Sectioning off a spray/finishing room. Plastic vs Canvas drop cloths for the sides???

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Forum topic by Sailor posted 12-07-2012 04:21 AM 1868 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 3230 days

12-07-2012 04:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am very fortunate to have some paying work going on in the shop right now. I have been wanting a place to do some spraying and finally I have the opportunity to section off a 10’x12’ area of my garage semi-permanently for this purpose.

Basically it’s the back corner of the garage. I have already put luan on the ceiling and now I just need to section off the remaining two sides. I want something I can put up and take down fairly easily, but also something that will last. It has been on my mind to just use some clear plastic drop cloths and tape them up, but my mother mentioned using some canvas drop cloths instead (the tan ones that Lowe’s sells for cheap).

Instead of taping it up, I could just tack it up (which would hold better and I could probably just roll/bundle it up to the ceiling when it’s not in use. The same could be done with plastic, but it’s more prone to tearing and getting holes in it.

The canvas is heavier than plastic so it would hang better.

I can think of two reasons why plastic may be preferred.
-the plastic is semi clear so it would let light through (although 90% of the lighting will be within the booth area
-the canvas may collect lint and dust which could pose a problem when painting and finishing

What do you guys think?

I plan on creating some positive pressure in the boothe with a small fan, well if it’s even needed. I will be spraying only water based finishes in the room.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

5 replies so far

View Paul Miller's profile

Paul Miller

33 posts in 3419 days

#1 posted 12-07-2012 07:51 AM

I put screw hooks in the ceiling and use a couple lightweight blue poly tarps. I spaced the hooks to line up with the tarp grommets and just take them down when not in use. Be sure to mark the hooks and tarps with numbers or letters because the grommets aren’t always the same distance apart. I have about a 4” gap at the top and a 12” gap at the bottom. I haven’t noticed overspray getting out and causing a problem. I also put a tarp down on the floor when spraying. Some light comes through the tarps, but there is also a light in the spray area.


View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2769 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 12:12 PM

I had a small room where I painted a frame, tank, and fenders in many years ago. I used plastic, but, I taped a piece of 1”pvc across the whole length of the bottom (after it was hung from the ceiling), then when I was done, all I did was roll it up to the ceiling where I had a couple of bungee cords to hold it up out of the way. The pvc also helped hold the plastic in place. I don’t know if plastic or canvas would be a better choice. I did have an exhaust fan in a window, but, I was spraying automotive paint. Good luck with whatever you come up with.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View dhazelton's profile


2755 posts in 2262 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 01:46 PM

You could also do something with piping, tarps with grommets (you can put grommets in canvas if you want or just buy those black plastic grommet clips) and get some shower curtain clips. Instead of rolling up and down you can just push it all back – seems easier.

View Thalweg's profile


97 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 05:03 PM

I’ve been thinking about doing something similar for a long time. I like the idea of positve pressure. But if you do that with plastic or canvas, won’t the “walls” just blow out?

View Ripthorn's profile


1454 posts in 2950 days

#5 posted 12-07-2012 05:27 PM

I have done something similar with canvas and quite like it for a couple reasons. First, I mainly use waterbase finishes, so I just have some water on hand that I spray right into the drop cloth for the first round of clean up. Also, it is heavier, so you don’t have the problem with any pressure differences moving the plastic. Third, it just looks and feels much more substantial.

I like the recommendation to essentially make them curtains, as it would be much quicker. I haven’t found my canvas cloth to produce any lint, and I got it from Harbor Freight for dirt cheap.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

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