Tarpaulin sheets are typically made of durable, waterproof materials that serve as the perfect protection against terrible weather and flying debris. Tarpaulin is extremely versatile and is mainly used to create a makeshift shelter for cars, trucks, RVs, lumber, and anything else you need to be protected against wind and rain.
You name it, and there’s a tarp large enough to cover it. But if you’ve ever dealt with tarp, you’ve probably become frustrated by the numerous types, sizes, materials, and resistance categories. Worry not, dear reader, for in this article, we’ll assist you in finding the best tarp for whatever purpose.
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Best Tarpaulin Sheets
Windscreen4less Multi-Purpose Blue Poly Tarp
The Windscreen4less tarp is one of the most basic but versatile tarps available. The company guarantees this 5-mil tarp to be waterproof, tear-proof, and serve multiples purposes from preventing leaves and other gunk from falling into the outdoor jacuzzi to being the perfect cover for a temporary pole tent.
This tarp comes with heat-sealed edges that protect against fraying and splitting, ensuring that you can get several years of use out of a single sheet. The grommets are located along the edges of the sheet and are spaced 3-1/2 feet from each other. Windscreen4less tarps range in size from 5 x 7 to 30 x 40 feet.
TANG Sunshades Depot Poly Tarp
Another popular and well-constructed poly tarp is this bad boy coming straight out of the manufacturing plants of TANG. This TANG production, like the previous tarp model, is multi-purpose, and waterproof. However, you get more grommets in one of these sheets than you would with the Windscreen4less since they’re spaced at only 3 feet apart.
Their thinnest model is the blue-colored tarp that measures in at 5 mils, but if you’re looking for something thicker and weightier, than their silver or white 10-mil or brown 15-mil tarpaulin sheets should do the trick. TANG tarps come in a variety of sizes, starting at 5 x 7 all the way up to 30 x 40 feet.
TARPATOP Waterproof Tarp Multi-Purpose Blue Poly Tarpaulin
When it comes to functionality, the TARPATOP is one of the most versatile tarps you could ever use. Not only is this seemingly simple tarpaulin sheet waterproof, but its grommets are rust proof, the poly fabric will never rot, it’s the perfect shade-provider due to its resistance to UV rays, and its woven poly fibers are nearly indestructible to anything nature throws at it.
The grommets are spaced only 2-2/3 feet apart, allowing you to tie it down a lot more securely with more rope. The TARPATOP is available in only 5-mil thickness but in 9 different sizes from 5 x 7 to 30 x 40 feet.
Trademark Supplies Blue Tarp Cover
Looking for something ultra-heavy-dutyHow about a tarp that can cover a wide 10,000-square-foot areaIf you answered yes to either one of these questions, then Trademark Supplies is the brand for you. This poly tarp is made to withstand heavy rain and quick gusts of wind. It comes with corrosion-resistant grommets that are spaced 3 feet apart, making securing the tarp over cars, pools, and even homes even safer.
Some customers of the 5-mil blue TSs have complained about them being thinner than they’d hoped, so you might want to consider getting either one of the silver or white 10-mil tarps or a 15-mil brown one. They come in a wide range of sizes (between 6 x 8 and 100 x 100 feet) and even in packs of doubles.
The final tarpaulin sheet that’s worth considering is the GTRP810. Coming from Grizzly, one of the more prominent brands of tarp sheets, you know that you’re getting a high-quality product that’s more durable than most.
Even though it’s marketed for limited use (to cover vehicles and provide shade as a tent cover), it can be used for more applications than you could ever imagine. This Grizzly tarp is available in 10 sizes, ranging from 6 x 8 feet to 20 x 30 feet (smaller than most), but they’re also sold in packets of up to 20 sheets.
Tarpaulin Sheet Buying Guide
The thickness of tarp is measured in mils (1/1000 of an inch). A thicker tarp will provide better resistance and shading compared to thinner ones that are ever-so-slightly transparent and can become torn by fast gusts of wind.
Generally speaking, you have four material options to choose from – poly, canvas, vinyl, and PVC. Polyethylene is a heavy-duty type of plastic that absorbs nearly 0% water, making it the best – as well as most commonly chosen – option for outdoor use. Canvas tarps are made of either cotton or hemp fibers that are woven tightly together to form a nearly indestructible sheet of protection. Vinyl tarps are much more durable than poly tarps, and their price tags usually reflect their higher-quality build. PVC tarps are mainly used in industrial settings to protect floors from welding spatter.
If you purchase a, say, 6×8-foot poly tarp, you’ll need to take into account the cut size. This is an industry term used to describe the “final” size of the tarp sheet. In the end, you may end up losing between 5 and 30 centimeters of tarp after everything is said and done. That’s why you should always go slightly bigger than opt for exact sizes.
The simplest way to ensure that your tarp doesn’t get carried by gusts of wind to the other side of the country is by tying it down with rope. This is only possible if the tarp has grommets – a metal or plastic flared ring that reinforces holes in the fabric. Without grommets, you’ll either need to rely on the load to weight the edges of the sheet down (impossible if erecting tents) or tying the tarp at the corners (which may lead to tearing). You’ll also want to ensure that the grommets are properly spaced and there are enough grommets to go around.
Although the material used to construct the tarp might be a great indicator of what it can and cannot do, you should still read the label to ensure that the tarp can protect against the right type of hazard. Tarps are generally made to provide shading, but they can also come with different properties like being waterproof, fireproof, breathable, and stretchable.
Large tarps are by no means easy to tie down, and the last thing you need is being weighed down by the tarp when working overhead. A larger tarp will weigh considerably more than smaller ones, but the weight adds an additional dimension of protection and shading. The downside is the risk of falling over while tying a heavy tarp to tent poles or over the roof of your home.
Reinforced Edges and Corners
Finally, you should spend some time looking at how well the edges and corners of the tarpaulin sheets are. Not only are they there to give strengthen the grommets which are located around the perimeter of the sheet, but they are also some of tarps’ weakest points. As long as they’ve been folded and sewed, heated, or molded properly, the sheet should last for several seasons.
Tarpaulin Sheet FAQs
1. Can I cut a large tarp down to size?
Absotively, posolutely not. Tarps are typically made with reinforced edges and corners, and cutting them down to will destroy the structural integrity of the sheet. Before clicking the purchase confirmation button, measure how large of a tarp you’ll need multiple times to ensure you’re getting the appropriately sized tarp. In general, it’s better to go with something that’s slightly bigger than slightly smaller.
2. Can this tarp cover the bed of my truck?
Provided you know what the tarp can protect against, the only thing that matters is how large (or small) of a tarp you end up purchasing. This is actually a bit more confusing than one may initially think since a two-dimensional tarp needs to cover a three-dimensional area, but the general rule of thumb goes like this: measure the length of the bed (say 20 inches), the depth of the trunk bed (say 8 inches), and the height of the load past the trunk’s depth (say 4 inches) times two (8 inches total). The correct tarp size would be 20 x 16 inches (20-inch length and 8+8 inches for the depth plus load size).
3. What size rope can I use to tie the tarp down?
The appropriate rope diameter depends entirely on the size of the grommet. For the most part, you’ll be able to fit any rope between 1/2 and 5/8 of an inch without risk of tearing or experiencing difficult running the rope through the grommet hole. Make sure to double-check the product and its exact specifications before settling on a specific model.
Tarpaulin sheets are one of the most versatile things ever. Their main job is to protect anything – and we mean absolutely ANYTHING – from harsh weather conditions. Most customers drape tarps over their cars and pools, but with a large enough tarpaulin sheet, you can properly secure your roof and windows from being blown away fast winds and even tornadoes.
Here, we’ve provided our picks of the best tarpaulin sheets that the market has to offer. However, if you’d like to do your own personal shopping for whatever reason, you can take a look at the brief buying guide we’ve included for you. The most important consideration to make, other than the overall size of the tarp, is finding one that suits your needs. They’re not all built the same, so make sure you one with the correct resistances to protect your treasured items.
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Best Tarpaulin Sheet: Buying Guide
Windscreen4less 6′ x 8′ General Multiple Purpose 5 Mil
TANG Sunshades Depot Blue 5 Mil 5×7
Waterproof Tarp Multi-Purpose 20×25 Blue Poly Tarpaulin with Aluminum Grommets
Tarp Cover Blue Waterproof Great for Tarpaulin Canopy Tent, Boat, RV Or Pool Cover
B-Air BA-GT-8X10-BL GTRP810 Grizzly 8 x 10 Feet Blue Multi Purpose Waterproof Poly Tarp Cover 5 Mil Thick 8 x 8 Weave, 8X10