Tautliners have become an increasingly common sighting on our national roads as they provide business owners with numerous safety and advertising benefits. Tarpaulin is now an important and high quality tool in the trucking industry. With the excessive usage and harsh weather conditions that it is exposed to, it is not uncommon for truck tarp to endure rips and tears, however the question remains, can tarpaulin be effectively repaired? Having the knowledge and ability to repair tarp when needed will extend the life span of the material and save you money in the long run, as it will reduce the chance of damage and looting occurring during transit.

Before a successful repair is achieved, there is procedure and protocol which should be followed in an effort to have long lasting effects. By following the tips listed below, one should have no problem in carrying out a positive repair effort.



1. Understanding and assessing the damage: First and foremost, it is important to assess the damage of the tarp before proceeding with a repair plan of action. Tears can be either minor or substantial, the latter of course would require a little more time and effort. A tear the size of a mouse hole can be immediately repaired by using commercial tarp tape. This tape will undergo strain when exposed to direct sunlight, moisture and extreme fluctuations in temperature therefore this type of repair is temporary and a more permanent solution will be needed at a later stage. Damage on a much larger scale would require a stitch or durable glue repair by utilizing pieces of patching fabric and fixing them on the damaged area. In the unfortunate circumstance of damage to seams, it is best to use the strongest repair technique to elude recurring damage to the same area.


2. Ensuring the damaged area is clean before repair: Many drivers are faced with busy schedules and long journeys. Any long unauthorized stops may result in delays which will cost companies money and future business, therefore drivers and assisting staff have minimal time to deal with tarp repairs properly. Due to such time constraints, repairs are often carried out without proper cleaning of the damaged area, however, ignoring as a crucial step before repair is a mistake made by many. Having a clean work surface is instrumental in having a successful and solid repair. The build-up of dirt, soil and other debris can be easily removed by using warm water and gently cleaning it with soap and a soft rag. Stains which are oil based would need to be overcome by making use of solvent or ethanol in the stain removal process. It is vital to rid the tarp of all substances that may prevent the adhesive or patching fabric from attaching securely. The area surrounding the damaged region should be thoroughly cleaned to accommodate the entire size of the repair fabric patch. Cleaning an area of approximately 15- 20 cm around the rip or tear should be sufficiently large enough. It is important to note that adhesive is still used even when opting to stitch the patch on. Adding stitches acts as a double strength effort whilst the adhesive will ensure that the repair is watertight.


3. Repairing and restoring both sides of the tarp: Rips and tears might sometimes be quite large and require repair on both sides of the material. By repairing both sides, one will significantly strengthen the tarp and reduce the risk of the rip spreading beyond the patch or occurring again. Repairs to both sides cannot be done simultaneously. It is best to perform the repair, allow the adhesive to set and then proceeding with the same type of repair on the other side. Tarp repair kits are available for the commercial trucking industry. It is relatively affordable and easy to use, provided that one reads and follows the instructions meticulously. As simple as it may seem, air temperature plays an important role in the repair process. High temperatures might cause the adhesive to set before the patch is applied, whilst cold air temperature will not allow the adhesive to stick properly to the tarp resulting in the repair patch falling off in a short period of time. It is therefore crucial to perform the repair under favorable conditions.


Tarpaulin repairs is not difficult if one has the time and patience to do so, however if you are short on both or you just aren’t confident in your skills, we at Cargo Tarp & Net will gladly carry out all repairs for you. If you are looking for affordable yet high quality tarp products or just in need of efficient and effective tarpaulin repairs in the Johannesburg region, contact us today and we would be delighted to assist!

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