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Please Note: All our tarpaulin sizes are 'cut sizes' which is industry standard terminology for the size of the material before it is fabricated into a tarpaulin. Therefore expect the 'finished' size to be up to a maximum of 30 cms shorter.

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 and the denser the weave count determines strength of the core of that tarpaulin. It is this core that helps prevent the tarpaulin from shredding when punctured. The thickness of polyethylene laminate layer on the core material determines thickness of the tarpaulin. Therefore, the denser the weave count and the thicker the tarp the stronger the tarpaulin 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/Black, Brown or Green.

Another measurement of tarps is their grams per square meter weight; the heavier the weight the stronger the 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 3% or in the case of smaller sizes 150mm-250mm dimension. Tarpaulins are not a dimensionally precision manufactured products so if you need something made to a more precise size you will need a tarpaulin manufacture.

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/Black 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 tarpaulin 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 fixing strips or other reinforcement materials.) If going over edges or rough surfaces use something to shield the tarp, like old carpet or pipe lagging, from direct contact to avoid puncturing.

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.

We cannot be held responsible for damage caused by wear and tear, or degradation through UV. Please also bear in mind that eyelets can come under a lot of pressure, and so any stress points should be reinforced. While the material a tarp is made from may be heavy duty, no guarantee is given to the eyelets. Fixing additional eyelets or Holdon clips can help spread the load. 

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