Masking Your Ann Arbor Home and Using Drop Cloths

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This is a carry on from our last video.

Today we're going to go over step six in the painting process, and that's dropping and masking. Now, the equipment that you're going to need for masking starts with a professional grade masker. It's paper, and tape, and they get attached to each other when it comes off the machine, and you can stick it anywhere you want to keep the paint off any surface you want to keep it off of.

You're going to need some masking paper, you're going to want one inch masking tape, put on the masker, and then you're going to want some one and a half inch tape. You're going to want some blue, and you're going to want some regular. Now, how much blue and how much regular you use will depend on your situation, which we'll go over as we're out there demonstrating the masking. You're also going to want some duct tape for taping along roof lines, on shingles, or along concrete where it's difficult to get regular tape to stick.


Now, especially if you're spraying, but even if you're brushing and rolling, you're going to want a box of this Painter's Plastic. This is what you're going to use to cover all the windows, doors, et cetera. You're going to need your brand new, super sharp razor knife. As far as drop cloths go, you're probably not going to want to invest in as many as I've got, but you're really going to need a couple, so it's worth a few bucks. All right, let's go get it done.

Now, if you're brushing and rolling the house, all you really need to do for the windows is put a little paper awning over the top of them to protect them from any splatter coming down from above. Often when you're masking stuff, you reach the point where you need to batten everything down, kind of like you're wrapping presents. It's handy to have a few tabs of tape sticking on your shirt, so you can just rip them right off.

Sometimes when you're masking along an edge like this, where you got to get the tape underneath the siding, it pays just to run first a strip of this one and a half inch tape, get it all tight, and nice, and sealed in there, and then just run a piece of paper and tape right on top of that.

Now, sometimes when it comes to these little weird pipes and stuff that we've all got sticking out of our house, it's hard to know what to do with them. They might not look that good, but at the same time, it would be difficult to paint this all the way to the ground. What I'll do sometimes is just mask them to match the bottom of the siding.

Okay, now I've got this section of this house pretty well masked and dropped for brushing and rolling. I've got my awnings over the doors and windows, I've got a few old sheets over here that I threw on the grass, because I'm not too concerned about the grass. I use my good canvas drop cloths up here, because I don't want any paint bleeding through onto the deck. You notice I didn't put the drop cloths too far out onto the deck, because I'm not going to be making that big of a mess.

Now, I'm going to go ahead and mask the same section of the house, as if we were going to spray it. Okay, now this same section is dropped and masked, ready for spraying. Now, you'll notice how I extended the drop cloths all the way out on the deck, because I don't want any overspray getting out on the deck at all. I also put some tarps out around the corner, because any time you're spraying, you need to keep in mind what's around the corner, because that overspray might drift around the corner.

Now, you see I have masked off the sliding door, I masked off that window. When you're getting ready to brush and roll, all we did was tuck that drop cloth underneath the paper and called it good. Now that we're spraying, you need to tape that paper down to the drop cloth, because otherwise, the force of the sprayer will force that paper up, and you'll get paint right underneath it and make a big mess.

If you've got labels that somebody might need to see one day, just put a piece of tape over the top of them like that, take your five-way, stick it right on the edge, stick it on the other edge, and now you've got it perfectly covered up. These little corners where the roof runs into the siding there, it's a real easy spot to forget to mask. Make sure you get that little corner of that roof sealed up good there.

Now, along the roof line to mask off the roof, you're going to probably want a piece of duct tape right up against the edge, then you'll run your masking paper. Then remember, you need to tape that masking paper down to your drop cloth if you're spraying, because otherwise, the force of the spray will force that paper up, and you'll get paint underneath it on the roof.

Now, the final point about masking roofs, is you really can't just run your drop cloths halfway out there, because if that overspray happens to drift in that direction right where that drop cloth line is, it will be very obvious from the ground. You need to cover the entire roof with something. Here I'm using some of those blue tarps to get the whole roof, because I'm not going to be walking back there.

Now, this same concept will apply to driveways, decks, wherever you are. If you put a drop cloth down, but you don't cover the entire thing, the line where the overspray fell and where it didn't fall can be very obvious, so you'd almost be better off sometimes having nothing there at all.

Okay, so now you know the basic steps that are involved in masking and dropping prior to painting. Now, if you're going to be painting with a brush and roller, you can mask and drop as you go along, but if you're going to be spraying, you really want to take a half a day or a whole day to just get the whole house masked and dropped as much as you can, so when it comes time to spray, you don't have to worry about where the paint's going, you can just focus on the spraying.

Now, to see the video on painting your house with a brush and roller, or to see the video to spray your house, of course, go to my website,, where you'll find a lot of helpful materials as well as a complete series of videos that I've created to help you paint your house right.