Choosing the Best Canvas Drop Cloth

During a construction project, a complete transformation of a dated space, or painting project, you need to protect your furnishings, floors, and outdoor spaces. Paint drips seem minimal, but they can be impossible to remove from some finishes. Dark brown stains on a white carpet may never come out. You now have the expense of replacing the flooring or hiding that stain. Take the time to protect finishes when you’re painting, sanding, or cutting boards, floor planks, etc. and you avoid expensive cleaning or repair bills.

Choosing the best canvas drop cloth comes down to what you need the drop cloth to protect or do. The canvas you choose for painting projects isn’t going to be the same choice you’d make for protecting furnishings from dust in a summer home. Take a look at your options in order to figure out which is best for your needs.

Three Types of Drop Cloths Fit Most Needs

Ask a professional painter or renovator about drop cloths and you’ll get very definite opinions. Which is best? It depends on your needs, but one is a clear leader and first choice of many professionals. These are your three main options for canvas drop cloths.

#1 – Butyl (Rubber) Coated Drop Cloths

Butyl coated drop cloths are a favorite because they’re non-slip. Walk on them and they won’t move around. Put something on them, and they’re not going to shift.

Painting high ceilings from a ladder is made safer because the rubber backing on the drop cloth won’t slip if you have a ladder or stool on it. There’s a second reason that the rubber coating is so important. If you were to accidentally spill stain on a thinner canvas drop cloth, it would absorb the stain, but it can also leak through. You might not track it around, but the flooring below the drop cloth is now stained. That can be costly.

Get butyl (rubber) coated drop cloths in these cut sizes: 4.5 by 12 feet, 4.5 by 15 feet, 9 by 12 feet, or 12 by 15 feet. If you need multiple drop cloths, you can purchase them in bulk packs of 4, 6, or 12 drop cloths. After using the drop cloth, you can toss it in the wash (cold water only) and air dry it. This allows you to reuse the drop cloth over and over. It’s durable and will last a while.

#2 – Heavy-Duty Cotton Duck Canvas

When would you use heavy-duty cotton duck canvas? It’s good for interior and exterior painting projects. They’re absorbent to help stop tricking and soak up drips. Use them to protect grass when painting outdoor trim. Protect your wood floors while painting walls. Or, cover your sofa and chairs with cotton duck canvas before you install new sheetrock walls and start stirring up a lot of dust when cutting and sanding the sheetrock and joint compound.

Purchase heavy-duty cotton duck canvas in 8, 10, or 12-ounce thicknesses. These drop cloths are ideal choices for small painting projects where you’re working from ground level and don’t need ladders. They come in cut sizes ranging from 4 by 12 feet to 40 by 40 feet (cut size). If you need bulk canvases for your painting or remodeling projects, Chicago Canvas has bulk pricing available in 4, 6, or 12 packs.

When you’re done with your remodeling or painting projects, toss the canvas drop cloth in the wash and use it over and over for other projects. Because they’re washable, they’re a popular choice with professional painters and carpenters.

#3 – Untreated Natural Canvas Drop Cloths

If you need grommets to help secure drop cloths over the surfaces they’re protecting, untreated natural canvas drop cloths are best. They have grommets that you can use to tie down the canvas drop cloth over items. Use them to cover counters before painting cabinets. If you bump them, the grommets and tie-downs keep the drop cloth from shifting. Use them to protect furniture from dust or during small painting jobs.

Get these untreated natural canvas drop cloths in 8, 10, or 12-ounce weights. Sizes range from 4 by 12 feet to 40 by 40 feet. Note that these sizes are cut sizes. You lose a few inches after the grommets and hems are added.

How do you choose? If you’re covering wood flooring and use ladders, non-slip is an important quality. If you’re covering furniture to protect it from dust when installing new windows and doors, untreated canvas drop cloths serve the purpose and wash easily. You can cover gardens in lightweight canvas drop cloths to prevent drips when staining a deck or pergola. When painting a garage door, you might want to protect the driveway with a canvas that has grommets to secure it to the ground if there’s a breeze.

Plastic Drop Cloths Offer an Affordable Alternative in Certain Situations

In some situations, you can bypass canvas drop cloths and use plastic sheets. At Chicago Canvas & Supply, the plastic sheets come in 0.5, 1, and 2 MIL (9 by 12-foot sheets) or 4 MIL (12 by 15-foot sheets). These resist water, which makes them a good choice for protecting patio and deck floors when you’re tackling outside painting or construction projects. Not only do they repel water, but they also keep dirt and sawdust off garden plants, shrubs, patio furniture, and other surfaces.

Plastic sheets come 12 to a pack. They can rip, so you have to use them carefully. You won’t want to place ladders on the sheets. You also don’t want to do a lot of walking on them or put items with sharp points or edges on them. When you order plastic sheets, they are cut size, so the sizes given above are not correct. You may need to add a few inches to the edges to ensure you have the right dimensions.

Measure Carefully and Prevent Unexpected Shortages

Avoid shortages by making sure you order a drop cloth that fits your needs. Drop cloths that are cut size are smaller than what you order. By the time seams, hems, and grommets are added, it takes a few inches off the measurements. If you purchase a 4 by 12-foot canvas drop cloth, you actually get one that is more like 3.5 by 11.5 feet. That can be a problem. If you’re covering a sectional sofa and leave six inches exposed, that’s six inches of sofa that could get paint drips and become ruined.

When you’re sizing your drop cloth, add a few inches to each side. It’s better to have a little too much canvas fabric than too little. You also need to consider how much area to protect. If you’re covering counters to protect from sawdust and paint, you’ll want some overhang to protect the front and side edges. A sofa needs to be protected all the way to the floor. It might be best to have enough to tuck the canvas under the sofa’s feet, too.

Your home and yard deserve the best protection possible when painting or remodeling. Don’t risk your floors or furnishings to stains due to the wrong size or poor quality. Chicago Canvas helps make sure you have the best canvas drop cloth for your needs in the correct size. We offer free quotes.  If you’re not sure, you can ask Chicago Canvas to help you order the right size. Our experts are happy to help. Reach us at 1-866-389-2218.