The 7 Best Painters Drop Cloths and Tarps
Even the pros aren't immune to an occasional spill or splat. A painters drop cloth protects your floors and furnishings from an inevitable mess.
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Spills and splatters are inevitable during any painting project, but you can protect your furnishings and flooring with one single painting tool: a painters drop cloth. Using a paint bucket along with a painters tarp makes for an easy cleanup when it comes time to put the paint brushes, rollers and tools away. There are a few types of painters drop cloths on the market, so we did the research for you to find the best options for your next home improvement project.
All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth
Able to absorb most paint spills yet lightweight enough to move easily from room to room, this Canvas & Supply pick is our choice for best overall painters drop cloth. Made of 100% cotton duck canvas, with hems double-stitched using rot-resistant thread, the cover traps dust and debris while helping to prevent paint disasters. This painters drop cloth is available in 10 sizes, meaning you’ll be able to find the right option for your next home improvement project.
- Available in several sizes
- Washable and reusable
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
- Some buyers say the sizes are not exact
SuperTuff Plastic Drop Cloth
To get the job done with a no frills version, the Trimaco SuperTuff Plastic Drop Cloth is a prime budget-friendly choice. This 9-foot by 12-foot plastic painters drop cloth is leak-proof and easy to move around while keeping paint splatters and dust contained. To keep it safely in place, you can use painter’s tape to secure it into corners.
- Easy to move
- Not washable
CoverGrip Safety Drop Cloth
There will be no slipping and sliding with the CoverGrip Canvas Safety Drop Cloth. It features little rubberized dots attached to the underside to keep this painters drop cloth securely in place. Just lay it down and apply pressure, the rubber dots will grab onto the covered surface and hold firm. It fits snugly on stairs and tucks into corners, making it a fantastic option to prevent paint drips on floors.
- Rubberized grip prevents shifting on slick surfaces
- Available in several sizes
Trimaco Stay Put Dropcloth
Unlike flimsy plastic painters drop cloths that can slide beneath your feet, the Trimaco Stay Put Vinyl Drop Cloth is a slip-resistant, textured tarp with a tacky backing that’s especially suited for flat surfaces like hardwood, tile or laminate floors. The 2-mil-thick vinyl is leak-proof, drapable and clingy—ideal for preventing dust and protecting odd-shaped objects like kitchen islands and furniture from paint-related mishaps.
- Thick slip-resistant vinyl
- Available in two sizes
- Perfect option for covering furniture
- May need multiples if using for furniture and flooring
EcoDrop Paper Drop Cloth
For an eco-friendly option, the EcoDrop Paper Drop Cloth is made from 100% recycled materials. This paper is perfect for light painting and touch-up jobs, such as painting outdoor furniture or doing a little trim work. The 9-foot by 12-foot size can easily be cut into sections for smaller jobs, and at less than $7, it’s a smart option to always keep on hand.
- Made from 100% recycled materials
- Can be cut to fit any project
- Not meant for heavy painting jobs
Best for Carpet Protection
TapeManBlue Carpet Protection Film
If your painting project will take place in a room with carpet, you’ll need a painters drop cloth that adheres to the fibers in carpeting. TapeManBlue Carpet Protection Film is a thin plastic skin that does just that, yet won’t leave behind any sticky residue, marks or damage.
It’s tear- and puncture-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about it ripping. The heavy-duty film protects against not only spills and water damage, but any tracked in construction debris as well. No tools are required to install it: Once it’s down, it stays there until you pull it up.
- Adheres to the top of carpeting
- Tear- and puncture-resistant
- Clean removal
- May need two people for proper installation
Best for Exteriors
B-Air Grizzly Tarp
Moisture, dirt and leaves can all pose challenges when painting outdoors, but the B-Air Grizzly Tarp is up to the task. This painters tarp is made from tightly woven polyethylene fibers and is a reliable option for collecting falling debris when you’re sanding a structure or painting wood siding.
When finished, just dump the mess into the garbage, wash off the tarp, and it’s ready for the next stage of the project. It comes in various sizes, and each features built-in aluminum grommets every 36 inches for secure tie-downs when the wind picks up.
- Easy to clean
- Available in several sizes
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Includes grommets for secure tie-downs
- Some buyers say the tarp is thinner than expected
What to Consider When Buying a Painters Drop Cloth
When looking for the best painters drop cloth, consider your project and what you need covered. If you have slick hardwood or tile flooring, consider a drop cloth with little rubberized dots to help it stay put. If you’re working outside, look for options you can tie in place. You’ll also want to think about how much you’re willing to spend, and if you want a painters drop cloth that can be washed and reused.
Types of Painters Drop Cloths
- Canvas drop cloths are an ideal option for covering flooring and furniture when you’re painting inside. They absorb most paint spills and trap dust and debris.
- Plastic and vinyl drop cloths are waterproof and perfect for draping over furniture and covering odd shapes. While more affordable, they’re not eco-friendly and they won’t absorb spills.
- Paper drop cloths are a go-to for smaller projects, such as painting trim. They’re recyclable, inexpensive and can be cut to fit your space. However, they tend to tear easily and aren’t the best option for working outside.
- Protective films are a non-slip material that clings to carpet and furniture. However, it can be time-consuming to put down and may require two people.
- Tarps are an excellent drop cloth option for outdoor work, such as preparing your exterior for paint. They are easy to clean and often have grommets allowing you to tie them down.
How We Found the Best Painters Drop Cloth
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Are painters drop cloths waterproof?
Some painters drop cloths are water-resistant, preventing the penetration of water to some degree. Opt for plastic or vinyl if you’re looking for waterproof options.
Will paint bleed through canvas drop cloths?
Paint should not bleed through canvas drop cloths. Canvas is the material of choice for many professional painters as it is absorbing and has a tight weave.
Do drop cloths shrink when washed?
Canvas drop cloths do have a tendency to shrink when washed and dried. Before washing, check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
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