Are you considering painting the house in the near future? Then you know you’ll have to deal with unwanted splashes and drips of paint. Fortunately, that’s what dropcloths are for. However, choosing the right one can be difficult. The market is full of different types of dropcloths for different needs. And as if that’s not enough, the brands selling them are just as many and each claim to be reputable. So how do you choose one? Here’s a few pointers.
What Are Dropcloths?
Before we get into choosing a dropcloth, let’s start with the basics. What are dropcloths, anyway? Simply put, these are cloths that stop paint from dripping or splashing onto any surface other than the one you’re painting. As a rule, they’re made from impermeable or absorbent materials, including canvas, paper, plastic, or paper-poly, which is a combination of paper and plastic. And for this reason, they provide ample protection to floors and furniture. The non-slip varieties also protect you from falls.
Types of Dropcloths
As just mentioned, four types of dropcloths exist – canvas, plastic, paper, and paper-poly. Let’s start with the first. Canvas cloths offer the best protection against spills and are, therefore, the heaviest and most expensive. In addition, they are also tear-resistant and washable. Some even come with a rubber base, making them non-slip. Trimaco, for instance, sells a wide variety of slip resistant canvas dropcloths that are also very absorbent, which makes clean up much easier.
Plastic cloths are impermeable and tear-resistant, but with the added benefit of being light, cheap, and disposable. As a result, you can easily drape them over furniture. But on the downside, they’re also slippery, so take care not to fall when working on them. Also, any paint that gets on them isn’t absorbed; it gets on your shoes instead. So, if you’re not careful, you can track paint all over the house.
With absorbent paper and paper-poly cloths, however, you can’t track paint. Unfortunately, you can neither re-use them nor cover floors with them because they tear easily. However, you can cut them to fit any space you like.
How to Pick the Right Size
The different types of dropcloths come in different sizes. What matters, however, is how much furniture or square feet of floor you need to cover. And if you’re working outdoors, remember to include potted plants and patios in your calculations. Either way, get a cloth that’s slightly larger than what you need.
How to Use Dropcloths
First, vacuum the floor to get rid of any dirt that might scratch the floor. Using painter’s tape, secure the edges of the plastic, paper, or paper-poly cloths to stop them from moving. Likewise, secure cloths you’ve draped over furniture with masking tape. But remember, the cloth you use depends on how long you intend to use it. For time-consuming or exterior projects, settle for canvas cloths, but for interiors, use plastic, paper, or paper-poly cloths. Commercial projects need tough butyl-coated cloths, and stairs will need slip-resistant ones.
How to Store the Dropcloths
Once you’re done painting, don’t rush to fold the dropcloths. Wait for the paint on them to dry first. Later, discard them if they are made from paper and paper-poly. However, fold plastic cloths and store them in a dry place. Although you can do the same for canvas cloths, wash, and air-dry them first if possible.
As important as dropcloths are to a painter, they must be used correctly. But to do so, you must know how to pick the right cloth for the scope of your project and your needs.