What is the Best Drop Cloth for Painting?

Before starting any painting job, you have to get a drop cloth down over furnishings, floors, and counters. If you don’t, you’ll spend hours cleaning up paint splatters and drips. Not only that, you protect against damage from spills if something happens and the paint container or tray is knocked over while you’re painting.

How do you know what to choose as the best drop cloth for painting projects? Take a closer look at your options and which best suits the job at hand.

Types of Drop Clothes for Painting

Chicago Canvas carries the three best drop cloths for painting. One of these is certain to meet your needs.

#1 Colored Canvas Drop Cloths

A canvas drop cloth is absorbent, which helps soak up spills and helps you avoid tracking the paint if someone accidentally steps in a paint spill or droplet. They’re made with 100% cotton duck canvas and are designed for reuse

Colored canvas drop cloths come in more than two dozen colors ranging from Apple Green to Fuchsia, and they come in 21 sizes ranging from 5′ x 7′ to 40′ x 40′. These canvas drop cloths are machine washable and can be dried in a dryer. This makes it easy to clean them for reuse.

#2 – Untreated Natural Drop Cloths

The untreated natural drop cloths are also made from heavy-duty cotton canvas. Like the colored drop cloths, they are absorbent and help you avoid tracking. You can wash them after use, which allows you to use them for dozens of jobs. You have a choice of three weights and sizes ranging from 4′ x 12′ to 40′ x 40′. Finally, you can get them with grommets to help secure them on a lawn for outdoor painting projects.

If you need to buy the untreated natural drop cloths in bulk, you can. They’re sold in packs of four, six, or a dozen and in 8 oz., 10 oz, or 12 oz. weights. Bulk canvas drop cloths come in five sizes ranging from 4′ x 12′ to 12′ x 15′.

#3 – Butyl Rubber Drop Cloths

For the ultimate protection, butyl rubber drop cloths are ideal. The rubber coating prevents them from slipping while you walk on them. You can put ladders on them and not worry about the ladder moving. Purchase the rubber-coated drop cloths in four sizes: 4.5′ x 12′, 4.5′ x 15′, 9′ x 12′ or 12′ x 15′.

In addition to being slip-resistant, the rubber-coated drop cloths are easy to clean off outside with a hose or in a laundry cycle as long as you can set the wash load to cold wash and cold rinse. Air dry them before storing them. Do not dry them in the dryer. You can purchase these drop cloths in bulk packs of four, six, or a dozen and save money.

Tips for Using the Drop Cloth Properly

After choosing the best drop cloth for painting jobs, make sure you’re using it properly. Cover all areas of the floor where you’re painting. If the cloth is too large, fold the edges. Don’t cut it smaller as that may fray the edge and lead to rips.

When you have the tarp positioned correctly and all edges are folded, use tape to secure it in place. If you don’t want to use tape, bricks set every few feet will work. You don’t want it moving around and leaving an area where you’ve just painted exposed to any drips you may miss.

Once the flooring is covered, cover all furnishings and counters. You may not need to tape these drop cloths into place, but you should weigh it down with something that won’t scratch the furnishings finish if there is a risk of it shifting. Heavier books wrapped in a grocery bag to prevent paint splatters work well.

A canvas painting drop cloth may be slippery. You should wear sneakers with a good rubber tread when you’re walking on the tarp. If you’ve placed it over wooden flooring, sneakers won’t help much either. Use extra care while walking around. If you buy the triple-coated butyl rubber drop cloths, you don’t have to worry about slipping.

When you’re done your painting project, allow the walls and/or ceiling to dry before you remove the drop cloth. At that point, carefully remove any tape or weights. Fold the tarp up so that the paint side remains on the inside. If you purchased a canvas or untreated natural drop cloth, you can toss it in the wash. If it’s a rubber-coated drop cloth, take it outside to scrub off paint and rinse it clean with a hose. Let it dry completely before folding and storing it for another painting project.

For most painting projects, canvas drop cloths will suit your needs. If you’re using ladders, however, you need to look closely at the rubber-backed drop cloths. The experts at Chicago Canvas & Supply are happy to answer your additional questions or help you select the right size for your needs. We’re available via online chat, email, or toll-free phone.