tarpYou might be surprised to discover that tarps are available in a variety of different materials, providing you with a wide range of options.

When taking a look at the range of tarp’s available, you can see more at Nasus Supply, so which one will be right for you, poly, mesh or canvas?

Making your decision

There are a number of specific questions that you need to ask in order to arrive at the right choice of tarp.

You need to decide which type of cover will be best suited to your particular requirements and it would be wise to also consider how each different material option will perform for you. It makes a difference if you need something waterproof and heavy-duty, and it might be that you really want to use a material that is environmentally-friendly.


One of the key selling points for many when it comes to polythene or poly tarps, is the fact that it can often turn out to be the least expensive option available. A poly tarp will normally be waterproof and be UV coated, which will help with wear and tear issues.

A poly tarp will work well as a temporary cover if you need one and it will also stand up to low temperature environments. It should be noted however, that poly tarps do not normally last as long as canvas, nylon or vinyl covers, and they do not always fare that well when faced with high temperatures, so they will not be suited to prolonged exposure to sunshine.

A typical application where you might consider using a poly tarp, would be as temporary covers in a variety of situations or as camping covers.


If you looking for a material that is more environmentally-friendly than poly, then a canvas tarp will tick that particular box.

A canvas tarp is breathable and water resistant. As a breathable material, canvas will perform well in avoiding holding too much condensation and it will also not trap too much heat either, so it would be better material to use in a sunnier climate, rather than poly.

You can often expect a canvas tarp to last much longer than a poly tarp, especially if it is well looked after, and you can even retreat it, to prolong its life and give you the protection that you are looking for.

Canvas tarps would be well suited to be used as construction and equipment covers or if you need a flame retardant cover.


The main selling point when it comes to choosing vinyl tarps, is that you will often be getting superior quality and performance.

A coated vinyl tarp will normally last considerably longer than a poly equivalent and offers strong tear resistance as a feature, which could be very useful, if you are considering using a vinyl tarp in a heavy-duty construction situation.

Vinyl tarps offer you a material that is waterproof and a material that can withstand extremely low temperatures without degenerating. You will also normally find that vinyl tarps retain their original size and shape, so shrinkage should not be an issue in normal conditions.

You can choose between coated and laminated vinyl tarps, and your choice will often be dictated by your intended use. You would probably choose a laminated vinyl tarp as an indoor floor cover for example, whereas a coated vinyl tarp would work well as external protection, such as a roof cover.


A neoprene coated nylon cover will often turn out to be your most expensive option when it comes to choosing a tarp material, but what you get in return, is premium tear resistance characteristics, combined with good durability.

A neoprene tarp will offer good corrosion resistance and also provides excellent insulation qualities too. This should be considered as a heavy-duty premium option, but it may of course be what you need, depending on the task that you have in mind.

Size matter

When you have decided which material you need and are ready to order your tarp, there are a couple of other considerations to bear in mind.

Make sure you get the size right. When you order a tarp that is not custom made or you want one made to order, the finished size that is quoted to you is the industry standard measurement used and is size of the actual finished cover and tarp.

Don’t confuse this measurement with the cut size, which is the size of the fabric when it is cut and is not the same as the finished size.

As you can see, not all tarps are the same. Make sure you take the time to choose the right one for your needs, and you should get the right level of performance that you are looking for.

Jamie Black runs a handyman business. He likes to write about his experiences online to help others take care of their homes and yards. You can find his posts on a number of DIY blogs.


  1. I didn’t know that there were many choices when choosing a tarp. I just always grabbed the cheapest ones I could find, probably the polyethylene ones. Anyway, I think I will try to buy the more heavy duty stuff. I normally leave my tarp out over the summer to keep my wood dry. It would also be nice to know that it wouldn’t rip if I had to use it as a cover on a trailer etc.

  2. It sounds like each of these materials have their benefits. I think polyethylene sounds like the best option for a temporary solution. If you only need to cover something up for a certain amount of time, your least expensive option would be the smart choice. It sounds like it would be perfect for covering up exposed wood during a construction project.

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