Fix-It Chick: Choose the right dropcloth for your home project

Using a dropcloth is possibly one of the smartest things a homeowner can do when tackling pretty much any project. Here’s how to drop the right cloth.

• Use a thin plastic dropcloth to protect anything from furniture and artwork to patios and vegetation. Thin plastic dropcloths are not made to walk on, but they are an affordable way to keep dust, dirt and overspray off of pretty much anything.

• Use a thicker plastic dropcloth to protect woodwork, furniture and vegetation when painting. Thick dropcloths are slippery when wet and can tear easily, so use them with caution on floors. Taping dropcloths in place with blue painter’s tape is the perfect way to make sure they stay where they belong throughout the project. When scraping paint or wallpaper, a strategically placed dropcloth can make clean up a breeze. Simply roll up the plastic along with the debris and properly dispose everything in one fell swoop.

• Paper dropcloths work better than plastic for covering floors. Paper can tear and does not absorb much paint, so it may not be the best protection for high traffic areas. Paper dropcloths work well for temporary protection on top of newly finished floors.

• Use a canvas dropcloth for pretty much everything. These heavy-duty reusable work horses can absorb paint (within reason) and are the perfect choice for protecting the floor and everything else from paint splatters and spills. Investing in a canvas dropcloth can pay for itself after just a few projects. Canvas dropcloths can be taped into place or weighted down with paint cans, ladders and other sundries.

• Use a canvas dropcloth to protect floors when moving furniture. Couches and tables placed atop a canvas dropcloth can often be pulled from one space to another with ease.

• Use a canvas dropcloth to protect bathroom fixtures and floors during plumbing projects. The cloth will not stop a dropped wrench from breaking a porcelain sink, but it will keep things from being marred during the project and perhaps save that dropped screw from getting lost down the drain.

• Use canvas dropcloths to gather outdoor debris or spread the cloth beneath any workspace to catch dropped items and facilitate the cleanup process.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at