Common materials for drop cloths include:

  • Plastic: which is inexpensive but is slippery and tears easily.
  • Canvas: which is expensive and porous, allowing paint to soak through.

A vinyl table cloth can also make a good drop cloth, since the felt side on the floor keeps it from sliding while the vinyl top prevents paint from soaking through. Watch this video to find out more.

Joe Truini: Every interior painting project starts by putting down a drop cloth to protect the floor, and that’s particularly important in a room like this that has carpeting. Now, there’s two basic types of drop cloths, there’s clear plastic sheeting, which is very thin and tears easily and plus it’s really slippery. And there’s canvas, which is very durable and pretty thick but it’s also porous and sometimes when you spill paint on it it’ll soak through and get right on the floor.

So what I’m using here is a vinyl table cloth, which on the backside has a felt surface that prevents it from sliding around and on the top surface it’s covered with completely vinyl so paint won’t soak through.

Now, a vinyl table cloth like this I picked up on sale for less than ten dollars, which is a lot less expensive than a professional canvas drop cloth and only slightly more than a plastic one. And what I really like about it is you can just roll it up and save it and reuse it time and time again.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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