean that if the previous work used colors a particular way, continue doing that if you are able. If unable, use what you have, but make it plain you are doing that.

Do not use bad tape simply to get a color. By "bad" I mean low quality or tape which is not UL/CSA listed for use as electrical tape.


To answer your questions...

Can I use white electrical tape?

  • yes, white electrical tape doesn't hurt.

Is it a better practice?

  • in my jurisdiction (North America), I've never seen this done. So, I'd say "no, this is not a better practice". There's no benefit that I can see to using different colors of tape.

To answer the question you didn't ask, and is getting play in the comments:

Is it appropriate to twist and tape wire together?

  • no, in my jurisdiction, this is not code compliant. Thanks @bib for citing chapter and verse in the comments: "Code seems to require either pressure connections (wirenuts, screws, etc.) or solder (NEC 110.14)." If you're looking for best practices (ie, ones that will reduce the risk of electrical fires), I suggest you think about wire joining strategies.
  • Thanks. You or the code mentioned "solder", so I updated my question to further clarify it. I am not looking for something that will reduce fire risks. I am just concerned about the colors of the electrical tape to use. I thought that using white color for the white-wire splices and black for black-wire splices would clarify or make it easy to identify what are the splices for (for "live/hot" or for neutral) when someone looks at the junction box. So I am looking for answers that will either refute that or support that so that I would know if what I am thinking makes sense or not. Oct 2, 2016 at 4:30

To your primary question:

Yes, you can use white electrical tape to wrap properly spliced neutral wire connections.

To the second part of your question about common practice:

What you are asking about (soldered splice connections) is not common practice anymore across the United States and therefore no longer has a broad convention defined for tape colors used to insulate those connections that a majority of people will immediately understand better than just using black electrical tape for all connections.

If it truly is still common practice to solder in your area, I would recommend:

  1. Check out a few existing connections in the rest of the house to see what convention is used and stick to that. Changing conventions would just be likely to add confusion.
  2. Call your local building department and ask them what tape colors they commonly see used for this purpose. Since this is common in your area, there may be a common local convention that would be good to adhere to. Also, please check with the building department to see which permits and inspections are required for the work you are performing (if you have not already).

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