How to Evaluate Drop Cloth Quality

Finally giving up on old sheets and newspapers for protecting surfaces while painting?

Whether you are a professional contractor or a weekend warrior, choosing the correct canvas drop cloth quality can make the difference between success and failure. Most canvas drop cloths are fabricated from Cotton Duckcloth. This has nothing to do with a duck or animal skins.  Duck refers to an even flat weave type of canvas.

Brighter is Better

The brighter or more “natural” in color – the better the quality of the cloth.  Try to stay away from cloths that are grayish and have specs or seeds in the cloth   Typically this is a sign of inferior cloth that won’t last or perform as desired.

Higher Thread Counts More Durable

The quality of a drop cloth is referred to either in ounces per square yard or medium, heavy or extra heavy.  A safe comparison is:

  • 8 oz = Medium
  • 10 oz = Heavy
  • 12 oz= Extra Heavy

Generally speaking, the heavier the drop cloth the higher the thread count which will absorb more paint, be more durable and perform better. Professional painters mostly use medium or heavy as they don’t spill a lot.

Professional Use vs. DIY

Remember, the name is DROPcloth not SPILLcloth.  While the do-it-yourselfer might shop price, they should either use a 10 oz or 12 oz drop cloth when painting because they are more likely to spill or have mishaps.  Warning: If there is a major spill, do not, we repeat DO NOT walk on the spill.  Since dropcloths are untreated cotton woven products, stepping on a spill will push it through the canvas.  For other projects such as carpentry and fighting dust, a lighter product is sufficient.

Extend Drop Cloth Life

When finished using your drop cloths, store them dry so they can be used over and over again.


Chicago Canvas & Supply provides a wide selection of drop cloths for professional and non-professional use.  With selections ranging from 8 oz, 10 oz., and 12 oz. canvas drop cloths to butyl rubber and plastic. Not sure which one is best for your application?  That’s what we are here for…helping you get the best product for your application without overbuying or not having something sufficient for your use.

8 thoughts on “How to Evaluate Drop Cloth Quality

  1. Barbara L says:

    Do you have very white, flannel-backed dropcloths as in days of old? They are perfect for making slip covers. If not, where might I find them? Thanks.

    • Chicago Canvas & Supply says:


      Thanks for inquiring. We don’t carry this product at this time. Unfortunately, we don’t have a source to offer at this time.

  2. Brian Reeder says:

    What would you recommend for making a sturdy wall tent? I need something that will be able to stand up to strong winds and dust storms. Thanks for the help

  3. Dana Jordan says:

    I found an article on another site, where I DIY’er used drop cloths for no-sew curtains. I loved the industrial look she achieved. Since I will be using these for purposes other than mishaps, would an 8oz be lighter in weight and appearance than 10oz?

    • Thanks for your comment, Dana! Yup, 8 oz will be lighter in weight and appearance than 10 oz. Keep in mind that canvas dropcloths can have seams in larger sizes. Typically 9 x 12 or larger will have seams.

      Chicago Canvas & Supply

  4. Faith Vrablic says:

    I wanted to purchase a dropcloth for a cover for my couch but I read on Amazon that there is a seam that goes through the middle of your dropcloth size 9 x 12. Is this true?

    • Chicago Canvas & Supply says:

      Thanks for your question, Faith. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a seamless piece for each dropcloth.

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