Increase the Lifespan of Your Tarp
Tarps have varied life spans depending on their material type. Poly tarps, for example, are viewed as disposable and can be purchased in most places for just a few bucks. On the other hand, industrial, heavy-duty tarps require some investment and are made to last. With proper tarp repair and maintenance, they can last up to several years.
The maintenance of your tarp will also depend on its type:
- Canvas: This material naturally has a long service life, due to its strong, natural fiber. However, if any tears do develop, they will most likely spread and therefore must be repaired as soon as possible. Be careful about long-term exposure to water—if your tarp is not pitched properly and consistently wet, it will develop mold and mildew. Use a premium finish coating for canvas, since this material is more expensive than poly tarps. Also look for a coating that works to inhibit mildew growth and has protection against UV rays.
- Vinyl: Vinyl is even stronger than canvas, and is commonly used as truck tarps. These types of tarps have great built-in UV protection, so they won’t need any additional coating. However, laminated vinyl is prone to cracking if used in outdoor environments that are below freezing in temperature. For outdoor coverage, vinyl coated polyester is the better option. If tears occur, they can be easily fixed with vinyl cement and spare vinyl fabric.
- Iron Horse Polyester: This type of polyester tarp is thick, breathable, and more durable than other polyester materials. It’s twice as strong as cotton canvas, plus it’s completely waterproof. This material works best for truck and boat covers, awnings, canopies and outdoor furniture and shade structures. Keep the material clean by using warm, soapy water, and ensure it’s dry afterwards. To avoid tears, store inside when not in use.
If damage does occur, here are a few tools you can use for tarp repair:
- Canvak: Canvak is an easy-to-apply water resistant canvas preservative. One coat of this preservative will provide a water and mildew resistant layer of protection to your tarp. It’s best suited for industrial, multi-purpose tarps.
- HH-66 Vinyl Cement: This is a super-strong, flexible bond for vinyl-coated and laminated fabrics. It’s also waterproof and resistant to temperature, making it ideal for weather extremes.
- Grommet Repair Kit: This kit has everything you need to repair or add grommets to your tarp, including extra grommets, hole-cutter and mandrel. It works on canvas, nylon, mesh and plastic.
- Tear Mender: This is a waterproof cement to mend fabric. The best part about this product is that it works instantly.
All in all, proper maintenance of your tarp will protect your investment. As a rule of thumb, store your tarp when it’s not being used. Before storing, wipe it down, and only put it away when it’s clean and dry. Store it in a secure, dry place, away from outside elements, and you will surely increase the lifespan of your tarp.