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    Tarps Buyer's Guide & Other Tarp Information

    When you think about tarps, you might not realize there is more than just one type. Understanding the number of different materials and models can be overwhelming. So how do you know which is the correct type of tarp for you? For some people that answer is simple; they are simply searching for the tarps for sale. But, did you know that there are differences between the materials? Each material also serves a different purpose for use. It's not quite as easy as choosing between large tarps and small tarps, there is so much more that goes into purchasing the best one to fit your needs. This guide will answer many of the questions we described above and offer you so much more.


    If you're unfamiliar with what a tarp actually is, a tarp is a large piece of protective fabric that is usually strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof, and treated to be appropriate for a variety of uses. There are many different manufacturers of tarps, some more well-known than others. Popular brands include Everbit, HDX, PTM Tarps, and Polytuf. With any of these brands, you can find a high-quality tarp that will protect your property.

    Tarp Weight And Why It Matters

    Many people find they are unaware of the difference in weights of tarps. Some think there is just a standardized thickness, when in reality, there is a broad range of tarp weights. Thicknesses range from lightweight tarps to heavy duty specialty models, all with different applications and lifespans.

    The thickness of tarps is measured in mils, or 1/1000th of an inch. On many tarps, the mil number will indicate how durable it is since the larger that number, the stronger the tarp. However, not all manufacturers use mils, instead labeling their tarps to be light-weight, regular-duty, or heavy-duty.

    Light-weight tarps might make you think of disposable, thin pieces of plastic but that is no longer the case. Coming in a variety of material, light-weight tarps come in both mesh and solid versions to meet a variety of needs. Often regular-duty tarps are categorized as being part of the light-weight subcategory.

    Some of the more common uses for light-weight tarps are drop cloths when painting, makeshift tents, temporary shade in the backyard, temporary machinery or equipment coverage, and covering firewood to protect it from the elements.

    Tarp Weights

    Heavy-duty tarps have a variety of uses and are built to last. Whether you are using your tarp for yard work or protecting your property from water, you can rely on tarps given this label. Heavy-duty tarps only come in solid forms, dissimilar to their lighter counterparts. But some clear heavy-duty tarps can mimic the appearance of mesh.

    Frequent uses for heavy-duty tarps include, but are not limited to, long-term protection for machinery or equipment, a variety of landscaping and construction uses, privacy screens, and swimming pool covers.

    Using the appropriate weight tarp is essential. Heavy-duty tarps are predictably heavier than their light-weight equivalent. There is also a contrast in expense; more massive tarps are more expensive. Carefully consider both of these, as well as the purpose your tent will fulfill, before purchasing a tarp.

    What Material Should I Choose?

    When looking at tarps, you might see there are several different materials they can be made from. The most prevalent three are canvas, vinyl, and poly. Poly can actually refer to either polyethylene or polypropylene. Each material offers benefits depending on the purpose your tarp will have. Additionally, there are mesh tarps that fulfill their own use.

    Tarp Materials

    Canvas tarps have a variety of uses. Some of their more standard purposes include covers for supplies, tools, construction, and salvage. Thanks to canvas' breathable nature, these tarps can also be used as weather covers for anything that would be negatively affected by condensation. One thing to keep in mind though is that canvas is not waterproof and requires special treatment to be considered water-resistant.

    Some consumers prefer vinyl for their tarps. That preference may result from vinyl tarps being considered the most reliable and most durable. They are waterproof as well as tear, abrasion, and mildew resistant. Those who need a tarp that will last in extreme cold should consider vinyl as their fabric of choice. Vinyl tarps can withstand temperatures down to negative forty degrees Fahrenheit. But, for all these benefits, there is a cost - literally. Vinyl tarps are more expensive than any other type of fabric.

    The term poly tarps can be confusing. "Poly" can refer to either polyethylene or polypropylene. Both are standard materials for tarps. In fact, some manufacturers do not differentiate between the two. That is due to the materials being very similar to each other. When you get a poly tarp of either, you can expect it to be light, waterproof, and the least expensive option. Poly tarps are also very versatile and are generally considered to be all-purpose. Yet, these are not as durable as tarps made of vinyl or canvas and excessively cold temperatures can make them brittle.


    Mesh tarps are less a type of fabric and more a style of tarp. Don't let that stop you from considering these tarps. They have their own purposes and considerations. Most mesh tarps are light-weight, but sometimes you will find some that are rated as heavy-duty. Often used for mesh fences or other privacy issues, these tarps allow airflow while still breaking strong winds.

    Material and style combined can impact the usefulness of your tarp immensely. However, there are other things to consider.

    Other Things To Consider When Deciding on the Perfect Tarp

    Many different tarps offer different features depending on the features they have innately. Of course, the conditions your tarp will face impact your needs to make sure every wish is granted.

    Treatments help improve the functionality of your tarp. There are three primary treatments that your tarp may receive to maintain it against the elements. Waterproofing, usually only applied to tarps that are not naturally waterproof, help the tarp resist water damage. Or you may also desire a fire-retardant tarp, which means that it will have increased resistance to flames but will not be fireproof. The third treatment is UV-protection. This sort of protection is popular when a tarp is being used for shade or other outdoor purposes so it can last longer.

    Consider this

    Another essential thing to consider is the size of your tarp. When you are looking at the size you desire, you might see a note about the size. This is because the advertised size of a tarp is the cut size. What that means is that the manufacturer cuts the tarp that size. Due to hemming and other modifications to the tarp to prepare it for use, the size tarp you receive is generally four to six inches shorter than the cut size. Many find this to be an issue that was not considered before purchasing their tarp.

    One part of the tarp selecting process that some consider important while others do not is color. Gone are the days of just having a simple blue tarp for every purpose. Now, you can find a tarp in a variety of colors and even some patterns! There's a rainbow of choices for you. Some also have two colors, though that can indicate special treatment, such as additional UV protection.

    The last consideration for selecting the right tarp would be the grommets. Grommets are the small metal eyelets that are spaced along the side or sides of the tarp as a means to tie them down. These circles may seem like just a visual improvement to the tarp, but they also prevent tearing and abrasion. For each tarp, the grommets might be a different width apart. Each tarp available should have this information in the product description for you to find the right one for you.

    As with many items, you should also carefully consider the warranty information on your tarp. The warranty will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some will only cover product defects found in the first few days of ownership. This is something to consider before your purchase as well.


    You might be wondering about the lifespan of a tarp. Unfortunately, there is no hard rule on how long a tarp will last since it has a wide variety of applications. To keep your tarp in the best condition possible, review any care instructions that come with it.

    Tarp Accessories to Consider

    Sometimes your tarp needs a helping hand, and that is were accessories come in. There are a few different kinds of accessories available for tarps. Some of the more common ones include bungees, repair kits, and tarp clips.

    All three of these accessories are functional, increasing how well your tarp can work for you. Bungees and tarp clips are two sides of the same coin, as it were. Both help you secure the tarp to avoid it blowing away or not protecting your property correctly. Many manufacturers will recommend the use of bungees or tarp clips, instead of rope or other products, to avoid damage or loss of your tarp to wind. Repair kits will assist when you have tears or other damage to your tarp.

    Many use these accessories to increase the longevity of the use of their tarp. They provide a crucial way to increase the lifespan of your tarp. Don't skip out on accessories to improve the performance of your tarp and keep it as functional as possible!

    Find The Right Tarp Today!

    With many different materials and types of tarps available, it may seem complicated at first to find the right tarp for you. But with this guide and the helpful product specialists from eCanopy, you can find the right type of tarp for you today!

    Tarps Q&A with the Product Specialists

    * Please Note: All customer questions are answered by our Product Specialists free of charge!
    25 Questions & 25 Answers
    Cheryl C.
    from Carlotta, CA asked:
    March 12, 2022
    Do you have any tarp that can be used as a greenhouse material?
    1 Answer
    We do not.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on March 14, 2022

    Arturo A.
    from Chino, CA asked:
    June 28, 2021
    Do you guys make custom-size tarps?
    1 Answer
    We do not.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on June 28, 2021

    from Magnolia, TX asked:
    May 7, 2021
    Which tarp will last the longest?
    1 Answer
    The PTM Heavy Duty tarps are the strongest tarps we offer on our site.
    Submitted by: Chaz A. on May 7, 2021

    Debbi A.
    from Camden, SC asked:
    September 16, 2020
    Need to cover an in-ground pool size 25 x 45. What size in mil or duty do you recommend?
    1 Answer
    The closet size we offer is a 30x50 in our heavy duty 12 mil tarps.
    Submitted by: Chaz A. on September 16, 2020

    Robert O.
    from Merrick, NY asked:
    July 26, 2020
    Do you have a tarp 20x40 for covering a pool?
    1 Answer
    We do offer a 20x40 Universal PTM tarp. Please note these tarps can run 6/8 inches shorter than the quote size.
    Submitted by: Chaz A. on July 27, 2020

    from Bainbridge, NY asked:
    June 6, 2020
    I need a 16 x 80 heavy tarp to cover a trailer roof. Do you have this?
    1 Answer
    We do not offer that size or custom-sized tarps.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on June 8, 2020

    from Mountain Home, AR asked:
    June 4, 2020
    Can a heavy-duty polyethylene tarp be ordered with the gromets at a specified distance apart?
    1 Answer
    No, most of the tarp's grommets will be spaced every 18-24 inches.
    Submitted by: Chaz A. on June 5, 2020

    Dave K.
    from Beaufort, SC asked:
    May 11, 2020
    Can I get a tarp with my favorite football team on it?
    1 Answer
    We do not offer such a product.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on May 12, 2020

    from Redwood City, CA asked:
    May 6, 2020
    I'm interested in a 20x30 water rainproof non-opaque tarp. Ideally, some light comes through yet moderate UV protection for material underneath. Do you have anything?
    1 Answer
    We do sell a tarp like that.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on May 6, 2020

    from NJ asked:
    May 3, 2020
    Do you have any tarps that are made in the USA?
    1 Answer
    We do not.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on May 4, 2020

    from Houston asked:
    April 13, 2020
    Where are your tarps made?
    1 Answer
    Our tarps are made in China.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on April 13, 2020

    from Seattle, WA asked:
    February 15, 2020
    Is the Super Heavy Duty tarp the thickest and strongest?
    1 Answer
    The Super Heavy Duty is the thickest tarp we offer.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on February 17, 2020

    Daniel D.
    from Spring Creek, NV asked:
    January 31, 2020
    I need a tarp to cover pickup cargo driving at highway speeds that will not tear in the wind.
    1 Answer
    I would recommend the Super Heavy Duty tarps by PTM found on our site.
    Submitted by: Sarah B. on January 31, 2020

    Jim M.
    from PA asked:
    November 27, 2019

    Looking for a tarp 8x20 to cover the end of a carport.

    1 Answer
    Here is the link to the 8 x 20 tarps on our site.
    Submitted by: Briana L. on November 29, 2019

    from NJ asked:
    November 21, 2019
    I need a tarp to use to cover a dog igloo from rain wind and snow. What type should I use?

    1 Answer
    Depending on the size of the igloo I would recommend using a poly tarp if you want to keep rain and snow from damaging the unit. With the poly tarps, they are 100% waterproof and rot-proof. But also keep in mind if you are picking a tarp the finish sewn size will be 4-6% shorter than the original cut size.
    Submitted by: Briana L. on November 21, 2019

    Nancy P.
    from Yadkinville, NC 27055 asked:
    October 31, 2019
    I have a front porch that faces the north so we get rain and wind into the porch area. I am looking for a tarp that is transparent enough to allow the light in but keep the rain out and give some protection from the wind. The area is 8 ft. tall by 12 ft length.
    1 Answer
    Here is the link to the clear 8 x 12 tarp that may work for your needs. 
    Submitted by: Briana L. on October 31, 2019

    Paul S.
    from Harrison, NY asked:
    October 24, 2019
    I'm looking for a tarp to cover my 12x12 foot outdoor canopy/tent for the winter . Do you have a tarp I can use for that ?
    1 Answer
    I would recommend going to one of our 14 x 14 tarps since the finish sewn size is usually 4-6 inches shorter.
    Submitted by: Briana L. on October 25, 2019

    from WA asked:
    April 21, 2017
    What are the largest tarps to cover a lawn? I want to kill everything that's growing and start over.
    1 Answer
    We have tarps from 4' x 4' feet to 170' x 170' feet, found here.
    Submitted by: Sarah on April 21, 2017

    from NC asked:
    February 6, 2017
    Do you carry tarps that are 7' x 15', low valance, white, with wrap around velcro?
    1 Answer
    I apologize, but we currently do not sell tarps with velcro straps.
    Submitted by: Darnarius on February 6, 2017

    from VT asked:
    January 17, 2017
    Do you have camouflage colored tarps?
    1 Answer
    We currently do not offer camo tarps.
    Submitted by: Darnarius on January 17, 2017

    from Midlothian, VA asked:
    December 3, 2016
    I currently have a tarp that is approximately 10' X 10' and has a rope embedded in sides. When you tighten the rope, the tarp tightens up to become a partially opened bag. I use it to relocate leaves and other yard waste on my property. Do you have such a product?
    1 Answer
    We do offer tarps with grommets spaced every 18 inches all the way around the tarp. You may be able to feed a rope through the grommets and achieve the same thing. But, to answer your question, no. We do not offer tarps that have ropes embedded into all sides.
    Submitted by: Darnarius on December 5, 2016

    from Fort Myers, FL asked:
    June 16, 2016
    I'm restoring a boat and want something to cover it as I work on it. I just want something that can handle Florida sun and rain. The big box stores tarps last maybe 2 months. What would last longer?
    1 Answer
    We would recommend any of our Heavy Duty Tarps.
    Submitted by: Seth on June 17, 2016

    from Magnolia, TX asked:
    November 10, 2015
    Which materal will last the longest for year round protection on a car port?
    1 Answer
    I would recommend our Heavy Duty tarps. We even have some Super Heavy Duty options in various sizes.
    Submitted by: Kevin E. - eCanopy Product Specialist on November 10, 2015

    from TX asked:
    June 29, 2015
    I would like to cover and protect my outdoor ping pong table in an unfolded position. What kind of tarp would you recommend?
    1 Answer
    Based on the average dimensions of a ping pong table, and taking into account the need for a water-proof and rot-proof tarp, I would suggest the PTM Tarps Heavy Duty Silver Polyethylene Tarp - 10' x 14' - TS1014.
    Submitted by: Brennan W. - eCanopy Product Specialist on June 30, 2015

    from Truro, MA asked:
    July 27, 2014
    I want to cover a pile of topsoil to keep it from washing away. It will be in full sun most of the day. I'd like it to be brown or green. Can you make a recommendation?
    1 Answer
    Any of our Heavy Duty Tarps should fulfill your needs.
    Submitted by: Dawn H. - eCanopy Product Specialist on July 28, 2014

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