A tarpaulin or tarp is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant material. Tarps have grommets along the perimeter as attachment points for bungees, straps or cable ties.
Common Applications for Tarps
Tarps protect from weather and UV. They are often used during construction, to keep elements out or to prevent mess during painting and similar activities, and to contain or collect debris. Tarps can be tied down to protect the loads of open trucks or bins, keep wood piles dry, and for shelters such as tents or other temporary structures. Also, quite popular as a base when building a personal ice rink.
Modern Industrial Tarps are so often made from woven polyethylene that Polytarp has become a common name in industry. A Polytarp is not a traditional fabric, but rather, a laminate of woven and sheet material. The center is woven from strips of polyethylene plastic, with sheets of the same material bonded to the surface. This creates a fabric-like material that resists stretching well and is waterproof. Sheets can be either of low density polyethylene (LDPE) or high density polyethylene (HDPE).
Grommets on Tarps
Tarps have reinforced aluminum or stainless steel grommets at the corners and along the sides to form attachment points. Grommet-to-grommet distances range from 18 inch to 5 feet. These grommets are contact points allowing them to be secured or suspended as required.
Selecting the correct Tarp
When selecting a tarp, you should be aware that the actual size is generally 3% smaller than the nominal size. Other things to consider are material type, thickness, which is generally measured in by weight (grams per sq. meter) or into categories (such as Light duty, Regular duty, Heavy Duty, etc.). Also consider the stresses of the application and if extra reinforcement in the corners and around grommets are required.