Tarp Definition: Tarpaulins, which are commonly referred to as tarps are large sheets of natural or synthetic fibre that have been treated extensively to make it waterproof and withstand wind, hail and the sun.

There are many different types of Tarpaulins which have different applications and uses. There is also an abundance of tarpaulin manufacturers in South Africa with many quality tarpaulin suppliers in Gauteng alone. Tarpaulins are very versatile and can be used for so many different applications in the private and commercial sector. Most people find having a tarp very handy as tarps can be used for camping, gardening and events – amongst other uses. In the transportation and logistics industry tarps are also used extensively. They are usually secured to a truck to protect goods from sun, wind and rain or they are used as tautliner curtains on a truck for the same purpose. Most major companies use tautliner curtains that are branded. This helps to make a company’s brand more visible during transportation. Essentially, it’s like free advertising while you’re transporting your goods! Newer tautliner curtains are also manufactured so that they are theft proof. They are so strong that thieves cannot cut into the canvas easily and steal goods. Tarps are also used for camping as a ground sheet cover or for additional shelter against wind and rain. Car enthusiasts and boat enthusiast love to use tarp to protect their precious vehicle and pool owners love to use tarps as a pool cover. When correctly manufactured a pool tarp can protect against drowning, pool damage and evaporation. There are so many uses for tarps that it is impossible to list all. A tarp sheet is simply one of the most practical items to own in a home or business.

So how are tarps made? Firstly, tarps are made using different types of material. The five most common materials used to manufacture tarps are polyethylene, canvas, vinyl, silnylon and mesh. Here are the pros and cons of some of the different fabrics:

Polyethylene (commonly known as polytarps)

This is not a fabric, it is actually fine sheets of plastic woven with thin strips of plastic in a process similar to weaving fabric. They are bonded and treated as well so that they are waterproof and resistant against drastic incremental weather changes. These are usually UV treated to withstand UV damage. Tarps that are not UV treated eventually become brittle due to exposure to water and the sun. Once your tarp has become brittle it gets damaged very easily.

PVC Tarps

These tarps are manufactured using polyester fabric which is reinforced and closely woven, making it incredibly strong. It is then bonded or coated with PVC plastic sheets to make it even more durable. These tarps are waterproof and weatherproof. They withstand rain, wind hail and some are even fire retardant. PVC tarps are manufactured using polyester fabric which is reinforced and closely woven, making it incredibly strong. It is then bonded or coated with PVC plastic sheets to make it even more durable. These tarps remain supple because they withstand the elements so well so they do not get brittle for a long time when taken care of correctly. PVC tarps are commonly used to make tautliner curtains for trucks as they are so durable and strong.

Mesh Tarps

As the name suggests, this tarp is woven similar to a mesh with nylon threads. This allows breathability and free flow of water and air through the tarp. Mesh tarp is commonly used for parts of camping tents to reduce wind.

Other factors to consider when purchasing a tarp are the thickness and size of the tarp. The thickness of the tarp will determine durability. A lighter tarpaulin is best for indoors while thicker tarpaulin is best to use outdoors. The thickness of tarpaulin ranges from 0.10 to 0.40mm, with 0.40mm being heavy-duty and best for exposure to harsh elements. The weaving of the tarp also affects its strength. The finer the weave when the tarp is being manufactured, the stronger the tarp will be. The treatment that your tarp receives during manufacturing will also affect its durability. For example, if you are purchasing a tarp for a pool cover ensure that it has been treated to be UV resistant. If your tarp will be used outdoors to protect firewood ensure it is both flame retardant and water resistant. It is also important to note that there is a difference between a cut size and finished size when purchasing tarps. A cut size is the size before the manufacturer bonds and sews around the edge of the tarp. The finish size is the size after this has been done. When you are purchasing a tarp ensure the size you are requesting is the finish size.

Many people like to look for used canvas tarpaulin for sale but it is important to know what you are buying and what to look for in a good tarp. Inspect the tarp for any major defects or wear and tear. Ensure that the tarp is still supple and is not going brittle. It is also helpful when purchasing a second-hand tarp to know how to do basic repairs. Most used tarps would have withstood wear and tear over time and you will need to repair it at some point. The process is quite easy and you can save money by doing your own repairs. There are some major hardware and outdoor supply stores that have tarp repair kits for sale. Consider investing in one if you own a tarp so you can handle patch ups as quickly as possible. This will minimize further damage to the tarp as well. There is also polytarp repair tape available in various colours which are ideal for small holes or tears in the tarp. A common misconception is that tarp repair tape is the same as duct tape, which is not the case. Tarp repair tape is actually woven polyethylene fabric coated on one side with a very strong adhesive. They are perfect to use on polytarps and for onsite repairs to all tarps. When repairing any tarp ensure that the area is clean and dry. Cover the hole or tear on both sides of the tarp and ensure proper adhesion. For larger tears or holes you may have to purchase a patch and glue it onto your tarp. A patch will need to be applied to both sides of the tarp for a more durable repair. Most reputable tarp and tent manufacturers will have all the supplies you need to repair a damaged tarp. In addition to patches or tarp repair tape, you may also require new grommets or a grommet repair kit and eyebolt screws. Try and keep these on hand if you have a second-hand tarp that is showing signs of wear and tear. If DIY repairs are not your thing, there are companies such as Cargo Tarp and Net, that do tarps repairs in Jhb. Rated among the best tarpaulin manufacturers in Johannesburg, we offer new tarpaulin for sale in Johannesburg as well as a 24/7 tarp repair service! Cargo Tarp and Net is a leading supplier of tent and tarp in Johannesburg.

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