What is tarpaulin?

Picture of Firewood and TarpWhat is tarpaulin….

There are 100s of uses for tarpaulin. But to start, what is tarpaulin made from?

What is tarpaulin made from?

There are many types of tarpaulin available on that market today. Made from different materials to provide different jobs and protection.

  • Canvas
  • Jute / Hessian
  • Silnylon
  • Mesh
  • Cotton-Poly
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyester
  • PVC
  • Polyethylene

Canvas Tarpaulin

Canvas is a woven material that is robust. Usually given a waterproof wax coating.
With canvas it is a breathable material, which means the fabric can breathe.
Canvas tarpaulins are made from a natural fibers, and are unaffected from high temperatures.
Disadvantages to canvas tarps are they’re only waterproof once treated. Colours can fade and run.

Jute / Hessian Tarpaulin

Jute is a natural material, derived from a “Jute” plant. It is woven into a workable tread. You may have seen jute used for bags or sacks.
Jute tarpaulins are used in the construction industry. Inexpensive and can resist heat (useful for tarmac).
Unfortunately Jute is not waterproof.

What is Tarpaulin? – Plastic Tarpaulin

What is tarpaulin in plastic form? Most common today are plastic tarpaulins.

  • Silnylon Tarpaulin – Nylon infused with silicone. It’s incredibly lightweight. However, if it gets too wet, it can stretch out of shape.
  • Mesh – like canvas tarpaulins but usually made from nylon. They let moisture escape and are best used to block light wind. However, they’re not waterproof and can’t protect you / things from the elements (rain, snow, etc).
  • Cotton-Poly / Rip Stop Tarpaulin. Canvas type tarp that benefit with a hybrid of natural cotton fibres and synthetic polyester.
    Waterpoof and breatheable plus tear proof. However, coloured Cotton Poly canvas tarpaulin can run.
  • Polypropylene Tarpaulin – A propene polymer (basically a type of plastic). Woven, but will not allow water to pass through.
    Affordable, lightweight and will last.
    UV Treated Polypropylene tarpaulins will also retain their colour and not rot. Can be used for 100s of different things.
  • Polyester Tarpaulin – The same material they make clothes from. Polyester Tarpaulins when treated with a PU later are waterproof.
    However, these light sheets are known for being noisy in the wind.
  • PVC Tarpaulin – Strong and made to withstand lots of use and diverse weather conditions. Less prone to rips and can be used for practically anything.
  • Polyethylene Tarpaulin – Coated strong plastic that’s waterproof. Affordable and lightweight. Used for covering and sheltering.