Choosing Between Tarps – Polyethylene Tarps and Other Varieties

Tarps are used for various industrial and individual purposes. On an individual level, a polyethylene tarp might be used to cover a seasonal vehicle like a boat, or a canvas tarp could be used to cover your furniture and floors for an interior painting project. For industrial applications, tarps are canopies for large-scale portable garages and have a number of uses on a construction site. Mesh tarps, in addition, are used often as truck tarps. But with so many tarps on the market, which one would you need to cover your vehicle or meet any other protective needs? Tarp manufacturers and dealers often carry a mix of all these types, but, with options ranging from canvas to vinyl, knowing the different types of tarps beforehand can make your search easier.

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The most common tarp is polyethylene. Also known as poly tarps, these tarps are the most common for outdoor uses. The material itself comes in heavy-duty and medium-duty grades, the latter of which is most common as blue tarps. Although the denier count varies between these two, both are treated with the same properties. As a polyethylene tarp needs to spend up to several months outdoors without tearing, the material is treated to be waterproof, UV resistant, and rot and mildew resistant. In some cases, the material is treated to be fire retardant according to California fire codes Tarpaulin.

As polyethylene tarps are designed to be outdoors, they have several uses. The most obvious on either an individual or industrial level is to protect vehicles. This includes regularly-used vehicles like motorcycles to seasonal vehicles that need to be protected for several months at a time. Seasonal vehicles, such as boats and RVs, often have tarp covers in custom sizes to fit around the vehicle. Aside from a direct cover, tarps are the canopy portion on a portable garage and are usually used as hay tarps in farming, truck tarps, and construction tarps to cover a large area. Regardless of how you use a poly tarp, the material must be secured with bungee cords to be the most effective.

Polyethylene isn’t the only type of tarp on the market, and other materials are available. Another common material is mesh, but an actual mesh tarp is made of polypropylene instead of the looser material used for clothing. Mesh tarps are used as truck tarps, as well, for materials that don’t need protection from water, such as sand or gravel. Vinyl is another common truck tarp material and is used in more heavy duty applications, such as protecting wood or steel beams in a flatbed truck. Out of all theĀ tarpsĀ on the market, canvas tarps are more common for individual applications, such as use as a painting tarp, but they’re seen in some industrial applications, as well, such as an occasional truck tarp. Canvas, however, experiences more wind whip, which leads to tearing, than other types, so the material isn’t used as often as the other three.

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