When painting a room some people go old fashioned by using old newspapers to cover the floor. This is the cheap man’s way when doing painting around the house. Besides being this a cheap of doing it, let’s look at it from a practical point of view as well as if this is actually the better way comparing it to using plastic drop cloth.
The advantages of using newspaper to cover the floor are easy to count. Newspaper is cheap and eventually you have it anyway if you subscribe to the daily paper of your home town. You can “borrow” some from friends and neighbors without the need paying for it, too. Newspaper absorbs liquids to a certain degree, too. A newspaper sheet covers a certain amount of floor and you just add additional layers on top of each other to reach maximum protection.
Disadvantages of using newspaper are easy to identify as well. Using newspapers when painting a room can lead to stains on the carpet as an example. No matter how many layers of newspaper you eventually put on top of each other, if you spill a can of paint it will most definitely leak through somewhere. Newspaper is dirty – just grab a few sheets of newspaper and then look at your fingers. In most cases your fingers will show black or grey color from the newspaper. Now imagine you cover an entire room with newspaper when painting and then walk over this several times. Then you leave the room where nothing protects your carpet. You can be sure to leave some footprints on your good carpet. And while this can easily be removed from your hands, it is difficult to be removed from your carpet.
Drop cloth however is a notch more expensive than newspaper. To cover a normal master bedroom with drop cloth you might have to pay somewhere between $10 and $30 for enough drop cloth. How much you pay depends on the thickness you choose. However, drop cloth is clean and does not cover your hands with some printer paint or so. It comes in large sheets and is a big time saver when it comes to cover an entire room. It is also better to be used when you have to cover furniture that cannot be moved out of the room that you painting.
Conclusion: While newspaper is the cheaper option to prepare a room for painting, it is the less optimal solution. Drop cloth is faster to deploy and provides better and cleaner protection for your carpet and furniture.