Joe Truini attaching masking tape to drop cloth and trim.

To keep drop cloths against walls when painting a room:

  1. Apply 2” masking tape to the quarter round or shoe molding along the wall.
  2. Spread the drop cloth out on the floor next to the wall.
  3. Apply a second layer of masking tape, lapping it over both the drop cloth and trim.
  4. After painting the room, remove the drop cloth and both layers of masking tape.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: Interior room painting is a project that any homeowner can handle. But before you start applying paint to the wall, you need to protect the flooring.

Danny Lipford: Now that’s where drop cloths come in handy. But the problem with using drop cloths is when you’re actually working and painting on the walls, your feet will kick the drop cloth, and you still end up with paint right on the floor.

Joe Truini: To prevent that from happening, what you need to do is protect the floor with a strip of two inch wide masking tape. Press the tape tight against the baseboard trim and flat against the flooring. Then spread out your drop cloth, and put the edge of it on the first layer of tape.

Now you don’t have to be concerned with how straight the drop cloth is. As long as it covers the first tape layer, you can then adhere it to the floor with a second layer of tape. Now in this case we’re using it over a carpeted floor, but this technique will work on hardwood flooring or vinyl flooring as well.

Danny Lipford: Now you can also use an inexpensive, lightweight type plastic. But the problem with using plastic is when you’re dropping the paint, it’ll stay wet and you end up tracking the paint all over the place.

Joe Truini: If you do have to use a plastic drop cloth, cover it with several layers of newspaper. This way if you do spill any paint, the newspaper will absorb the paint spill.

Danny Lipford: Now of course you’re going to spend more on a canvas drop cloth, but it’ll last you for a long, long time.

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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