A tarpaulin is a versatile covering that can be used in industrial, residential, and recreational settings. If you have a load that you would like to cover on the back of your truck or are going to create a makeshift tent, a tarp will provide wind and rain resistance and will block UV rays. Since tarps are constructed from several materials, vary in thickness, and possess different properties, choose one that will be the most effective for the application that you will be performing.

The Material And Thickness

Polyethylene is a common tarpaulin material that is adequate for work applications, home improvements, camping, and hauling. Heavy-duty plastic is lightweight and will not absorb water. Canvas is a heavier tarp material that has a woven surface. This material is suitable for use in areas that may incur high winds. The strong outer shell of a canvas tarp can protect equipment or materials from abrasions, making this type of material best-suited for an industrial setting.

Vinyl is stronger than polyethylene and will protect against moisture and high winds. Vinyl tarps are often used when hauling goods. Both canvas and vinyl tend to be more expensive than polyethylene, plus they are thicker. Mil is a universal measurement that is used to identify the thickness of a tarp. A thinner fabric covering will possess a lower mil rating and a heavy-duty covering will possess a higher rating.

If you are going to be using a tarp during a recreational activity and will need to manipulate the fabric, look for a tarpaulin that contains corner grommets and that is thin. For a tarp that will be used daily, to cover a gaping hole, or to protect equipment from the elements, choose a heavy-duty fabric type that is thick. 

The Color And Fire Resistance

If you are going to use a tarp to protect materials from the heat and sunlight, choose a dark-colored fabric or one that is tightly woven. A light-colored fabric, such as white, will block some of the sun's rays, though light will still filter through the material.

For any applications that will be completed in a setting where chemicals are stored and you are concerned about the risk of a fire erupting, purchase a tarp that has been treated with a flame retardant. This type of product will be labeled with information about the protectant that has been added to the fabric. Contact a tarpaulin material provider for more information.