A Guide to Tarpaulins

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At QVSonlineUK we supply a vast range of tarpaulins - also known as tarps, waterproof covers and groundsheets - and this is a short guide to advise on best practice in relation to securing and protecting a tarp against the elements, to help you get the most from your tarp and to maximize its longevity as much as possible..

In our eBay Shop you will find tarps made of polypropylene, PVC or traditional cotton canvas.

As an immediate guide to the duty of each tarp, you need to find the GSM stated in the advert. GSM is the approx weight guide and stands for grams per square metre. As a basic rule, the higher the gsm, the more durable and heavy duty the tarp. For example, an economy tarp will be around 80gsm and these are typically used for temporary covers where the stress on the tarp is going to be minimal and short term. The gsm of the tarps increase through the ranges available right up to 540gsm Canvas Tarps and 560gsm PVC Tarps, for ultimate protection against the elements.

As tarps are put to so many different uses and subject to different types of weather conditions, suppliers cannot predict a lifetime for any specific tarp. There is however some golden rules that will definitely help you increase the longevity of your tarp, these are as follows:

1.    When covering with a tarp ensure the tarp it is well supported - the larger the tarp the more support it requires - do not hang a tarp by just its eyelets, as the eyelets could be pulled out and the tarp may rip at the edges as it may become stressed under its own weight and force of gravity.


2.    Always ensure the tarp is positioned is such a way to allow water to run off. If water is allowed to collect in the tarp then this will increase the stress on the eyelets but also the heat sealed seams and could cause the seams to split and allow water through.


3.    If tying a tarp to a fixture then in most cases it is best done with bungee shock cord rather than rope, as the bungee cord has more give than rope under pressure from quick bursts of wind and this will help reduce the stress on the eyelets under these conditions. For larger tarps it is advisable to use rope over the top of the tarp to help prevent the wind lifting it and overstressing the tarp.


4. All of our tarps will have eyelets on all sides at approx 1 metre intervals and some tarps at half metre spacing's. Should you need to add additional eyelets to provide more fixing points then this can easily be done using a tarpaulin eyelet kit . The kit provides 30 complete eyelets and all the tools required (with the exception of a hammer) to make the ideal size hole and to fix the eyelets in place.


5.   If attaching a tarp to fixing pegs (normally by bungee shock cord or ball bungees ) be sure to use the most appropriate fixing peg, providing the best anchorage, to ensure none of the pegs are pulled out of the ground by wind gusts, which will loosen overall anchorage of the tarp and possible cause wind/weather damage to the tarp and the item it is protecting.


6.   Should you be unfortunate to experience a rip in the tarp at any time, then it is advisable to repair the damage immediately with a good quality waterproof tape on polypropylene and PVC tarps (canvas tarps will require a canvas patch as tape generally does not adhere for long to canvas). The sooner the problem is fixed the less likely the rip will be extended.

If you require any further advice regarding tarpaulins then please contact us on Tel: 01580 754484.

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