Selecting the best tarp for your situation is made much easier with a basic understanding of the various materials and treatments available today. Tarpaulins provide excellent protection when building a structure is not an option, and because each situation is unique, selecting the proper material can save time and money in the long run.
Many tarpaulins are waterproof, mold, mildew, and rip resistant, and they offer UV protection. High quality covers are generally made with double-stitched and heat treated seams and feature rust resistant grommets. A lumber tarp will often feature rope sewn into the hems to provide extra strength and durability.
The most popular tarps are blue and made from polyethylene mesh and treated with a polyethylene coating. These are your least expensive and least durable products. They work well when protecting floors and furniture from paint splatters, and they provide short term protection for lawn furniture and vehicles. When a lightweight poly tarp is not enough, heavy duty poly tarps are a good option as they are stronger and lighter than canvas, making them especially useful when you need something more durable.
Canvas is made from cotton and then treated with chemicals that make it water, mold, and mildew resistant. Unlike the blue or clear varieties, canvas is designed for outdoor use only. While canvas is breathable, the wax and dye in the fabric can rub off, making it an ideal cover for construction equipment, but a poor choice for the family boat or RV. Also, due to the potential for teething, canvas is not recommended to secure vehicle loads.
Vinyl Vinyl tarpaulins are made from vinyl or PVC material, making them stronger, and more expensive, than canvas or poly. Vinyl tarps are commonly used by truck drivers to secure loads and to cover materials that may be susceptible to rain or sun damage during shipping. Vinyl is far more tear resistant than canvas or poly, making it the ideal choice for a lumber tarp. Lumber tarps made from vinyl coated polyester fabrics are widely used by professional truckers to cover their cargo loads.
Vinyl is also used to create clear tarps that provide excellent cover and protection from the elements when camping or traveling by RV. A clear tarp can turn a miserable weekend into a cozy family get together simply by creating a see-through porch from your RV awning. A clear tarpaulin is also an excellent choice when you need to keep an eye on whatever it is that you are protecting.
Mesh tarps are loosely or tightly woven or vinyl covered, which makes them perfect for tennis courts, wind screens, privacy gaps, and to secure truck loads. Mesh can also be used to protect fruit trees and bushes from being destroyed by birds.
Using the right high quality tarps can protect your investment in many household and work related situations. A lumber tarp can secure your cargo load for trucking companies and professional truck drivers. A clear tarp can rescue a rainy week, and canvas makes excellent cover for heavy equipment. The range of uses is practically limitless, especially when you know enough to order the right tarp for your needs.