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Comparing Vinyl, Nylon, and Canvas Tarps

Sep 9, 2008
In order to find the right tarp for the jobs you have in mind, you need to consider the material being used. There are several options available including vinyl, canvas, and nylon, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Neoprene, laminating, and vinyl coating treatments are often added to these materials to make them even more versatile. In order to select the right material, consider the qualities you need the tarp to have.

Canvas Tarps

In comparison to vinyl and nylon, canvas is the most environmentally friendly option because it is made from cotton. An extremely durable material, this material can resist water for years so long as it is retreated. Canvas has the added benefit of being breathable, which makes it ideal for covering machinery and other items that are easily damaged from condensation.

Canvas tarps are great for many different uses, but do have limitations. When used in places where there is a large amount of moisture, the fabric will mildew and mold. Dark colors and the water resistant coating used to treat these covers can rub off onto other items, and they can tear in high winds when they are pulled tight. Therefore, tying them directly across equipment is not recommended.

Vinyl Tarps

Vinyl tarps are considerably stronger than polyethylene and are completely waterproof. Best of all, vinyl tarps are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and weights making them ideal for a variety of different uses. If you are in need of tarp for outdoor applications, you will have to select the right weight because not all of them protect against the sun.

Laminated vinyl that is 13oz for example, is best for indoor applications such as a gym floor because it isn't treated with a UV coating. A light 10oz vinyl tarp, on the other hand, is UV resistant and the perfect weight for extremely jobs such as covering a baseball field. They have enough to stay put in the wind while still being light enough to carry and work with. For applications such as truck box covers and roofing that requires added strength and durability, consider heavier weights such as 18oz coated vinyl.

A type of vinyl called 'temper tent' vinyl remains pliable in extreme cold and is waterproof as well as fire retardant. It is also considerably more durable than other vinyl tarps. Temper tent tarp is more affordable than other vinyl covers and is flame retardant.

Nylon Tarps

For the ultimate in strength and damage resistance, nylon tarps are at the top of the list. With the added neoprene coating, this 16 oz material is more pliable and supple than any other types available and is extremely resistant to tearing. Neoprene coated nylon has a high level of resistance to UV rays and mildew making them ideal for outdoor applications. They are also impermeable by grease, chemicals, and acids for uses in and around your home and workplace.

Canvas, vinyl, and nylon are all great choices for tarp material, but they each have their own set of benefits and limitations. Consider what you will be using your tarp for and which qualities you need it to have. With all of the different styles and sizes available, you are sure to find the right one.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on tarps, visit www.mytarp.com.
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