Few things are worse than drywall dust. It gets everywhere, it travels throughout the house, and it is incredibly invasive. In fact, most house vacuums have codicils in the warranty saying that if you use it on drywall dust, the warranty is voided.
Falling, Drooping, Dripping Sheet Plastic
The "solution" is you tape sheet plastic against the ceiling, walls, and floor with masking tape.
You slit a little door at the bottom so you can get in and out. Next morning, of course, the plastic has fallen down. So next you staple the plastic to your walls and ceiling. To keep the staples from tearing through the plastic, you fashion a hem of masking tape along the edges of the plastic. And staple into your walls.
Doesn't sound like much of a solution. Isn't there something better?
Enter ZipWall Barrier System
ZipWall lets you build that plastic wall and it ensures that the wall stays up. Telescoping stainless steel poles with spring-loaded tips from the "studs" of your fake wall and hold the plastic tight against ceiling and floor. Foam-padded rails attach to the top ends of the pole to form a "T" along the ceiling, sealing off any possible penetration point for that drywall dust to infiltrate your house. Optional clamps hold the vertical edges of the wall firmly against the walls of your home.
But Wait. It Does Even More.
These stainless steel poles are sturdy. Two of them can press a sheet of drywall against the ceiling. Or you can use a couple to press crown molding into place, freeing your hands for the hammer or nail gun.
But is it worth it? It certainly works and works well. The materials are high-quality and well-designed.
For a small space, you could get by with just two poles, one at each end. That's the minimum. A third pole at center improves things. But you're still not going to get a perfect seal. And drywall dust seems to be able to infiltrate through the tiniest cracks and holes.
The Bottom Line
If you're on a budget, start with a couple of poles to get your feet wet. Rather than buying the special side clamps, it's possible to improvise by tucking the sheet plastic between the pole and the wall. Along the ceiling, you can pull the plastic taut between the poles rather than buying the foam rails. Though not perfect, it's a far sight better than the staple-and-tape method.
Even if you're on a budget but anticipate a lot of renovation activity, spring for the whole system-clamps, rails, and all. Justify the cost on the grounds of saving yourself tons of future pain and misery. It'll help you concentrate on the real task of renovating.
What if you're not doing the work yourself but are hiring a contractor? I'd say if they show up with a ZipWall and set it up in your house, they're a keeper.