7 Tips for Using a Drop Cloth while Painting
Drop cloths are your best friend when you are doing interior painting projects.
18:33 30 March 2020
The drop cloth protects floors, carpets, furniture and more from accidental paint transfers. The problems that most people have with drop cloths is keeping the cloth in place while they paint, and using the wrong type of cloth during their project.
We asked professional painters what tips they could share on drop cloths and getting the best protection from these items.
Canvas Drop Cloths
The majority of painters use canvas drop cloths. Canvas cloths are reusable. The material is thick and will stop paint transfer. The canvas cloths can withstand being walked on and they do not tear easily. Canvas drop cloths are more expensive than most other drop cloth types. These coverings are best for someone who will do a lot of painting because they are meant to be used repeatedly.
Plastic Drop Cloths
You will find plastic drop cloths at the majority of retail shops that sell paint or painting accessories. The plastic cloths can be effective at stopping the transfer of paint but they come in different thicknesses.
The really thin plastic cloths tear very easy. These coverings should be used on furniture or similar items to protect from transfer but also in a place where you will not come into contact with the cloth frequently.
Thicker plastic cloths can be used on floors and in areas where you will come into a lot of contact with them. Some of the thicker cloths can even be used more than once before they have to be replaced.
Watch for Spills
Plastic drop cloths are effective at stopping paint transfer because the paint does not seep through the material. The problem is that paint that gets on the cloths will remain wet and this wet paint can run, or stick to your shoes, or be released if the cloth gets torn. To avoid this complication wipe up paint that you see on the cloth as quickly as possible.
Tape them down
If you are using a drop cloth to cover a floor you might discover that the tarp will have a tendency to move and leave portions of the floor unprotected. You can eliminate a large amount of this problem by taping the cloth in place.
You can use painters tape to tape these cloths to the floor. You can also use masking tape for this purpose. Put 2” tape masking tape along the outer sections of the floor against the walls and door openings. Lay the drop cloth in place leaving a small section of tape exposed. Place another layer of tape on top of the drop cloth and press firmly so the tape adheres to the previous layer of tape.
You want to make sure that the drop cloths you use to cover furniture are slightly larger than the furniture so you can completely cover the item.
When you are placing the cloth on the floor you want the cloth to be the correct dimensions of the room. Cloths that are too small will not cover the entire area and cloths that are too large will bunch up and create problems.
Resin paper is an excellent drop cloth material and it does not tear as easily as the very thin plastic cloths do. Make sure that you secure the resin paper so that it does not slide on hardwood, laminate, or tile floors.
Cotton sheets are often draped across furniture to protect the furniture. Be sure that when using sheets you are covering items that have a very low risk of paint transfer. Paint will seep through the cotton fabric of the sheet and damage the pieces you are covering.
Be Careful with Metal Paint Buckets
If you have a metal paint bucket or a metal paint holder for your paint roller be careful to not damage your drop cloth when moving the paint container. Pick the tray or bucket up and do not slide it across the cover.
A drop cloth is your best friend because it protects the things you do not want to paint from accidental exposure. When working with these cloths be sure to walk gingerly and do not slide your feet. If the cloth gets torn then it will not protect your floor.