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Covers, Tarps, Screens and Shades How-to's

When you shop for your covers and tarps, do you ask these questions all the time?

  1. Which cover or tarp should I buy?
  2. Which covers or tarps are best for my particular needs?
  3. How do different covers and tarps compare to one another?
  4. How would the tarp and cover perform?
  5. How can I best take care of my covers and tarps?
  6. What size do I need?

MyTarp.com is here to help answer your questions and help you with your selection of tarps, covers, screens and shades. MyTarp.com brings you thousands of top quality tarps at great low prices. With knowledge of which tarp is best for your situation, you are sure to find products that are best for you.

In general, when you shop for tarps and covers, you get what you paid for. In general poly tarps are the least expensive. Canvas, vinyl, nylon and neoprene covers and tarps are more expensive, while having better quality and performances.

Covers & Tarps Comparison Chart

Fabric Type Price Typical Uses Pros / Cons
Poly or Polyethylene $ Camping covers
Camping tarps
Hurricane tarps
Construction Covers
Temporary covers
Temperary Roof covers

Pros

  1. Least Expensive
  2. Water proof
  3. Normally UV coated
  4. Good as temporary covers
  5. Good low temperature performance

Cons

  1. Does not last as long compared to canvas, vinyl or nylon covers
  2. Poor performance in areas where there is tremendous sunshine and heat, e.g., in South Florida or South Texas. May break up and shred within a few weeks.
Canvas $$ Equiment covers
Supply covers
Construction covers
Flame retardant covers

Pros

  1. Environment friendly
  2. Water resistant
  3. Breathable - do not trap condensation of water - do not trap too much heat under the sun.
  4. Long service life if properly maintained.
  5. Can be retreated using chemicals or solutions such as Canvak.

Cons

  1. Standard-finish canvas tarps' wax and dye may rub off and stain surface of objects covered. Not good candidate as boat covers or car covers.
  2. Lower tear strength than that of vinyl tarps. Not good candiate as truck tarps, i.e., not trailerable. A tear needs to be fixed as soon as possible because the tear may eventually spread.
  3. Water resistant, not water proof. If there is standing water on tarp, water may slowly drip through.
  4. In constantly wet and damp areas, canvas tarps may be prone to mildew.
  5. Unlike vinyl tarps, which are size stable, canvas tarps may slightly shrink over time. Therefore, canvas tarps are not recommended when sizes of covers or tarps need to be precise down to inches.
  6. Normally not UV coated.
Canvas - Premium Finish $$$ Equiment covers
Supply covers
Construction covers
Salvage covers
Pros
  1. Environment friendly
  2. Water resistant
  3. Breathable - do not trap condensation of water - do not trap too much heat under the sun.
  4. Long service life if properly maintained.
  5. Can be retreated using chemicals or solutions such as Canvak.
  6. Unlike standard finish canvas, premium finish canvas normally do not stain surface covered.

Cons

  1. Lower tear strength than that of vinyl tarps. Not good candiate as truck tarps, i.e., not trailerable.
  2. Water resistant, not water proof. If there is standing water on tarp, water may slowly drip through.
  3. In constantly wet and damp areas, canvas tarps may be prone to mildew.
  4. Unlike vinyl tarps, which are size stable, canvas tarps may slightly shrink over time. Therefore, canvas tarps are not recommended when sizes of covers or tarps need to be precise down to inches.
  5. Normally not UV coated.
Vinyl Tarps
(coated)
$$$ Baseball field covers
Construction covers
Equipment covers
Field covers
Football sideline covers
Supply covers
Roof covers
Tents
Canopy
Truck covers
Truck tarps
Pros
  1. Superior quality and performance. Last much longer than poly covers or tarps. May last well over 10 times longer than poly if used and maintained properly.
  2. Strong tear resistance. Trailerable. Often used to manufacture truck tarps for tractor-trailer or semi trucks.
  3. Water proof.
  4. Superior low temperature performance down to -40 degree Ferenheit.
  5. Size stable. Will not shrink under normal conditions.
  6. Normally UV coated.

Cons

  1. Color of coated vinyl covers may slowly fade over years. Red color fades faster.
Vinyl Tarps
(laminated)
$$ Flame retardant covers
Indoor covers
Indoor curtains
Indoor dividers
Floor covers
Gym dividers
Gym floor covers
Salvage covers
Pros
  1. Superior tear resistance.
  2. Flame retardant. Great for indoor uses.
  3. Size stable. Will not shrink under normal conditions.

Cons

  1. Design to be used indoors. Normally not UV treated.
  2. Laminated vinyl tarps will stiff up below freezing temperatures and crack.
Neoprene Covers
(Neoprene coated Nylon Covers)
$$$$ Pros
  1. Superior tear resistance, flexibility and durability.
  2. Corrosion resistant due to chemical inertness.
  3. Excellent insulation against cold.
  4. Size stable. Will not shrink under normal conditions.

Cons

  1. More expensive.

General Covers and Tarps Questions

  1. What is cut size?

    Cut size is the size of the fabric when the fabric is cut and before the final cover or tarp is made. When the hems of fabric are folded and stitched and seams are sewn, the finished cover or tarp is slightly smaller than the actual cut size. Cut size is one of the tarp industry standard measurement used in USA and Canada.

  2. What is finished size?

    For covers and tarps, finished size is the size of the actual finished cover and tarp. Finished size is one of the tarp industry standard measurement used in USA and Canada.

  3. What are MyTarp.com covers and tarps used for?

    MyTarp.com's tarps and covers have thousands of applications. Our tarps are widely used by farmers, roofers, construction companies and consumers.

  4. Are all the tarps basically the same?

    No. Different tarps have huge performance and differences. Generally you get what you paid for when you shop for tarps and covers. Please see the covers and tarps comparison above for differences among different tarps.

  5. What is the difference between cut size and finished size? Are they the same?

    Cut size and finished size are not the same. Cut size is the size of the fabric when the fabric is cut and before the final cover or tarp is made. After the hems of fabric are folded and stitched and seams are sewn, the finished cover or tarp is slightly smaller than the actual cut size. The size of the actual finished cover and tarp is called finished size. Some products on MyTarp.com are measured by Cut Size, while others are measured by Finished Size. So, please pay attention to the specifications of the individual products. Should you have questions, please call our customer service representatives.

  6. Does MyTarp.com custom make covers and tarps according to my size, color and other specifications?

    Yes. MyTarp.com custom make covers and tarps according to your specifications, including fabric type, fabric weight, fabric color, grommets and other requirements. Please see Custom Tarps page for more information.

  7. I do not see the size I need. Can MyTarp.com make the cover or tarp of the particular size for me?

    Yes. MyTarp.com custom make covers and tarps according to your specifications, including fabric type, fabric weight, fabric color, grommets and other requirements. Please see Custom Tarps page for more information.

  8. How long does it take MyTarp.com to make my custom covers and tarps?

    Between 2 to 5 business days, for a typical cover or tarp with no excessive difference from regular in stock items other than size and color. If your custom covers require extensive engineering or alterations, or your orders has very large quantiy, it may take longer to complete your order.

  9. Are custom tarps returnable or refundable?

    No. Custom tarps are not returnable or refundable unless MyTarp.com make material mistake in manufacturing the covers or tarps. Please see our return policy page for more info.

  10. Does MyTarp.com have quantity discounts?

    Yes. If you order multiple tarps totaling more than $2000, MyTarp.com offers discounts on shipping. Please call for more details.

  11. Is there a warranty or guarantee of your covers and tarps?

    No. There is no warranty or guarantee of covers and tarps. MyTarp.com strive to provide quality products at great prices. However, due to wide variaty of environments and applications covers and tarps are used, there is no warranty or guarantee.

  12. Does MyTarp.com have flame retardant tarps?

    Yes. MyTarp.com has a large selection of flame retardant tarps. All of our flame retardant tarps meets fire marshal codes, with most of them meeting California Fire Marshall code, while some others meet some other fire marshall codes.

  13. Is flame retardant same as fire proof?

    No. Please go to California Fire Marshall website for more information and definitions of terms.

  14. What is mil?

    A mil is a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch (0.0254 mm). Mil is used to measure the thickness of tarps. Normally, the thicker a tarp is, the better quality.

  15. What is Denier?

    Denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. It is defined as the mass in grams per 9,000 meters, or 1 denier = 1 gram per 9 000 meters. Normally the higher the denier count, the higher quality of the tarp’s fabric mesh.

  16. Can you make the size precise down to the inches?

    Yes and no. MyTarp.com can make tarp size precisely down to inches. However, precise size measurement is not recommended for poly tarps, canvas tarps or mesh tarps due to their elastic nature. Additionally, canvas tarps can slightly shrink over time. If you want size-stable covers and tarps, please consider vinyl tarps.

  17. Why are vinyl tarps more expensive than poly tarps?

    Compared to poly tarps, vinyl tarps generally last much longer, have much better tear resistance and perform well in harsh conditions. Under normal conditions, vinyl tarps could last 10 times longer than their poly tarps counter parts. For example, vinyl coated mesh tarps could last 10 times longer and have superior performance compared to poly mesh tarps. The cost to manufacture vinyl tarps are more expensive.

  18. Can MyTarp.com rush my order?

    Yes, although MyTarp.com does not guarantee any ship date or delivery date.

  19. Does MyTarp.com ship to overseas?

    At this time, on MyTarp.com website, customers cannot ship orders to outside of USA. To ship to overseas, please contact MyTarp.com customer service for special arrangement.

  20. Does MyTarp.com ship to P.O. Box, AFO, FPO or similar addresses?

    MyTarp.com are not able ship to P.O. Box addresses, or APO, FPO or similar addresses. This is because UPS, UPS Freight, FedEx, FedEx Freight and many other Freight Carriers do not ship to P.O. Box addresses, APO, FPO, or similar addresses.

  21. Does MyTarp.com ship to military addresses overseas?

    For shipments to military addresses overseas, MyTarp.com ships to military supply transit centers throughout the country which in turn ships to APO, FPO, overseas military bases and battle fields such as Iraq and Afghanistan. MyTarp.com are not able to ship directly to FPO, or similar addresses because UPS, FedEx and most Freight Carriers do not ship to FPO, or similar addresses.

    MyTarp.com solutes all brave military man and woman, espicially those brave man and women deployed overseas who are protecting our country and those brave man and woman fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  22. Why is not every MyTarp.com product made in USA?

    MyTarp.com make great efforts to source raw materials and products from within USA. However, it is not possible or practical to source every and each product from within USA.

    There are many other ways to support American economy besides buying products made in USA. For example, selling one Boeing jumbo jet overseas could buy 1 to 10 Million pairs of shoes from overseas. One copy of Microsoft SQL Server could buy another 100 to 1000+ pairs of shoes from overseas. So, to help American economy you don't necessarily need to make every pair of shoes in USA. As long as you create great products and services of value, you are helping your country.

Canvas Tarps Questions

  1. What is standard finish canvas cover or canvas tarp?

    For canvas tarps, standard finish's treatment chemicals include wax and dye. A canvas tarp is standard finish unless it is stated otherwise. The wax and dye of a standard finish canvas cover or canvas tarp may rub off and stain surface being covered.

  2. What is premium finish canvas cover or canvas tarp?

    For canvas tarps, premium finish's treatment chemicals uses a more expensive mix of chemicals.

  3. My new canvas tarp has an odor or smell. Is there something wrong?

    The chemical treatment on the canvas tarp has an odor or smell initially. The odor or smell will disappear gradually after regular use. The chemical treatments make the canvas tarp water and mildew resistant.

  4. Why is the wax or color on my new canvas tarps rubbing off?

    A canvas tarp's chemical treatment includes wax and dye. The wax and dye may rub off. This is entirely normal and expected.

  5. Can I use canvas covers as car covers or boat covers?

    Standard finish canvas tarps are not recommended for car covers or boat covers standard finish canvas cover's wax and dye may rub off and stain car or boat's surface. Premium finish natural white canvas cover can be used as car or boat covers. However, the best car or boat covers are made from nylon or other marine grade fabrics.

  6. Can I use canvas covers indoors?

    Canvas tarps of not recommended for indoors use because a canvas tarp's wax and dye may rub off and stain indoor surfaces, such as carpet, wood floor, etc. For indoor covers, consider poly covers, poly tarps, vinyl covers, vinyl tarps, untreated canvas, premium finish natural white canvas, nylon tarps or neoprene covers.

  7. Can I use canvas tarps as truck tarps?

    No. Canvas tarps does not have high tear resistance. When trucks are driving on highway at over 65 miles per hour, wind can put hundreds of pounds force on the tarp. Canvas tarps cannot withstand that type of force. For truck tarps, please see our truck tarps page for more info. For high tear resistance tarps, please see our 18 oz Coated Vinyl Tarps, which is the same material used for commerical truck tarps.

  8. Can I use canvas tarps as curtains?

    Canvas tarps are not recommended to be vertically hung as curtains. This is because canvas tarps are heavy and canvas tarps are not tear resistant. When used as a vertical curtain, a tear in canvas tarp can spread if not fixed quickly.

  9. What does it mean a canvas tarp is fully treated?

    A fully treated canvas tarp means that the entire canvas tarp fabric has been treated with chemicals for water, mold and mildew resistance.

  10. Why a treated canvas cover or tarp is heavier than untreated canvas cover or tarp?

    A canvas cover or tarp is heavier after treatment because the treatment chemicals adds to the weight of canvas fabric. Normally, the treatment adds 6 oz per sq yards to the canvas weight.

  11. Are there any differences among chemical treatments of canvas tarps?

    There are many different canvas treatments. Most canvas tarps are treated with standard grade mix of chemicals. Premium canvas treatments uses better set of chemical mixes and are more expensive. In general, the lower-end treatments the more more wax in the treatment.

  12. Is heavier canvas treatment better? Some canvas tarps claim treatment weight of 8 oz or more to canvas.

    Not necessarily. Heavier canvas treatment might actually mean more wax and therefore lower grade chemicals. This is because normally the more wax in the canvas tarp treatment chemicals, the lower grade canvas treatment. More wax does not necessarily make a canvas tarp better. To properly evaluate the quality of a canvas treatment, you need to actually look at the type of treatment.

  13. Can a canvas tarp be retreated?

    Yes. You can retreat a canvas cover or tarp using chemicals such as Canvak or Iosso.

  14. Water is dripping through my canvas tarp. Is my Canvas Tarp defective?

    No. Canvas tarp is water resistant but not water proof. If there is a puddle formed on the canvas tarp, water can actually very slowly drip through. So when you use canvas tarps, please make sure puddles of water do not form on your canvas tarp. If you need water proof, please consider MyTarp.com's poly tarps and vinyl tarps instead.

Poly Tarps Questions

  1. What is poly tarp made of?

    Poly tarp is made of Polyethylene or poly for short.

  2. Why is my poly tarp a few inches smaller than the size specified?

    It is likely the tarp received is cut-size. Cut size is size of the fabric. When tarp is made, after the edges are folded and seams heat sealed, the final tarp's size is slightly smaller than the fabric size, or cut size. Cut size is one of the tarp industry standard measurement in USA and Canada. MyTarp.com's product description specifies whether a product is cut-size or finished-size, if applicable.

  3. Can MyTarp.com ship container loads of poly tarps?

    Yes. MyTarp.com can ship large amounts of poly tarps. However, during period of weather disasters, inventory is extremely volatile. MyTarp.com does not guarantee availability of any particular items or their quantities in stock.

    If you can plan your poly tarp needs at least 45 days before hand. Please contact our partner Sigman Tarp. Sigman Tarp can custom manufacture your tarps and deliver them to your doorstep at a fraction of retail costs.

Sports Backstop Tarps

  1. What tarps are used as sports backstop tarps?

    Vinyl Coated Polyester or Vinyl Laminated Polyester tarps are sometimes used as backstops for baseball, golf and soccer practice. The strength of the player will determine the ounce per square yard of the fabric needed. For indoor use, the flame retardant vinyl laminated polyester tarps may be required. The flame retardant vinyl laminated polyester tarps are available in 27 oz. and 32 oz. The 22 oz. and 40 oz. vinyl coated polyester tarps are also used. Suspending the tarp loosely will allow the fabric to absorb impact more efficiently.

Playset, Playground and Swing Set Tarps

  1. What tarps are used as playset tarps or swing set tarps?

    Several tarp materials are used for play set tarps. Most common are Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarp and awning tarps. Vinyl coated polyester tarp is strong, waterproof, UV and tear resistant. Vinyl coated polyster tarp fabric weight is available in 40, 22, 18, 14 or 10 oz / sq yard.

    The most popular playset tarp is the 18 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester has 12 colors to choose from. It makes a great playset tarp due to its strength, tear and UV resistance.

    If the playset tarp does not have to waterproof, shade cloth tarp or sun shade mesh tarp can also be used.

    To order your play set tarp, measure the height and width of your existing tarp in inches from edge to edge. Installation is easy using screws and washers. For extra charges, turn snap fasteners may be installed to your tarp to allow instant installation and removal

Mesh Tarps

  1. What is the shading percentage on sun shade mesh tarp, sun shade cloth, and fence screens mean?

    MyTarp.com offers sun shade mesh tarps and shade cloth tarps of 50% to 95% UV shading. The UV shading percentage refers to the maximum amount or percentage the sun shade mesh tarp may block up. The exact UV shading percentage may depend on how the tarp is installed.

    The block percentage of fence screen refers to the amount of light the fabric blocks out. The shading percentage does NOT refer to the amount of privacy the fabric will offer you. The fence screen shading percentage also refers to the amount of sun rays blocked out.

    Objects are visible through all mesh tarps and fence screen fabrics. If you need 100% block of view, please consider 18 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarps, 22 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarps or 40 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester Tarps instead of mesh tarps or mesh fence screen tarps.

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