Using A Drop Cloth

Big job, or little job, always use a drop cloth to protect against falling drops of paint ...

What? No Drop Cloth?

Early in my house painting career, while doing a small exterior porch ceiling job, I neglected to use a drop cloth.

"No big deal", I thought. I figured the job itself would only take only about half an hour, and then it was homeward bound for me. I was near the end of my workday, having already finished a job earlier in the day, so I wanted to get this (seemingly) small job over with, fast. I simply needed to be careful with the brush and roller, and there would be no problems.

Or so I thought.

In my haste to get the job done as fast as I could, I splattered several small drops of paint here and there. Just for good measure, I threw a couple of bigger globby drops right down in the middle of the floor - right where everyone could easily see - I might add.

Well, right about the time I finally noticed what I'd done, the owner of the house (who was walking up the sidewalk leading to the house) noticed too.

The look on her face said everything to me: I thought you knew what you were doing! She kind of laughed, and said "you probably should have used a drop cloth" and went inside.

Since she was a friend of mine, there was really no danger of me losing a customer. It was, however, very embarrassing. I think I ended up spending 40 - 45 minutes cleaning up the drops of paint, which was more time than I spent actually painting the ceiling.

I ended up doing a good job on the ceiling, and cleaned the floor of the porch fine. Like I said earlier, the owner was fine with everything as well.

But, I did learn a valuable lesson. And that is - no matter how big, or how small, always use a crop cloth. It will save your self from extra work, and possibly bigger, more expensive problems.

As far as what type of drop cloth to use, my recommendation is canvas. They come in various sizes and textures, with canvas being the most common. The reasons I like using canvas drops, is because it's thick enough (prevents bleed-through), and heavy enough so as to stay put, wherever you lay it down.

When protecting furniture or cabinetry, try using a 3 or 4 mil (thickness) plastic sheeting for light, maneuverable coverage.

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