Surface protection: doing more than just keep floors clean

by Brian Sodoma

Safety. Cleanliness. Professionalism. Underfoot surface protection can involve a lot more than the preservation of a finished floor in or near a home or commercial environment. How your crews go about protecting surfaces reflects on your company’s dedication to doing the job right. There are a lot of good options for keeping floors and walkways clean and debris-free. Here’s a look at some protection offerings pros are turning to for a variety of reasons.


Professionalism is at the core of ShuBee’s mission. The Macon, GA-based company launched more than two decades ago with a shoe-cover product that its owner, a contractor, found boosted his teams’ professional look when he worked in homes. Since then, ShuBee has brought many other surface-protection products to market.

“It’s all about how we show up and how we show ourselves to the homeowner or the client,” said Christy Fiveash, VP and partner at ShuBee.

Paint pros appreciate ShuBee’s BeeArmor Surface Protection for a multitude of smooth, hard surfaces. It’s a thicker product that adheres without leaving a film behind after it’s pulled up, is reusable, waterproof, and can be easily cut to fit into corners and angled- or curved-flooring areas—and it doesn’t require taping. It’s designed with a very mild adhesive, while also taking advantage of natural static-cling, allowing it to be easily pressed into place. While it’s intended for interiors, some pros also use it on exterior walkways leading up to the home, Fiveash added.

It comes in a 39″-wide by 100′-long roll and in red and blue colors.

“Those colors stand out and really create a path so employees know not to stray off of it, too,” Fiveash noted.

Available in 24″ and 36″ widths and a 200′-long roll, ShuBee’s Blue Floor Treatment is a durable, moisture-resistant 3-mil-thin product that is designed specifically for linoleum, tile and similar surfaces. And the company’s The Red Carpet Treatment is a puncture-resistant, 3-mil self-adhesive film designed for carpets that’s available in 24″- and 36″-wide rolls that are 200′ long.

“Both of these products are great alternatives to drop cloths,” added Brian Chesnut, a ShuBee customer service consultant. “That way, you’re not taking the dirt from another person’s home into a new client’s home. We’re not ignoring the drop cloth, we’re just trying to improve on the concept of that need.”


When it comes to protecting floors, paint pros primarily look for affordable products that easily stick to the surface, resist slipping, and can handle spills.

For Protective Products International, Inc., the Econo Runner is the company’s number one product with paint pros. Available in 32″ by 100′ rolls, Econo Runner works well on concrete, hardwood, stone, marble and tile. It has a nonporous polyethylene top that protects against spills, and is nonadhesive with a tacky feel on its nonwoven fiber backing.

“It’s great for foyers, entryways and places that are going to be trafficked constantly,” said Alan Nishiguchi, Protective Products’ president. “It’s our number one product for underfoot protection, even more so now with the trend to more hardwood, natural stone, composite and vinyl flooring.”

Pro Tect Associate’s Finished Floor Guard is a hit with pros, too. Its 100′-long rolls come in 24,” 36″ and 48″ widths. You don’t need to tape it down, and it easily adheres to stairs without leaving a residue when removed. “Pros like it because you can leave it down as long as you want and things don’t get underneath it,” added Pro Tect Owner, Daniel Bowers.

Trimaco, Inc.’s Stay Put Surface Protector is a padded offering with a tacky, slip-resistant backing and leak-resistant poly top. It’s durable and easily adheres without tape; it’s also reusable and easily repositioned around the job. The company’s Heavy Duty SuperTuff Surface Protector is another nonslip, leak- and impact-resistant product that’s great on stairs, walkways and hard floors, and it’s made of 100% post-consumer recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.


Drop cloths are old standbys for paint pros when it comes to protecting floors. They easily fold up and can be taken from job to job, but they also come with some drawbacks; crews slipping and liquids leaking through them are the primary ones. Trimaco has pushed the envelope when it comes to advancing drop cloth design in the name of safety and performance.

“Surface protection on the jobsite is critical not only to avoid costly repairs, but also to ensure the safety of workers on-site,” added Charlie Reaves, a Trimaco VP.

The company’s Eliminator Drop Cloth is made with heavy-duty butyl and is 225% more slip resistant than a traditional 10-oz canvas drop cloth, and its Stay Put Canvas Plus Drop Cloth is 300% more slip resistant than a traditional 8-oz canvas drop cloth. The Eliminator is made of a durable material on both sides and the Stay Put Canvas Plus consists of three layers: absorbent canvas, plastic and a durable, nonslip backing.

“These specialty drops are particularly popular for painting contractors because they are nonslip and leakproof, which prevents paint from seeping through and potentially damaging the surface,” Reaves added.


Launched in 2017, Peel-Tek is a liquid masking tape product that painters, contractors and DIYers are turning to, particularly for areas where they need to mask stone, brick, cement and other rough, porous surfaces that pose adherence problems for regular masking tape. With Peel-Tek, you simply brush or roll it on and after the job is done, peel it away without any residue left behind. Contractors also use Peel-Tek to keep down masking paper, plastic or other surface-protection products they fear may slip or move while the job is in progress.

“It creates a skin-tight, contour-hugging barrier that nothing can slip under,” adds Michelle Mitchell, a Peel-Tek spokesperson. “Contractors use it on bathtubs, countertops and thresholds as low-cost assurance that surfaces won’t be damaged during construction. And painters find it helpful for those areas where masking tape just won’t work.”

A one-quart tub is equivalent to four rolls of masking tape, Mitchell said. When you use the company’s Sure-Shot Applicator, which looks similar to a mini caulk gun, that quart then becomes equivalent to seven rolls of masking tape.


Even some of the best cutting and rolling painting professionals have their share of stained footwear. It’s just part of the gig. So shoe covers have become a necessity for many pros. They offer a professional look, support safety efforts, and prevent tracking liquids around the site.

ShuBee’s Original Shoe Covers are made of a breathable, cloth-like material and are good for preventing tracking dirt and debris. They come in boxes of 100, are offered in 11 different colors and can fit up to a size 18 work boot. Trimaco’s Smart Grip Shoe Guards are also effective at keeping the floor clear of dirt and debris and are formulated with a slip-resistant rubber sole, too. They’re great for hard surfaces and fit up to a size 15 work boot.

ShuBee’s Custom Clean Feet Kit is an extension of the shoe-cover concept. It’s a nonslip PVC board mat that pros can clean their feet on when they enter and exit a space. It comes in a mat made up of 29 sheets; you simply peel back the top layer for a fresh sheet. And bonus, you can brand it with your company logo.

Whether you’re in need of simple foot covers or a rugged, impact-resistant floor protection product, underfoot surface protectors are all relatively affordable and easy to find. Plus, they offer that added professionalism customers appreciate.

Current Issue

Current IssueRead the current issue in page-turner format.





Free Subscription

Sign up for your FREE subscription to inPAINT magazine, delivered directly to your mailbox.

Sign up