Heavy Duty Tarp Maintenance


Just like any tool or piece of equipment, proper maintenance habits are the key to enjoying a long service life of dependable use from heavy duty tarp. Some people choose to see tarpaulins as disposable, especially the ubiquitous blue, but any homeowner or business owner can appreciate the savings from keeping all of their equipment well maintained.

Let’s take a look at some good habits for keeping all kinds of heavy duty products in good working condition for years to come.

Polyethylene Maintenance

A blue tarpaulin is made from polyethylene, or poly for short. This is a plastic material that is easy to manufacture, is inexpensive, and typically less durable than other materials. For these reasons, many people misuse the covers and then throw them away once they begin to show wear and tear. However, a when well cared for and maintained, they can have a long life.

Be conscientious of the types of materials you cover with a blue poly; sharp edges and abrasive materials will cut through the plastic material. Avoid using poly covers near sharp rocks or chunks of concrete as well; abrasive rocks will eventually wear through the material. Don’t try to use a poly product on a trailer; they do not have enough tear resistance to withstand the high wind force when driving a truck. Also, keep blue polys out of direct sun during the summer months or if you live in the southern states as UV radiation will degrade the polyethylene.

Overall, avoiding the above situations will allow your blue tarpaulin to last a long time. When they do eventually wear down, make sure to recycle them, just like a plastic soda bottle.

Canvas Maintenance

Canvas is a natural fiber and it is stronger than poly and will enjoy a long service life. There are two major maintenance habits for a canvas tarp. First, any tears that develop in canvas have to be repaired as soon as possible. While canvas is a durable material, existing tears will tend to spread. Second, long term exposure to standing water will eventually waterlog the canvas tarp, and it will develop mold and mildew if it is constantly soaking wet. These tarpaulins can also have a finish coating in order to improve their durability, resistance to UV rays, and to help inhibit the growth of mold. Since canvas is a significant investment compared to poly, it is a good idea to use a premium finish.

Vinyl Maintenance

Vinyl is one of the strongest materials and is used for truck tarps, lumber tarps for commercial trucking. However, lumber tarps are not indestructible and require their own maintenance routine. Laminated vinyl will crack if used outdoors in below freezing temperatures and are typically not UV treated. Vinyl coated polyester products usually have built-in UV protection and have outstanding UV performance. Tears on vinyl can be easily repaired with vinyl cement and some spare vinyl fabrics.

With a few good habits, any type of heavy duty tarp will last a long time and prove to be a good investment.


Source by Chris A. Harmen

About the Author