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Tarpaulins come in all different sizes, shapes, materials, and qualities to cover the many thousands of applications that they are used for. Everything from cargo, boats, cars, firewood, construction projects and more are covered with tarps every single day. Depending on what you need to cover, why you need to cover it, and how long it needs to be covered, there are a lot of different options available to you to choose from. Let’s take a look at many of the different uses of tarps and how you can choose the best one at the right price for your needs.
- Some Industries Require The Use Of Tarpaulins For Safety
As you drive down the highway and see hundreds of long-haul trucks on their way to deliver cargo, you’ll notice that all flatbeds are always covered by high-quality industrial strength tarpaulins, and for good reasons.
Of course, the primary reason that loads are covered is to keep them safe from the elements like sun, rain, wind, snow, or road debris. Many products that are delivered by large trucks can’t take a lot of water or they’ll be ruined so in that case the tarp will need to be waterproof to do its job well. The tarp also is used to hold the load together so that none of the smaller parcels will separate and fly off as the truck drives down the road.
That brings up another important reason why all state require loads to be covered while on the road. Small parcels, rocks, sand, garbage, and other parts of the load can turn into high-speed projectiles that could possibly fly off and injure other drivers, their cars, and pedestrians as well. Truck drivers that are caught with unsecured, uncovered, or loose loads are ticketed by the state patrol and the fines are stiff due to the danger involved.
- Tarpaulins For Trucks Need To Be Strong And Last
The abuse that tarps take as a truck drives down the highway at 60 mph can be extreme because of the wind. This can whip parts of the tarp that are loose many hundreds of times per minute for hours on end. For this reason, the tarps have to be made from extra high-quality materials and constructed in such a way that they’ll hold together under the abusive conditions they’re commonly used in.
The first thing to look at would be to make sure all of the grommets have strong double stitching around them for strength. The pull of the wind as the truck reaches 60 mph on the road can be many hundreds of lbs and will pull out poorly stitched grommets. Once one grommet has been compromised, then extra pressure is put on the remaining grommets which can also fail in rapid succession. That’s why you should always care careful attention to the grommets when you buy the tarp and then inspect them regularly as you use the tarpaulin too.
There will be several materials that can be used for these industrial strength tarpaulins, however, not all of them are created equal. Some are very strong, such as the canvas tarp while others are more waterproof like the polyethylene tarps. Some of the best, strongest, and most waterproof combine different fabrics, one at the core and another as a laminate making for the highest strength and best protection from the elements.
- The Mesh Tarpaulins Have A Completely Different Application
Mesh tarps are basically designed for providing shade, privacy, wind breakage, and other services for outdoor activities such as golf, baseball, tennis, camping, pools, and even agricultural projects. They will allow water through, as well as some sunlight, but help partially shade underneath to reduce temperature, UV rays, and drying for people, animals, and plants below.
Golf courses use these types of high-strength tarps, usually in the green mesh style, to put high on tall posts in order to block golf balls from leaving a certain area. Many golf courses are built with homes surrounding them as part of the selling point for retirees that love golf and the nice view of the course. However, having wild, loose golf balls hitting your home all day long can be irritating and dangerous among other things.
So, what golf course do is post these green mesh tarpaulins on posts to block all of the errantly hit golf balls and keep their neighbors happy. They’re also typically used all around special driving ranges so that those balls can be retrieved and reused. These tarps are made to take lots of hits from the balls, stand up to years in the sun, and resist rain as well for a long and durable lifetime.
A similar type of tarp, usually done in blue or black, are often used in ballparks, at the beach, and by campers to reduce the heat and partially block harmful UV rays at large events. This can help keep concert goers and event participants from overheating, getting sunburned, and needing medical attention. They do let some light through, most are considered a 70% shade value, so you can see while underneath but not be overwhelmed by the heat and bright sunlight.
These black tarps are also used extensively by nurseries to protect young plants as they grow and even older plants that don’t require full sunlight. Since they are mildewproofed, tear resistant, acid resistant, UV treated and even flexible in Arctic temperatures, they can be quite versatile for in both industry, around the home, and while camping.
- Boat Tarps Have Special Requirements
When you need to cover your boat it’s usually to protect it from the harsh elements of the sea, weather, and sun all at the same time. The tarpaulin will need to be strong since the weather near the coast can be quite stormy and windy on a daily basis. The salt spray that is always present near the coast can wreak havoc on parts of a boat and no the tarp as well, so it will have to be made of good quality materials like poly, vinyl, or laminated canvas for best results.
Boats are very expensive investments that are subjected to incredibly harsh conditions for nearly their entire lifetime. But, by keeping your boat covered with an industrial strength tarpaulin, you can protect that investment and save time each season by not having to completely clean your boat from top to bottom. After you remove your tarp, most of your boat, both inside and out, should be almost ready to go with just some dusting and wiping to do.
While a canvas tarp will do the job, they’re very strong, mostly waterproof, have good grommets, and inexpensive to buy, the best tarp for boats tends to be the poly tarp. It’s plenty strong and is waterproof, salt proof, UV rays resistant, and light weight for easy use. They are also strongly mold and mildew resistant, acid resistant, and will fold up into a smaller bundle when not in use which is important on a boat. You should look for grommets placed at least every 3 feet or less so that you can place tie downs all around your tarp to ensure that it won’t come loose in the weather.
- For Long-Term Cover Of Expensive Things
There are always going to be some things like, an RV, car, truck, boat, or other type of vehicle that’s worth a lot of money and has to be covered for a long period of time, maybe even years in the weather. For these applications, there are more, heavy duty, industrial strength tarpaulins available that can withstand years of abuse and not have to be periodically checked on, adjusted or replaced.
They can withstand years in the hot sun, strong UV rays, pounding rain, snow, ice, and wind without deteriorating at all. They are waterproof, except the canvas tarps, and will prevent water from leaking into campers, trailers, RV’s, boats, and even houses, for long periods of use. They won’t tear even if punctured or cut, they resist tearing further and they can take abrasions caused by gravel, sand, pointed edges, rough surfaces, and sharp corners as well. This can be important when the wind blows for months and the tarp is abraised over and over again on the same spot.
The grommets will be rust resistant and be reinforced with an extra layer of material to ensure that the grommets will never pull out under the harshest of conditions. The typical materials of these tarps are polyester coated vinyl, or laminated canvas for extra strength, durability, and long life.
- For Extra Darkness, There Are Blackout Tarps
There are some conditions, or applications that need total darkness. Sometimes it’s a film crew, other times it’s for a construction project, but no light can shine on the inside or the project is ruined. For this job there are Super Heavy Duty Black poly tarps that have a black underlining to ensure no light gets through. They are reinforced with rope all around the edges for extra strength and are incredibly durable.
They stand up well by being acid resistant, waterproof, UV treated on each side, still flexible at sub zero temps, and mildew resistant as well. If you need something to be completely dark with no light let through will being protected from all of the elements at the same time, this is the industrial strength tarpaulin for you.
- For Military Applications There Are Tan and Camo Tarps
The military aren’t the only groups that like to use camouflaged tarps to stop surveillance planes from spotting them. There are tan, and camo mesh tarps that block about 70% of all sunlight from passing through and will keep those things hidden underneath from being easily spotted from the air.
The encampment below the tarp will be significantly cooler with less bright sunlight but rain will pass easily through the tarp so it won’t get weighted down by heavy masses of water after a rainfall. These are great for camping, picnics, and other outdoor events as well since they help prevent sunburns and other problems for the event attendees.
If you’re in need of a good, heavy duty tarp, there are many helpful tarp calculator online that can help you choose the right materials, correct size, and best overall product for the items you wish to protect. You can then order online or take your details to the local tarp supplier to see if them have the right tarp for you and your project.