Why Tarps Are Worth The Weight

Heavy duty tarps have gained widespread use in various applications. They can be used to create shade, line up ponds, cover merchandise ferried on a truck, or even cover up a storm-damaged roof.

Several types of tarps exist with the difference being that they are made of vinyl, polyethylene or canvas materials. Their construction does affect their function, but they all typically come designed to handle the tough jobs. Regardless, you might still question whether they are worth the weight.

Tarp Applications

The functions of tarps are vast regardless of the type. Their use extends to both residential and commercial applications.

They are used to cover up vehicles in cold weather to prevent them from weathering. Construction sites use them during building and remodelling processes to protect cement from moisture. Roof repairs often take time, and tarps offer a solution to cover up holes when fixing is in progress. Sports fields use them to protect the grounds from damage from heavy rains. Project sites that need a solution to protect equipment and materials like lumber and sand will often use tarps too.

Farms also use them as bunker covers for grains to shield them from weather elements such as direct sunlight, dust, and rain. Outdoor adventurers have increasingly taken up the use of tarp shelters in place of tents. They create open and well-ventilated shelters with room for adjustable pitching. Many also use them as emergency thermal covers to stay warm in extreme conditions. Another common application of tarps includes covering patio furniture or furniture stored in an attic or garage. ABC Tarpaulins have been supplying the construction, sporting and agricultural industries with reliable, high-quality Polytarps for over 20 years, with a better understanding of the different tarps applications, it helps to know what features to look for to get the right one.

Tough Materials

As mentioned, tarps are available in different materials. The poly-made varieties are robust and provide versatility. More than often, most of the tarps you see around are poly-made. They are the most inexpensive heavy-duty covers, and they are also lighter than their canvas counterparts.

The canvas varieties are used in applications that require breathable materials. However, they are not suitable when it comes to covering sharp objects because canvas can tear up. They are also very weighty compared to their counterparts.

Vinyl-made tarps provide a higher level of tear resistance and UV-protection when compared to the rest. They are often used to cover loads on trucks, docks or boats. Clear vinyl tarps perform well as cold-resistant covers making them the best option in windy and cold conditions.

In line with the different types available, you will also come across them in an even wider variety of colour choices. While seemingly unimportant, tarp colour is essential when it comes to their respective functions. Black tarps offer the best UV protection, but they also absorb too much heat. White tarps are the better option to create outdoor shelters for events. The green, blue and neutral varieties are heavily used in construction sites, by truckers, and for various commercial uses.

Double-Sided Weather Protection

One of the things that makes tarps the go-to flat cover solution is their double-sided weather protection capabilities. They do not let moisture in or out, except for the canvas varieties which still provides a high level of water resistance.

The double-sided protection also makes them an excellent choice as groundsheets. They help keep your tent dry when camping on wet and muddy grounds.

Storm-Damage Benefits

Severe storms usually leave a trail of damage, and the hardest hit structures are often roofs. Even after a storm, several days of rain and wind follow making it essential to find a solution to cover up holes and protect against leaks. However, in such instances, a quality heavy-grade tarp is needed to prevent flyaways and further property damage.


Tarps are usually classified on a scale of light to heavy duty. Manufacturers have independent weight scales which means that heavy-duty are not built alike. It always helps to instead focus on aspects that support the heavy-duty nature of any particular tarp.

Worth pointing out is that weight does not directly relate to the strength of a tarp. Strength is influenced by aspects such as sewn edges, rust-resistant grommets as well as mildew and water resistance.

Fabric Grade

Tarps often feature MIL numbers which refer to the material’s thickness and denier which is the density of the individual fabric fibres. Generally, the higher the number of these elements the stronger the material which in turn assures quality.

The mesh count indicates the strength of a tarp and higher mesh counts are often favourable.

Versatility and Durability

One piece of tarp can function as a protective cover in a vast array of applications. They are by nature highly resilient to extreme conditions as mentioned, which means that you can keep one for several years.

You can always give old tarps new life by reusing them in various ways. For instance, truckers convert them to truck beds, and painters use them as drop cloths.

UV Protection

Going back to vinyl-made tarps, they offer the highest resistance to tear and the sun’s UV rays. It is the reason why they are popularly used as long-term covers for docked boats, building enclosures and to cover the load on trucks.

However, in general, waterproof tarps are the best at providing UV protection.


Generally, tarps are inexpensive, and their cost is determined by their size, material, and construction. The heavy-duty varieties attract higher costs, but their value makes the cost worthwhile. In most cases, the tarp you buy could be the only one you will ever need which makes it agreeable to splurge a little on them.

Going for second-hand tarps is another option for anyone who has a limited budget but immediate need for one.

Renting vs. Owning

Looking at the bigger picture, it always proves to be a better decision to invest in a heavy-duty tarp. However, in some instances, you might need a larger tarp or additional tarps for applications such as setting up structures for events. In such cases, renting would prove the better option but renting might still prove costly depending on several variables.

To wrap things up, you can never go wrong by investing in a heavy-duty tarp. All the choices and options available do not make it any easier when buying one. A good tarp retailer can help you find the perfect one for the intended application you have in mind.