What is a tarp?
Tarpaulins, commonly called tarps, were invented to fill the need of a covering material that would shield things from rain, snow, dust, suns rays, wind, paint or just about anything imaginable. Original materials used were animal skins, thatched vegetation and woven fabrics to the more modern canvas and now polyethylene materials. One of polyethylene material characteristics is that it is flexible, even in very cold conditions, yet remains water resistant (water proof).
Polyethylene tarps (poly-tarps) are manufactured using a base core of various thickness polyethylene or other synthetic thread (denier) and woven to varying densities (weave count). The higher the denier (800, 1000, 1200, etc.) and the denser the weave count (8x8, 10x10, 14x14, etc.) determines strength of the core of that poly tarp. It is this core that helps prevent the poly tarp from shredding when punctured, often referred to as "rip-stop". The thickness of polyethylene laminate layer on the core material determines thickness of the poly tarp. Therefore, the denser the weave count and the thicker the tarp the stronger the poly-tarp material is.
As an example a light weight tarp typically has a weave count of 8x8 and a thickness of 5-6 mils and would be usually a Blue tarp. Like wise a heavy duty tarp typically has a weave count of 14x14, a thickness of 11-12 mils and would be usually a Silver tarp. Another measurement of tarps is their per-square-foot weight; the heavier the weight the stronger the tarp.
For years manufactures have used color to indicate the grade of tarps but not all tarp manufactures follow this traditional method of grading. Always check the tarp's specification before purchasing to make sure you are getting what you want and need.
Most well made tarps are treated to resist the sun's UV rays extending their life span. The edges of tarps are reinforced by folding over the material and inserting a rope then stitching a hem. Grommets are installed and corners reinforce even more. This gives the user strong tie down points for securing their tarp.
How do I choose a tarp?
First determine the dimensions of what it is you want to cover. A tarp is a one dimensional product (length x width). If trying to cover a flat surface then it is easy. Pick the size you need to cover the area plus any extra for tie down purposes. Remember that a tarp size is the size cut from the bulk material roll so you do have some reinforcement fold over loss. The rule of thumb is around 2% or in the case of smaller sizes 4-6 inches per dimension. Tarpaulins are not a dimensionally precision manufactured products so if you need something made to a more precise size please call our Customer Service Department and for a slight fee we can re-manufacture to just about any dimension you need.
If using a tarp to cover a three dimensional item you must measure all dimensions and total those to determine the size tarp needed. As an example, if using a tarp to cover a wood pile that is 4' high, 2' wide and 12' long you would need a 10' x 12' size (4' + 2' + 4' = 10' width by 12' length).
To determine the grade of tarp you need to ask yourself (1) how long do I want this tarp to last; (2) how valuable is the object being covered; (3) what are the weather conditions it will be used in.
(1) A light weight Blue tarp will have a much shorter life span that a heavy duty Silver tarp under the same conditions.
(2) Covering a wood pile is not as crucial as covering a boat. Picking a better grade of tarp for the boat would make sense but a light weight or medium grade for a wood pile would probably be adequate.
(3) If covering a storm damaged roof and it needs to be up there for an extended period of time while protecting the house interior against future bad weather it might be wise to pick a heavier grade of tarp other than the traditional Blue tarp.
These are just a few of the many examples in making your decision on what grade of tarp to purchase.
How to properly install a tarp.
Wind is the greatest destroyer of tarps. Therefore, it is always important to secure your tarp very carefully. Use the grommets provided to secure the tarp in as tight a fitting possible with bungee cords, rope, plastic tie downs, or nails. Do not nail tarps in the un-reinforced areas! Use firing strips or other reinforcement materials. If going over edges or rough surfaces use something to shield the tarp from direct contact to avoid puncturing.
What are typical tarp uses?
We have sold many tarps for a multitude of purposes. Here are just a few of the examples people have bought tarps from us.
Temporary roof repairs, boat coverings, temporary walls, industrial coverings, hay stacks, sport field covers, canopy and tents, ground covers, hunting blinds, porch windows, liners for backyard ice rinks, water slides, airfield markings, outdoor movie screens, tractor covers, barbeque grill covers, leaf haulers, covers for patio furniture, car covers, RV covers, paint shields, construction covers, tennis court covers and the list goes on. You may even have a use we have never heard of.
We have a friendly Customer Service Department who is eager to assist you in the selection of either light duty Blue tarps, medium grade Green or Camo tarps, specialty Orange or Yellow tarps, heavy duty Silver or White tarps, Clear tarps or the newest our very heavy duty Brown tarps: 800-352-6609