Do Tarps Work for Slip and Slides?

Summer is here. To stay cool on hot days, many kids head for the nearest pool, lake, river, or pond. There’s an easier way to stay cool. A backyard slip and slide pairs a waterproof vinyl tarp with flowing water to create a water slide you can set up anywhere.

You could head to the store and buy an official Slip ‘N Slide. If you do, there are usually size limits. Most official backyard water slides are in the 15 to 20 foot range. If you plan to join your children playing outside, a longer water slide is going to be ideal. With a little creativity and the right materials, you can build your own backyard water slide.

The History of the Slip ‘N Slide

WHAM-O is likely a name you’ve heard a lot in your childhood. The company was founded out of a family garage and started with something as simple as a hula hoop and a Frisbee. In 1961, one of WHAM-O’s most loved summer toys came out – a backyard water slide for children.

The Slip ‘N Slide was a 25-foot long by a 3.33-foot wide sheet of treated plastic with small holes along the edges and an end that attached to a garden hose. The small holes allowed the water to spray out creating a very slippery surface for anyone who dove onto it. The Slip ‘N Slide could be set up on even or sloped ground for backyard fun in the summer heat.

Why Not Build Your Own Backyard Water Slide?

Slip ‘N Slide toys are still available today in toy stores across the country. They’ve advanced to having slides that come to an end with a pool, wider slides that fit multiple people at once, and slides with archways you pass under.

If you need a longer slide than Wham-O makes, you have to buy more than one slide and put them together. With a piece of durable tarp, you can design your own backyard water slide to fit your yard’s specific dimensions. You can make it wide enough that children aren’t sliding off the edge and onto grass and dirt. Make it long enough to go all the way down a backyard slope that extends 100 feet or more.

Which Tarps Make the Best Backyard Slip and Slides?

You’ve decided to make your own slip and slide for the backyard. Start by choosing the right material. It has to be waterproof, durable, and resist damage from the sun’s rays.

Vinyl polyester tarps are great for this purpose. You could use clear plastic, but it’s less durable and will probably only last one season. Spend a bit more money and you have a slip and slide for the backyard that will last for years if not decades.

The heavy weight of an 18-ounce vinyl-coated polyester tarp is designed to resist abrasion and tears with excellent durability. It’s thick, waterproof, and resists mildew, too. Finally, the UV treatment protects the tarp from sun damage.

Using Your New Slip and Slide

Before you spread out your tarp, check the area of the lawn for rocks, sticks, and other items that may cause harm if you land on them. When you’ve removed all foreign objects, lay the tarp out in the desired area.

Wet the vinyl tarp down with a hose. Add a cup or two of an environmentally-friendly dish soap to help maintain a very slippery surface without harming the grass and gardens in your yard. Lay a soaker hose along the top edge and secure it to the grommets using zip ties. Just remind the kids to avoid diving on the hose or they might get scratched by the zip ties.

Leave the water running at a slow trickle when the kids are playing. Over time, the surface may not be as slick. Add a bit more dish soap to restore the slickness.

If you don’t like the soaker hose idea, pool noodles are a good alternative. Find pool noodles at your nearby dollar store. Use velcro strips along the top of the tarp or down one side of the tarp. Place another section of velcro strips on the pool noodles. Use the velcro to secure the pool noodles to the tarp.

Drill ¼ inch holes equally spaced along the edge of the pool noodles. Attach a nozzle sprayer to your hose and push the nozzle into the hole on the pool noodle. Turn on the water and it will spray through the holes you’ve drilled as the kids play.

End of the Summer Storage Tips

At the end of the summer, thoroughly rinse off both sides of the slip and slide tarp. Hang it on a laundry line to thoroughly dry out. Fold it up and put it in a mice-proof container until it’s warm enough to use it again.

Chicago Canvas & Supply sells vinyl tarp in custom sizes. Let us know what size tarp you’re looking for for your backyard slide, and we’ll make it happen. You can call us with those dimensions or fill out the Get a Quote form for a free quote.

Maximize Your Tarp’s Life – Tips To Get The Most Longevity Out Of Your Tarps

There are two good reasons for making your tarp last. First, it helps you save money. If you’re not buying new tarps multiple times per year, you save money. Second, tarps are not recyclable. When your tarp’s lifespan is used up, you have to toss the tarp in the trash. Very few areas have programs that give life to an old tarp.

Tarps are only recyclable if they’re made from a plastic material that is recyclable and are stamped with that plastic’s number. As a result, tarps head to the trash when they reach the end of their lifespan. Long-lasting tarps keep material out of the landfill. The more life you get out of your tarp, the better it is for your wallet and the planet. To maximize your tarp’s life, use these tips.

Pick the Best Material

Tarps you see at discount stores are often crafted from lightweight polyester. They’re inexpensive because they’re not designed to last long. Spending more money on an industrial tarp made of heavy-duty materials leads to a longer life. It may be more expensive to start, but you’ll be purchasing one tarp to last you years instead of several inexpensive tarps that only last a few months. These are the best uses for the different tarp fabrics.

Canvas (Treated and Untreated) – Canvas tarps are made of cotton. Untreated tarps are best for room dividers, covers, and painting projects. Treated canvas tarps are water resistant and sometimes fire retardant. They are covered in a wax and oil coating, so they are not ideal for covering items that cannot be stained.

Clear PVC – The see-through nature of clear PVC tarps makes them ideal for construction sites where natural lighting is important. They’re ideal for creating a wall to keep out the weather on a front porch, deck, or entryway.

Iron Horse Polyester – This type of tarp is waterproof and much stronger than cotton canvas. It doesn’t have coatings that stain items, which makes it ideal for covering stored cars and trucks. It’s also good for covering decks and patios.

Mesh – Polyethylene, polypropylene, and vinyl-coated mesh tarps offer a wide range of uses. Each one involves allowing air to flow through the material. They block out UV rays, which makes them ideal for sunshades and privacy screens.

Poly – Poly tarps are water resistant and protect from UV rays. They’re all-purpose tarps that are typically used for jobs like covering a wood pile to keep the wood dry or covering a leaking roof until repairs can be made.

Vinyl – Finally, vinyl tarps are waterproof and resist rips and tears. There are vinyl-coated polyester tarps that are best for covering items like power equipment and furniture or creating awnings. The other option is a vinyl-laminated polyester tarp that’s flame retardant and often used for room dividers or welding curtains.

Store It Only When It’s Clean and Fully Dry

After every use, you should clean your tarp and hang it in the sun to dry out. Do not fold it up for storage until it is fully dry. If you don’t, you may encourage mildew and mold to grow. It can also cause degradation that shortens the life of the tarp.

When it’s time to store the tarp, consider putting it in a plastic tub that has a lid. Place it in a dry spot in a garage or storage area. By placing it in a tub, you eliminate the risk of mice chewing on the tarp and leaving holes.

Repair Damage ASAP

If there is damage to the tarp, repair it as quickly as possible. A coat of Canvak on a multi-purpose tarp boosts water resistance and mildew prevention. Vinyl cement and patches of a matching material repair rips and small holes. Torn grommets can be repaired using a grommet repair kit.

Purchase the Right Tarp for the Job

Make sure you pick the right tarp. A tarp’s longevity is influenced by the conditions. If you purchase a mesh tarp and plan to use it as a pool cover during the winter, it’s likely to rip before spring as it’s meant for light-duty use.

Imagine you own a restaurant that has a heated-outdoor tent for your customers. You run heaters on chilly nights. You wouldn’t want a tarp that wasn’t fire resistant. It would be unsafe, and the heat could ruin the tarp you’ve chosen. Instead, a flame retardant vinyl laminated poly tarp used to create a dining tent is the smart choice.

Don’t forget to consider the weather conditions. If you live in a region where winter temperatures frequently dip well below freezing, a laminated vinyl tarp may crack in the bitter cold. Look for materials like vinyl-coated polyester that withstand the cold. Higher elevations or valleys, where wind gusts are common, may require a heavy-duty tarp to avoid damage from the wind.

Don’t Guess and Waste Your Money. Ask a Professional

If you don’t know the best weight or material to purchase, don’t try to guess and wind up with the wrong tarp. Ask a tarp expert. Chicago Canvas & Supply specializes in tarps and tarp accessories. We even offer free fabric samples if you’re still uncertain. Do you need a custom size or help to pick the right tarp for your specific needs? Experts are ready to help. Request a free tarp quote or call for more information.

Best Types Of Drop Cloths For Painting Projects

Drop cloths keep paint splatters off furnishings and floors. Don’t start a painting job without first protecting the items in your home or business. When you shop for drop cloths at Chicago Canvas & Supply, you benefit from a great range of fabrics and colors. Plus, we offer bulk pricing to help you save money. Here’s a closer look at what we offer.

Top Reasons to Consider Butyl Rubber Drop Cloths

Before you even start painting, are you going to be removing wallpaper, sanding putty, installing sheetrock, and using joint compound to create seamless corners? Butyl rubber drop cloths are ideal. They keep the dust and mess from getting all over your room. These drop cloths come in a variety of sizes:

  • 5 by 12 feet
  • 5 by 14 feet
  • 9 by 12 feet
  • 12 by 15 feet

Butyl drop cloths clean up with ease. Wipe the cloth with a damp rag or wash it in cold water and hang it outside to dry. That’s all it takes to return the drop cloth to its original state.

The butyl rubber drop cloths are slip-resistant, which makes them handy for placing under ladders and scaffolding. The gripping surface also helps avoid tracking. There are three layers of the rubber coating to make sure these drop cloths are durable and designed to last for years.

Top Reasons to Consider Canvas Drop Cloths

If you don’t need slip-resistant drop cloths, cotton canvas drop cloths are an affordable alternative. The heavy-duty fabric is machine washable for quick clean up after your painting job. They’re absorbent, so if you do spill, you don’t have to worry about the paint getting through to your flooring.

You have several options when selecting the right drop cloth for your needs. First, the drop cloths come in 8, 10, or 12-ounce fabric weights. You also have a fantastic range of sizes that include:

  • 4 by 12 feet
  • 4 by 15 feet
  • 4 by 20 feet
  • 5 by 15 feet
  • 5 by 20 feet
  • 9 by 12 feet
  • 12 by 15 feet
  • 14 by 16 feet

Canvas drop cloths are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Use them outside to protect shrubs and gardens while painting a deck or house trim. Spread them over your patio while you paint a nearby fence. When you’re done, throw them into your washing machine and dryer.

If you like a splash of color, you can get 10-ounce color canvas drop cloths. The material is 100 percent cotton and absorbs spills to prevent tracking. They’re popular in art studios due to the range of more than 3 dozen colors and a wider selection of cut sizes.

  • 5 by 7 feet
  • 6 by 10 feet
  • 8 by 10 feet
  • 10 by 10 feet
  • 10 by 12 feet
  • 10 by 15 feet
  • 10 by 20 feet
  • 10 by 30 feet
  • 20 by 20 feet
  • 20 by 30 feet

Colors come in just as wide a range. There are multiple shades of green, many reds and pinks, and several blues, browns, and grays.

How Do You Pick Which is Best for Your Needs?

What do you need the drop cloth for? If you’re using it outside, a heavy rubber drop cloth may harm grass and flowers as the rubber heats up in the hot sun. The weight of the rubberized drop cloth can also harm some plants during long painting jobs. That’s why most people prefer cotton canvas drop cloths for outdoor painting jobs.

If you’re painting inside and worry about items like ladders sliding around while you’re many feet above the floor, non-slip drop cloths are safer. If you’re working with clay, stucco, or cement, you won’t want those materials in your drain pipes or washing machine. The ability to wipe up those messes from the butyl finish is a must if you’re doing that type of work before painting.

There’s one more thing to consider. The sizing is estimated. Hems and seams on the final drop cloth may reduce the final measurement by a few inches. For this reason, order a drop cloth that is slightly larger than the area you wish to protect. If your room is 10 feet by 12 feet, a tarp that is 12 feet by 15 feet would definitely cover the entire floor.

Receive free shipping in the contiguous U.S. when you order over $75 in drop cloths. Chicago Canvas & Supply has a large variety of materials, sizes, and weights to make it easy to find the best drop cloths for your needs. Do you have questions? We’re happy to answer them at your convenience through live chat or call us at 1-866-389-2218

Tips For Painting Decorative Backdrops On Duvetyne

When you need a material that blocks out light, duvetyne is perfect. It’s the material you often see in theaters that forms the background at the back of the stage. It’s also the material that forms a stage’s skirting. It’s used as a backdrop in photo studios.

This fabric does block light, but it also cuts reflections. It can hide hands or arms when you’re shooting an advertisement where you want the focus to be on the product and not who is holding it. It is a soft, cotton fabric that’s bought by the yard, but you can get it in full rolls.

Duvetyne is affordable. It’s also flame retardant, which is important when there is lighting equipment nearby. As the fire protection is applied to the material, you need to be careful about getting it wet. That’s one thing to keep in mind when you’re thinking about painting duvetyne.

What if you need to paint it? Look into fabric sprays that add a new coating of fire protection. Test a small area to make sure it doesn’t affect the paint you’re using. Chicago Canvas & Supply has a few tips to help you create gorgeous decorative backgrounds on duvetyne.

What Are the Best Paints to Use on Duvetyne?

Which paint should you use to create your background? Acrylic paints are a popular choice, but you have to consider lighting. Paints fade when exposed to constant bright lighting or sunlight. You need to search for UV/fade resistant paints.

Fabric paints are softer in feel. They’re also easier to apply to fabrics for that reason. If you opt to use acrylic paints, you can mix them with gloss or fabric mediums for easier application and to cut down on reflectiveness.

What Techniques Are Used to Paint Decorative Backdrops?

You have two ways to go when painting backgrounds on fabric. You can paint by hand with brushes, sponges, and rollers, or you can use airbrushing.

Supplies Needed for Hand Painted Backdrops

If you want to paint by hand, have brushes in a wide variety of sizes. A roller is good for priming your duvetyne. Sponges are great for work that needs to be hazy like clouds.

Keep a bucket handy for clean up. Acrylic paints wash in warm soapy water. You should have disposable gloves to keep your hands from getting covered in paint. Damp towels will help with clean-up if any paint splatters in unprotected areas.

Fans set in the room help speed up drying times. You may want to have some floor fans available for this reason.

Try Airbrushing

Airbrushing is handy when you want to paint a large section of fabric. It’s done by creating the overall sketch and breaking it down into a grid and then using that grid as a template for painting the final product on the large portion of duvetyne. The benefit to airbrushing is that you can hang the duvetyne and paint vertically rather than stretching the fabric out on the floor.

If you decide to airbrush, you want to weigh down the bottom of the duvetyne after hanging it. This keeps the fabric stiff while you’re using the airbrush.

Prepare Your Surface First

Before you paint your background, use gesso as your primer. Gesso is typically found in white, but you can get it in black, clear, and a rainbow of colors. It is available in sprays or brush-on forms. It creates a surface that is smooth but has a slightly sandy feel that keeps the paint from absorbing into the canvas material. It also helps stiffen the material, which can be helpful when you’re going to be hanging the background.

As an alternative, you could use interior paint colors for your backdrop. PVA primer is the white primer you use in your home. This is ideal if you’re starting with white duvetyne instead of black.

Make Cleaning Up Easy to Handle

To ensure you keep the flooring from paint spills and splatters, purchase a large heavy-duty canvas drop cloth. When you’re done painting, leave your backdrop to dry while you wash brushes and other equipment used while you painted. Once the paint on the duvetyne is dry, move it and fold up the drop cloth for another use.

At Chicago Canvas & Supply, we offer duvetyne in several colors. Choose black if that’s ideal for your production, but know that you can also pick grey, royal blue, silver, white, or wine. It’s easy to create stunning backdrops when you trust in us to help you find the right size and weight. Need help? Message us through our live chat or call (773) 478-5700 to ask an expert.

Tarps For Construction Projects

Construction projects get messy. Dust is just part of it. Paint, grout, joint compound, and stain often splatter. You don’t want those substances getting onto new flooring. You also don’t want to spend hours having to clean up construction dust and debris.

That’s just one reason you need to have tarps on hand. A sudden cloud burst can interrupt the work day if your power tools are set up outside, but protective tarps can ensure you’re able to keep working. Tarps can temporarily divert roof leaks and keep water from ruining an attic or ceiling. It can keep lumber and building supplies dry and form makeshift tents to protect power equipment.

What Tarp is Best for Your Construction Project

With so many different types of materials, picking the right tarp for your construction projects may seem challenging. It doesn’t have to be. Here’s a breakdown of your options and how they’re helpful in different situations.

Canvas Tarps

Canvas tarps are made of 100% cotton, which allows the material to breathe and avoid a build-up of moisture. An oil and wax treatment helps the material repel water and mildew. They’re best used to keep equipment and building supplies dry. The treated canvases are not ideal for canopies or covering materials that may become stained by the oil and wax.

You can get a canvas tarp in 16 or 18-ounce weights. If you want protection from fire, the 16-ounce fire retardant canvas tarp is best for construction sites where there may be heaters running.

Untreated canvas tarps are best for indoor use or outdoor use when it’s dry. They’re a good choice for covering flooring and counters when painting ceilings and walls. They can also be put up as curtains to keep sawdust contained to a specific area.

Drain Tarps

When you need to keep water away from a work area, a drain tarp is needed. Hang the tarp and use the drain spout in the center of the tarp to direct water away. A drain tarp’s spout connects to a garden hose to allow you to direct the water where you want it. Drain tarps come in vinyl laminated nylon that’s flame retardant or polyethylene, which is best for light use.

Drop Cloths

Use 100% cotton canvas drop cloths to keep paint or joint compound from getting tracked from one room to the next and to prevent spills and drips on floors and counters. They’re also beneficial on construction sites where dust is a problem. You can protect surfaces from the dust. At the end of the day, the drop cloth can go outside to be shaken out. It helps avoid needing ours to sweep and wipe up dust.

Mesh Tarps

Do you need to limit the sun’s rays for your worker’s safety? Mesh tarps solve this problem. The tarps allow air to pass, but they block out the sun to help avoid excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays. You can get mesh tarps in a lightweight polyethylene, CCS polypropylene, or vinyl coated. Vinyl coated add protection from water, so they’re often a favorite in areas where the weather can be unpredictable.

Poly Tarps

Crafted from polyethylene, poly tarps are durable and keep out harmful UV rays during a construction project. They’re also water resistant, so they’re handy at setting up a shelter for power tools. You can also use them to cover damp ground when setting out bags of concrete mix or lumber.

Iron Horse polyester tarps are one of the most durable tarps available. They’re useful in creating shelter from the bright sun. Use them as an awning over a deck as a finishing touch on a new home or set up a shady spot for workers to take breaks.

PVC Tarps

Clear PVC tarp lets the light in without allowing rain and dust in. They can form walls on a porch or patio to create a temporary outdoor workspace during a remodeling project. Construction sites use them to secure an area against the cold wind and rain/snow without decreasing the natural lighting.

A Free Custom Quote Helps You Get the Right Tarp Size

Use tarps for all of your construction projects and save time and hassle. Chicago Canvas & Supply can help you choose the right tarp for whatever your building or renovating. We offer dozens of colors, fabrics, sizes, and weights. If you can’t find the right size, we’re happy to make a custom tarp. Receive a free quote from one of our experts today.

Decorative & Safety Features Of Duvetyne

Duvetyne. What do you know about this popular fabric? Merriam-Webster defines duvetyne as a “velvety” and “smooth” fabric. Its sheen is defined as “lustrous.” Typically, this fabric is a cotton or wool twill that is smooth on one side and velvety on the other. It is commonly used in movies and theater because it does a great job at blocking light.

You’ve probably seen duvetyne when you go to a movie or play. The black fabric surrounding the bottom of a stage is almost always duvetyne. You may have seen the black fabric hanging in the background on some film sets, too. Why is it a popular choice in the entertainment industry? It comes down to the decorative and safety features the material provides.

What Makes Duvetyne Safe?

One of the safety features found in duvetyne is its nature as being fire retardant. The material will burn, but it doesn’t go up in flames as quickly as other materials. It buys a little extra time. As it’s often used to block light and is draped on lamps and lights, this fire retardant property is important.

Duvetyne is typically made from cotton that is tightly woven into a twill material. The tight weave is the reason it’s good at blocking out the light. The tighter the weave, the less chance there is for oxygen to help fuel the fire. That’s part of the reason it is flame retardant. It’s often treated with a fire retardant chemical. Together, this material ends up being known for its fire retardant quality that’s beneficial in areas where bright lights and a lot of lighting and filming equipment is close by.

Duvetyne Blends Decorative Qualities With Practicality in Several Settings

Duvetyne, which is also known as commando cloth when it’s heavier, is frequently used to block out any light on a set or stage. As mentioned, it’s the black fabric skirting surrounding a stage. Duvetyne or commando cloth flags and coverings are also useful in directing light to a specific area.

If you’re shooting a scene around a poker table, a covering of black duvetyne on the overhead light makes sure that light goes directly to the table rather than the table and some of the surrounding area. Duvetyne blocks light, so it’s a helpful addition to lighting when taking professional photographs or shooting an ad, documentary, film, or TV show.

In the past, duvetyne was used to make coats and other articles of clothing. Duvetyne is sometimes used to create the famous red outfit actors wear when portraying Santa in malls and other public areas. Today, the range of colors and weights allow you to use it for decorative items likely brightly-colored room dividers, backgrounds for special events, and backdrops for photo shoots.

Around the home, you’ll find duvetyne is good at dividing up a loft into separate sleeping areas. If you work third shift and need to sleep when it’s sunny outside, use duvetyne for curtains that block out all light.

What Weights Does Duvetyne Come In?

For your theatrical needs, 12 oz duvetyne comes in six colors. Black is popular, but you could also have grey, royal blue, silver, white, and wine. If 12 oz duvetyne isn’t heavy enough, the 16 oz commando cloth is also available. Black is available, but there are other colors in 9′ 10” (blue, burgundy, grey, red, or white) or 4′ 6” (beige, blueberry, cranberry, fire red, forest green, gray, and white) sheets. You can also get commando cloth in custom sizes. The duvetyne we supply is 100% cotton.

There’s one more option if 12 oz or 16 oz duvetyne is not heavy enough. Sound Absorber material is 20 oz and blocks unwanted sounds. It’s double napped and is regularly used on stages where exterior noise is not ideal. Like duvetyne, it is made from 100% cotton and is fire retardant.

When you’re shopping for duvetyne, some of your options come in full rolls and others allow you to purchase it by the yard. Custom orders make it easy to get the right amount for your decorative or theatrical project.

Chicago Canvas & Supply is happy to answer your questions or help you choose the right weight of duvetyne for your needs. Contact us today for a free quote or more information on theater fabrics.

5 Great Ways To Use Tarps & Dropcloths For Spring Cleaning

Seven out of 10 Americans admit they spring clean each year. What are the top reasons for a yearly deep clean? Sixty percent of people admit they do it to really clean their home. After that, decluttering, reducing common allergens, and killing viruses and other germs are the top reasons.

When it comes to spring cleaning, most people think of it as an indoor project. Bathrooms and kitchens get the most attention. Some people also realize that the outside of the home also needs attention. No matter where you’re devoting your attention, make sure you have Chicago Canvas tarps on hand to simplify these common spring cleaning projects.

Cover Furniture and Floors While Repainting the Ceiling

Wood stove, fireplace, or pellet stove soot builds up on ceilings. It may not be noticeable at first, but years down the road, look at your ceiling. Do you see the dingy gray coloring? That’s years of soot building up. Even dirt from outside air can build up on painted surfaces.  Scrubbing it away each year helps, but over time, you’ll need to put a fresh coat of paint on your ceiling. Experts at Home Advisor recommend repainting ceilings at least every 10 years.

When you’re painting a horizontal surface like a ceiling, drips and splatters are inevitable. You can move your furniture to another room, but the floor is still a target for dripping paint. It’s best to cover all surfaces by using a dropcloth. Cover all furniture and flooring with a dropcloth (or a poly tarp, but be sure not to use a tarp with wax or petroleum as it can rub off and damage furniture) before you get started.

Declutter Using a Color-Coded System to Decide What Goes and Stays

Decluttering is an important part of spring cleaning. In a year’s time, it’s surprising what gets collected. You discover you have dozens of books to give away. You have too many coffee mugs or shoes. Your closet is overflowing with clothing you never wear. All of this clutter needs to be organized.

Set four colored poly tarps on your yard (again avoid any tarps or items that may rub off on your items). On one, you’re going to put items that you can donate to a charitable organization like Goodwill. A second tarp is going to hold things you want to keep. The third tarp is for items that need to go into the trash. Finally, a fourth tarp will hold items you could sell online or at a yard sale. If you have others helping you declutter, make sure they know the color-coded system for placing the items.

The poly tarps protect the items from dew on the ground, crawling insects, and dirt or pollen. When the decluttering project is done, only those items that you’re keeping will go back inside the house. Everything else moves to its new destination. Items for the landfill can go into trash bags or into a truck to get hauled away. Donations get delivered to the organization. Yard sale items go into a garage or shed until the sale date.

Let the Sun Kill Mites From Mattresses and Sofas

Microscopic mites are all over your home. They live on dead skin and pet dander. The mattress and sofa are two areas where they live happily. For most people, these tiny insects aren’t a concern. If you have allergies, dust mites can worsen the symptoms.

The UVA and UVB rays of the sun can help kill some of these mites off. Lay down a waterproof tarp on a driveway or yard and move the sofa and mattresses onto the tarp. Sprinkle them with baking soda and let them sit in the sun for a few hours. When they’ve had time in the sun, vacuum them thoroughly before returning them inside. If you have an upholstery steam cleaner, you could use that machine first and let the furnishings dry naturally in the sun.

Spray Off Window Screens

Window screens get dirty throughout the year. Dirt and pollen are only one part of why they can get so filthy. Contaminants in rain and snow also stick to the screening. If you’re close to the road, spraying slush from snowplows and traffics can reach the windows.

You can wash windows, but screens don’t always get the same attention. The easiest thing to do is lay them in the yard or driveway on a tarp. Spray them with a mix of water and white vinegar and spray them off with a hose. When you’ve done one window screen, spray the tarp off and do the next. The tarp will keep dirt from the lawn from spraying back up.

Protect  Plants While Pressure Washing Siding, Decks, and Patios

Pressure wash dirt, algae, mold/mildew, and lichen off your deck, siding, and patio bricks. A bleach solution will help keep remove pesky stains. That bleach will also harm plants, vines, and shrubs, so you need to cover them with water-resistant tarps before you turn on the power washer.

Once you’ve washed all surfaces, let the sun evaporate residual water and cleaner from the siding, decking, or bricks. Once these areas are dry, you can remove the tarps. This makes sure that the chemicals have evaporated before you expose your greenery.

Let Us Help You Choose the Best Tarps For Your Spring Cleaning Projects

Tarps come in many sizes and materials. Some are ideal painter’s dropcloths while others are best for repelling water. It’s important to match the tarp material to your spring cleaning project. This can challenge a novice, but we’re here to help. Talk to a specialist at Chicago Canvas & Supply. We’re happy to assist you in finding the perfect tarp for the job. Call 1-866-389-2218 to learn more.

Can You Put a Tarp Over a Swimming Pool?

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals estimated that there were more than 1.5 million aboveground and inground pools in the United States during 2013. A pool is a long-term investment that provides all ages with exercise, family time, and respite from the heat. To make sure this is an investment that lasts, a pool needs to be maintained and protected. Putting a tarp over a swimming pool is one of the easiest ways to protect your investment.

Three Steps to Pool Care Basics

Once a pool is installed, you need to maintain the water quality. To do this, there are three steps.

#1 – Scoop bugs, leaves, and other items that make their way into the pool during the day. The filter is designed to trap them, but they may not make it to the filter before sinking. It’s unpleasant swimming in a pool where there are dead bugs, leaves, and other matter lying on the ground.

#2 – Check the water quality at least twice a week. The pH is one of the most important components of water quality. If it’s too acidic, it can damage your pool’s walls, floor, and filter system. If it’s too low, the water can become cloudy and scale and mineral deposits will build up. You’ll also check the alkalinity, calcium levels, and the presence of metals like copper and iron. You want water that is free of bacteria. Bromine or chlorine are helpful here. Algaecide keeps algae from growing.

#3 – Depending on your filtration system, you’ll have work to do. Monitor the pressure gauge to ensure it is in the 7 to 10 pound range. If it is outside this base reading, the filter needs attention. If you have a diatomaceous earth or sand filter, you need to backwash the system to clear debris from the filter. If you have cartridge filters, you’ll need to spray the one that’s currently installed to remove particles and soak it in a cleaning solution for 12 hours. You should have two filters to ensure continuous operation of the filtration system.

Keep It Covered When It’s Not in Use

When the pool is not going to be used for a while, usually during the fall and winter, you need to keep it covered. If you don’t, leaves and twigs will fall in and create silt that is not desired. You can buy a pool cover from a pool and spa store, but they can be expensive. Save money covering your pool with a tarp.

There’s a second reason to get a pool cover. In northern climates, it can take time for the warmer spring and summer weather to bring the pool water up to a tolerable temperature. With a black mesh pool cover, it can attract the sun each morning and help heat the water faster. You get more use from your pool. Simple pull it on at the end of the night and remove it before people want to use the pool.

Polypropylene Tarps Make the Best Pool Covers

CCS polypropylene mesh tarps are the best tarp for pool covers. They do an exceptional job blocking sunlight, which is essential for preventing algae growth when chemicals are not being added regularly. Polypropylene tarps are strong, too, so they can withstand the weight of ice and snow that builds up over the winter.

How to Cover the Pool Securely With Your Tarp

To attach the pool cover to the top of your aboveground pool, you need a tie down system for the cover so that it won’t blow loose. The cable gets fed through grommets and secures the tarp below the rim of an aboveground pool’s top rail.  Be sure not to make things too tight as you could rip the grommets right out!

If you have an inground pool, order a polypropylene tarp that’s bigger than your pool. Your inground pool deck should have anchors installed, if not you’ll need to install them every two feet. Be sure to secure it tightly while not applying so much pressure you damage the grommets.

You may want to get an air pillow that floats on the pool water’s surface to prevent the cover from sinking before the pool water freezes. This also helps keep snow and ice from weighing down the cover and putting extra pressure on the pool walls, further extending the life of your tarp.

Get a Quote for a Custom Tarp Pool Cover

Do you need a pool cover in a custom size? Chicago Canvas & Supply has a full range of mesh tarps that allow air and water to pass while keeping leaves and other debris out of your pool water. Receive a custom quote within one business day – contact us today!

How Long Do Different Types of Tarps Last?

A tarp’s lifespan should be a main consideration when choosing the right tarp for your needs. You could be spending hundreds of dollars. For that kind of money, you want years of use. Here’s a general guide that can help answer “how long do canvas tarps last.”

Tarp Materials and Uses

Different tarps have different intended uses and thicknesses. At Chicago Canvas & Supply, we sell provide several types of tarps.

Canvas Tarps

Canvas tarps can be treated or untreated. Treated cotton canvas is a popular choice for people looking to cover cargo, equipment, and supplies found at construction sites and farms. As the cotton canvas is treated with oil and wax, they can stain a car’s finish,which makes them unsuitable for vehicle covers. The oil and wax treatment helps control mildew growth and repels water.

Untreated tarps do not repel water and should not be used outside when it is wet. The natural cotton fiber is durable and can last years, but if a tear starts, it needs to be mended as quickly as possible.

Clear PVC Tarps

Clear PVC tarps are meant to be used as curtains. The sheer material allows for light to get through and people to see through. The material is waterproof and stands up to wind, which makes it a popular choice when covering a door in the winter or extending the use of a covered deck or patio as it gets colder. The 20 mils thickness does help them last a long time.

Iron Horse Polyester Tarps

Iron Horse Polyester tarps are designed to last. They’re waterproof and stronger than canvas. This doesn’t mean that these tarps are indestructible. They can develop rips if you do not properly care for them. With proper care, you will get several years of use from this tarp.

Mesh Tarps

Mesh tarps come in a variety of materials and are designed to be breathable while blocking some of the sun’s UV rays. Vinyl coated color mesh doesn’t block as much sun at 55 percent. Polyethylene mesh tarps are made from polyethylene mesh and block almost 90 percent of the sun’s rays. Polypropylene mesh offers the most protection from the sun with UV protection reaching 95 percent.

These tarps are designed to allow air through while keeping debris contained. They make great pool covers or covers for trucks carrying lightweight items like wood shavings that would otherwise blow away.

Poly Tarps

Poly tarps can be designed for light use or heavy use. Blue poly tarps are the tarps you often see in discount stores. They’re only 4 mils thick and don’t tend to last long if used or maintained incorrectly. Heavy-duty poly tarps are designed to last longer.

Vinyl Tarps

Vinyl tarps are poly tarps that have been coated, laminated, or tempered with vinyl. As they’re designed for industrial use, they are strong and resist tearing. Expect these tarps to last several years in severe conditions like heat, heavy rain or snow, or cold temperatures.

Proper Care and Maintenance Helps Them Last

Do you want to keep your canvas tarp in great condition for as long as possible? Proper care and maintenance are important for a long lifespan. There are three key steps to making your tarp last.

Stick to the Intended Use

Let’s say you want to cover your swimming pool with a tarp. You should never use a canvas tarp. The wax or oil on a treated canvas tarp would get into the pool water. An untreated canvas tarp would develop mildew.

Make sure you’re using the tarp correctly. If you need a furniture cover while you paint, untreated canvas tarps are ideal. If you want a tarp to put down on the lawn before getting a delivery of mulch, a blue poly tarp is perfect.

Fix Damage Immediately

As soon as you notice damage, take time to fix it. Before you store your tarp, look for loose or missing grommets and small rips or tears. If you have to make repairs, we recommend the following products:

Grommet Repair: Replace damaged grommets with the Set-It-Yourself Grommet Kit

Mildew and Water Protection: Add extra protection from mildew and water damage on a canvas tarp by coating it with Canvak

Rips and Tears: HH-66 Vinyl Cement for poly or vinyl tarps or Tear Mender for canvas tarps

Store It Properly

When the tarp is not in use, make sure you have cleaned it off and hung it in the sun to dry completely. You do not want to fold the tarp while it is still damp or dirty.

Fold the tarp with the help of another person. Fold in half and then repeat until the tarp is compact enough to be placed in a plastic tub that has a tight-fitting lid. Why store it in a plastic tub? If you store the tarp in a shed or garage, there is the risk of mice chewing holes in the tarp.

A Smart Purchase Will Last Years

The bottom line is that material, care, and use all impact how long tarps last. Make sure you match the material to the intended use. Keep it in good condition.

Each of the tarps we offer has an option allowing you to see the intended use. Refer to this as a guide on which material to pick. If you have any questions, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply’s live chat help desk for immediate help!

Tips on Choosing a Tarp For Your Truck Bed

According to Consumer Reports, a rigid truck cover, such as a Tonneau cover, ranges in price from a couple hundred dollars for a basic model to well over $1,500 for one that is electric. That’s before installation costs are even added. Sure, they keep items in your truck bed dry and secure, but does the cost add up in terms of resale value? Can you afford the higher cost? And if you have a larger truck like a dump truck or semi, a Tonneau cover isn’t even an option.

A durable, waterproof tarp is a fraction of that estimated price. You also gain some perks that make them more appealing. You get to match the tarp’s material with your environment and needs. If snow and ice are worries, a heavy tarp will not rip under the weight of snow. With different materials and densities, you’ll have the ideal cover.

Benefits to Tarp Truck Bed Covers

Rigid covers have to be installed. You might be able to do it yourself, but some kits are best left to the professionals. Kits may use clamps that could scratch the paint if you’re not careful. Others use adhesive strips and bolts. Removing the cover at a later date may be impossible.

A truck bed tarp is incredibly easy to install. With a tarp and some bungee cords, you’ll have a customized truck bed cover at a huge savings in just a few minutes. When you want to remove it, remove the bungee cords, fold the tarp, and you’re done. There are a few tips to use when choosing the best tarp for your truck bed.

Custom Size Tarps Ensure You Get the Perfect Fit

Tarps come pre-measured or cut to your specifications.  A pre-measured tarp is the finish size. A custom tarp starts with a cut size and then adds extra inches for the finishing work like hems.

Finding an exact match with tarps that are pre-measured is often tricky. You may have to go a size too large and secure the excess before driving away. For this reason, people find custom size tarps for truck beds are ideal. Chicago Canvas & Supply offers free quotes.

When a tarp is made, the material is measured and cut. This is the cut size. Hems are then sewn on each side and grommets are added.  The hemmed edges deduct six to nine inches from the cut size.

A finish size tarp is measured after all of the hem work is completed. It’s the final size of the tarp. And, it’s important to note which measurements you’re using when you’re asking for a custom truck bed tarp.

Take Careful Measurements

To get a precise measurement, take a tape measure and get measurements from the window to the outer edge of the tailgate. Allow a few extra inches on each side to avoid any gaps that would let water into the truck bed. Repeat this going from one side of the bed to the other again measuring from the outer edge.

Once you’ve taken the measurements, do yourself a favor and remeasure it. The popular saying “measure twice, cut once” is important here. You don’t want to make a mistake and end up with a tarp that’s too short or too narrow.

Add Inches for the Overlap and Hem Work

Once you have the truck bed size and the overlap, you can send them for a custom quote. Just make sure you specify those measurements are finish size and not cut size. If you’d rather come up with the cut size, you’re going to take your measurements and add extra inches for the hem.

Consider the Pros and Cons of the Different Materials

Tarps are crafted from many materials, but some materials just do not make great bed covers. You do not want lightweight tarps. You need materials that withstand wind, weather, and stains. These are the materials used to make tarps:

  • Canvas (Treated or Untreated)
  • Clear PVS
  • Iron Horse Polyester
  • Mesh
  • Poly
  • Vinyl

Two of them are good for making tarp truck bed covers. Take a closer look at Iron Horse polyester and vinyl.

Iron Horse Polyester Tarps

These are thick polyester tarps that are twice as strong as a cotton canvas. Key benefits are that the breathable material is waterproof and won’t stain. It also lacks the plastic or chemical odor that some tarps have. If you choose Iron Horse fabric for your truck bed tarp, you have a choice of seven colors. This should be your first choice for a truck bed.

Vinyl Tarps

There are three types of vinyl tarps: vinyl coated, vinyl laminate, and vinyl temper. Vinyl laminate really can’t withstand the wind and weather conditions a truck bed tarp needs to protect against.

That narrows the best options to vinyl coated tarps, which are UV treated to help prevent damage from the sun making them handy when you’re moving furniture. Vinyl temper is commonly used for tents. It resists ripping and tearing and is waterproof.

Visit Chicago Canvas & Supply for a custom quote. They’re free and returned within one business day. You can also order samples of tarp materials if you can’t make up your mind. Visit the website now and find an affordable tarp truck bed cover.