Poly Tarp Characteristics and Uses

Poly Tarps also known as Polyethylene protection, are constructed of multiple mesh fabric layers which are then coated by polyethylene sheets. Each manufactured cover is distinguished by the fabrics mesh count and mil. The mesh count is determined by the number of threads used per square inch. For example, a cover rated at a 10 x 10 mesh count would typically have 10 threads per inch in both a vertical and horizontal direction. The tarps thickness is determined and measured by the mil or thickness of the coating (1 mil =.001 inch (1/1000). The larger the number; the thicker and more heavy duty the Poly cover will be. Regular duty Tarpaulins are typically rated at 6 mils and are commonly used for temporary coverage from the outside elements. Heavy duty tarpaulins can range from 12 to 23 mils in thickness and are the preferred cover for canopy frames.

Poly Tarps are often referred to as P.E. covers and are sold in either pre-cut sizes or by the roll. In addition, there are several available sizes, colors and thicknesses. It is important to note that the actual size of the tarpaulin will be 4 to 6 inches smaller in each direction than the size listed on the package. This is referred to as the cut and finish size. The difference in the size is the result of the grommet application process. Grommets are the brass, aluminum or metal rings lining the poly tarps and are used to aid in the attaching of the cover to the canopy frame. The spacing of the grommets will vary from one manufacturer to another. Generally, spacing of the grommets will be between 18 to 36 inches. Shorter spacing of the grommets gives strength to the fabric and helps aid in the prevention of extreme movement that is associated with tearing.

In addition to grommets, Tarps have several features that help reinforce the overall strength of the fabric. On each corner of a triangular plastic covering is installed to prevent the grommets from pulling through the fabric. The corners of the fabric are subject to the most tension under harsh conditions. Furthermore, during the grommet process a perimeter rope is added before the fabric is folded back on itself and then laminated to create the hem. The combination of the perimeter rope and hem add great strength to the edges of the fabric.

Poly Tarps are used for a variety of different applications. Some of the most common uses are but not limited to roof and building covers, hurricane protection, canopies, truck covers, privacy tarps, field covers, shade protection, hay storage, lumber covers, gym floor covers, fire retardant tarpaulins and boat covers. Tarps are the preferred cover for multi-purpose applications due to their strength, durability and price. Polyethylene covers are commonly found to be UV treated, waterproof, mildew and rot resistant, contain sun blocking materials and contain fibers that resist arctic temperatures. UV treated poly covers have a special chemical treatment that is applied at the time of manufacturing which helps protect the fibers from prolonged sun degradation. Polyethylene material in and of itself is naturally waterproof.

The tightly woven fibers and laminated layers of the Poly Tarp results in a durable and waterproof product that is very dependable in wet environments. Due to the fact that polyethylene is a natural waterproof material it is also very resistant mold, mildew and rot. In addition, Polyethylene performs very well in freezing temperatures, resisting the negative effects of cold weather. Most Poly Tarpaulins consist of three layers however, an additional sun blocking layer can be found in the silver or grey colored poly covers. Due to the sun blocking layer, silver tarp provides total shade and protection from the elements. The sun blocker consists of a single black layer of polyethylene which is then placed between the existing polyethylene layers to prevent any sunlight from penetrating the cover