Drop cloths are a must when doing any type of painting job whether straight painting, faux finishing, or even doing a mural.
It is very important to protect your floors even before bringing in your gear. I have learned some simple tips through trial and error over my years of painting that I thought may help you understand the importance of a drop cloth.
First, lets talk about the different drop cloth options:
1. Paper Dropcloths
- Comes on a roll usually 3-4 ft wide
- Good to use on hard wood floors & tile
- Needs to be taped down to the floor because they move
- Will need to be thrown away at the end of the job
- Good to use on furniture
- Easily ripped, cut, or punctured
- Not good to use on floors because paint spills stay wet on the surface and can then be tracked through the rest of the house
- Can be used on both hard surfaces or carpeted floors
- Made of recycled cotton
- Can be used mulitiple times (I have had mine for several years)
- The tighter the weave, the more absorbent they are (go for the more expensive, they will last longer)
- Rubberized backing on one side
- Less slipping on slick surfaces
- More expensive than regular canvas drop cloths
- No paint can leak through, even if you spilled a whole gallon on this drop cloth
So, in my professional opinion, if you plan on painting professionally - purchase both the regular canvas dropcloths as well as the drop cloths with the backing. If you are a homeowner and need a good drop cloth for a few small home painting projects, stick with the regular canvas drop cloths. But buy the more expensive ones with the tighter weave. If you use the cheaper canvas dropcloth to cover over carpet and accidentally tip over a gallon of paint (it happens!) the paint will definitely leak through the cloth onto your carpet. Believe me, I have had to learn this the HARD way! It is worth the extra money to have that extra protection.
I like to use old sheets to cover furniture. I stay away from the paper & plastic drop cloths all together. If the sheets are sliding off the furniture, then use painter's tape or even safety pins to secure it.
A COUPLE TIPS:
- Tape down your drop cloths, especially when working on a slippery surface, such as hard wood or tile. I usually put a few peices of tape along the edges right on the baseboard trim. I also tape in between drop cloths so you do not trip and your ladder does not get caught on an edge when maneuvering around the room.
- Shake out your drop cloths at the end of the job and fold them neatly to store them. This will make it so much easier for you to use them for your next job. If you are working in a home with dogs or cats, it is even more important that you clean the dropcloths between uses. You can also wash a drop cloth depending on its size. For the larger sizes go to a laundromat.