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9 Best Painters Drop Cloths and Tarps

Even the pros aren't immune to an occasional spill or splat. Painters drop cloths and tarps protect your floors and furnishings from the inevitable.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Painting Over DropclothsHighwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

Using a Drop Cloth

A drop cloth is a sheet of material used by painters to protect floors and furniture from the drips and drabs that can trickle down from above. If you have a paintbrush in one hand and a paint can in the other, there should always be a drop cloth underneath you. That’s one of the cardinal rules of painting.

With all the different types of drop cloths and tarps available, it’s sometimes hard to know which is right for your next home improvement project. So we broke it down for you.

Types of drop cloths



  • Durable and thick;
  • Indoor and outdoor use;
  • Washable and reusable.


  • Tends to bunch up;
  • Expensive.



  • Waterproof;
  • Drapable to cover furniture and odd shapes;
  • Economical.


  • Not eco-friendly;
  • Non-absorbent;
  • Slipping hazard.

Heavy paper



  • Rips easily;
  • Blows around in the wind.

Polyethylene tarp


  • Collects debris;
  • Best suited for exterior projects;
  • Multipurpose.


  • Use only as under-liner for painting.

Protective film


  • Lasts up to a month;
  • Non-slip.


  • Time-consuming to put down.



  • Tough protection;
  • Covers majority of surfaces.


  • Costly.
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Best All-Purpose Canvas Painters Drop Cloth

Able to absorb most paint spills yet lightweight enough to move easily from room to room, the CCS Chicago Canvas & Supply All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth is a must-have for many home improvement projects.

Made of 100 percent cotton duck canvas, with hems double-stitched using rot-resistant thread, the cover traps dust and debris while helping to prevent paint tracking disasters. Unlike most drop cloths that come in one standard “natural” hue, this one is available in various colors.

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Best Painters Drop Cloth Runner

If you’re working in tight spaces, a drop cloth runner is convenient. The Everbilt Heavyweight Canvas Drop Cloth Runner (4 ft. x 15 ft.) is designed for use in narrow areas like hallways and stairs. It’s plenty wide for a ladder, materials and you, and provides the right amount of coverage without all the bulkiness.

The Home Depot customer Seone says this drop cloth “fit perfectly in my hallway and along cabinets in kitchen.”

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Best Grippy Painters Drop Cloth

If you’re saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” you’re not alone. The CoverGrip Canvas Safety Drop Cloth features a simple idea that’s sweeping the painting world — little rubberized dots attached to the underside that keep the sheet from shifting.

Lay the cover down on stairs or tuck it snugly into corners; this new painting tool stays firmly in place until you decide to pick it up and move it.

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Best Poly-Back Painters Drop Cloth

Another strong product by Everbilt, the Poly Backed Drop Cloth is made of an absorbent canvas top layer and a slip-resistant, heat-bonded plastic bottom layer. Both prevent paint spills from seeping, leaking or bleeding through onto the floor.

The Home Depot reviewer JanW gave this Everbilt Poly-Back five stars, writing: “This drop cloth was great! Has a backing so paint can’t leak through if dripped on it and it was large so it covers a [good-sized] area without having to move it around.”

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Best Vinyl Painters Drop Cloth

Unlike flimsy plastic 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 protecting odd-shaped objects like kitchen islands and furniture from paint-related mishaps.

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Best Paper Painters Drop Cloth

Sometimes drop cloths can bunch up under ladders or don’t quite fit tight against baseboards. That’s where Trimaco Easy Mask Red Rosin Paper comes in. A popular choice among painting professionals and DIYers in the know, the 100 percent recycled paper has a moisture barrier that provides superior overspray and spill protection. All you have to do is roll it out and use painters tape to hold it in place.

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Best Super-Heavy Paper Protection

When canvas or plastic drop cloths aren’t enough home protection, we recommend Ram Board Home Edition Temporary Floor Protection. It’s a smart option if you need to cover a floor for an extended period of time. This recyclable product lays flat for quick installation, creates a barrier to liquids, and is vapor permeable so floors underneath can breathe.

Fun Fact: Ram Board has been around since 1999 and was originally created for the movie industry!

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Best Painters Carpet Protection Film

TapeManBlue Carpet Protection Film is a thin plastic skin that adheres to the top of carpeting, yet won’t leave behind marks, damage or a sticky residue. Tear- and puncture-resistant, the heavy-duty mask protects your carpeted floors and rugs not only against paint spills and water damage, but 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. A 24 in. x 200 ft. roll covers up to 400 sq. ft.

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Best Painters Tarp for Exteriors

Working on the outside of your home has a unique set of challenges — moisture, dirt and leaves, to name a few. The 5-mil B-Air Grizzly Tarp, made from tightly woven polyethylene fibers, is a classic blue solution for collecting falling debris when you’re scraping or sanding a structure.

Once you’re done with the prep, dump the debris into a garbage bin, wash off the tarp, and it’s ready for the next stage of the project. Great as a waterproof liner under a cloth drop when the house-painting phase begins, it comes in various sizes. Each features built-in aluminum grommets every 36 inches for secure tie-downs when the wind picks up.

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIY enthusiast covering everything from pests to painting to pool cabanas. Based in a medieval hill town in central Italy, when Toni isn’t documenting her travels around Europe, she’s tending her garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.