Tarpaulins, commonly called tarps for short, have been around for many years. They are heavy pieces of material with small holes along the edges, reinforced by grommets. Customers use tarp to protect and cover an object from rain and sun damage. Whether you use a tarp as an awning for outdoor shelter or to cover tools in the back of your truck, tarps can have many uses and applications. There are many different types of tarps, and some of those are listed below.
Poly Tarps – Made from polyethylene, a plastic material, and nylon fiber, these tarps are synthetic. They are waterproof.
Canvas Tarps – Made from closely woven natural or synthetic fibers, canvas tarps are not waterproof but they do provide superior protection to the surfaces they protect. They can also be used as awnings.
Truck Tarps -Heavy duty poly tarps made for covering trucks that have to travel long distances. They usually have reinforced grommets.
Mesh Tarps – Nylon tarps that are loosely woven together to allow wind and water to go through, while protecting privacy.
Hay Tarps – Heavy duty tarps that are UV treated and waterproof.
Lumber Tarps – Like hay tarps, lumber tarps are also heavy duty tarps that need to be UV treated and waterproof.
Fire Retardant Tarps – These tarps have been treated with a fire retardant material. Keep in mind that fire retardant is not the same as fireproof, as these tarps will burn, just more slowly than others.
Baseball Tarp – Large waterproof tarps used to protect athletic fields that can be rolled up for storage when not in use.
Boat Tarps – As these tarps are exposed to strong elements, they need to be heavy duty and waterproof.
Pool Covers – These waterproof tarps keep debris out of swimming pools when they are not in use.
A tarpaulin or tarp is a large sheet of waterproof cloth. Tarps are used for temporary shelter and to cover items being stored outdoors. They are also sometimes used to cover the back of a pick up truck and protect a load. Traditionally, tarps were made of cotton canvas, but modern tarps are often PVC or some kind of poly material. Canvas has the disadvantage of tending to rot, while plastic is often easier to tear.
Some tarps are made of nylon mesh. These are used to provide shade rather than protection from the rain. Most modern tarps are designed to be fire retardant. Needless to say, the cloth or plastic used varies in weight. Heavy duty tarps may be used to cover vehicles. Other uses for heavy duty cloth include protecting construction sites. An awning is attached to a building and generally used to provide shade or protection for an outdoor room or area. Sidewalk cafes often have awnings.
Tarps come in a variety of colors. Military tarps are made in appropriate camouflage, whilst traditional camo patterns are popular with hunters. Transparent materials are also sometimes used, particularly for painters tarps. Most tarp use is outdoors, providing protection from rain or sun. Campers may use one to make a simple, waterproof tent. Modern tarps are manufactured with grommets, rings that reinforce holes through which ropes can be secured. Grommets can be made of metal or plastic.
Tarps can be purchased wholesale, direct from the manufacturers. However, most campers and hunters buy them retail. They can be bought from camping supply stores, garden centers and even discount stores. Tarps are hard to repair and are generally replaced if damaged. They are easy to store and roll up into a small area.