Poly tarps are the shortened form of “Polyethylene Tarpaulins”, the word tarpaulin comes from “tar” and “pall”, meaning sheets for covering ships. So they are universal covers that can be used on almost everything and are useful for industries element, equipment protection, and so many more.

This guide to poly tarps will show you every detail you ever wanted to know about tarps.

What are poly tarps?

The poly tarp or PE tarpaulin is made from polyethylene fabric which is a kind of plastic. Most poly tarp fabrics are cross woven reinforced and coated which can be used to protect various elements from all kinds of weather conditions due to their flexible, rip-resistant, waterproof, or UV reflect features.

ROC tarp is made from 3-ply woven reinforced polyethylene material. The middle layer is a cross-woven poly tape mesh. Then the high-density polyethylene films are on both sides of the middle layer to form the poly tarps sheet or roll. We can manufacture a wide range of colors, weights, and thicknesses of tarps.

Types of poly tarps

Poly tarps can be divided into different types on the basis of thickness, weight, and purpose. On the basis of thickness, weight, and used applications, the tarps are of the following types:

Heavy-duty poly tarps

Heavy duty poly tarps are typically made using high-density polyethylene (PE) material, which makes them strong, durable and water-resistant. Heavy-duty tarps are widely used for many commercial, industrial, and agricultural to protect materials, supplies, equipment, vehicles, freight, structures, people, and areas from the elements, debris, unwanted people, pests, and other hazards. ROC Tarp has a wide variety of heavy-duty poly tarps with different colors, weights, fabrics, and standard or customized sizes to match your specific dimensional and spacing requirements for materials, equipment, and structures perfect for warehousing, manufacturing, trucking, construction, and landscaping. These tarps can also be used for agricultural, farming, gardening, and disaster recovery uses.

Waterproof poly tarps

Waterproof is the most valuable feature of poly tarp sheets or covers because waterproof poly tarps are made from high-quality plastic poly fabrics in various thicknesses, weights, and colors in popular standard sizes and custom options to meet your waterproof requirements.

ROC Tarp provides a wide selection of waterproof poly tarps with different colors, thicknesses, weights, and fabrics perfect for outdoor and indoor applications. Waterproof covers are great for trucking, agriculture, material storage, and equipment covers when guarding against the damaging effects of water and other hazards.

Uses for Poly Tarps

Poly tarps can be used for so many different purposes, and you’ll find they are used in a lot of ways. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you use PE tarpaulins. Here are a few of them.

1. Ground cover

This is the basic use for the poly tarp, it is important for you to cover the ground for protection from a tactile and slippery surface between you and the dirt below. Plus giving a safe, clean space to place down items or allow people to walk.

2. Emergency Shelter

The poly tarp is the material of emergency shelter, our tarps can be used to make an easy shelter on the ground without even needing trees to hang it off of.

3. Protecting a Damaged Roof

Our poly tarps featured waterproof resistance. They can cover your house roof to secure your roof tight seal, and prevent water from getting in and causing further, wildly expensive damages from occurring.

4. Tent Flooring

Our heavy-duty poly tarp could be your tent floor, while you are on your first trip with your tent. You can lay on the tarp floor not the dirt and keep the bugs out during the middle of the night.

5. Greenhouse Coverings

Clear poly tarps can be built in greenhouses, for they are breathable and waterproof with good light transmission, which gives a great environment for your plant life to grow.

It is very cost-effective compared to glass panes.

6. Truck Cover

Heavy-duty poly tarps have ultra strong to handle tough abrasions, and have natural waterproof resistance, they can be used in trucks to protect the cargo from damage.

How are poly tarps made?

Poly tarps are made from plastic polyethylene material. The high-density polyethylene is produced (HPDE) into pellets through a low-pressure process. Polyethylene pellets are melted, then extruders create fibers that are then pulled into long threads. Those polyester threads are woven together on large looms to weave the plastic fabric. The woven plastic material is laminated on both sides for durability and rolled onto spools.

After getting high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fibers, They are woven and coated. The rolls are cut to size, edges strengthened with rope and fastened. the materials are joined using seams. All edges are hemmed with heavy-duty hems and grommets are added as the final step. Individual tarps are then packaged for delivery to the customers.

How to select the right poly tarps

Tarps come in a range of colors, sizes, weights, and thicknesses. So pay attention to the specifications.

Weight: Our poly tarps are graded and measured in GSM (Grams per Square Metre), which relates to the weight and thickness of the material a tarpaulin is woven and fabricated. The higher the GSM rating, the thicker and heavier the tarpaulin is, and the more durable it can be expected to be.

In terms of GSM poly tarpaulin in our supply, our regular tarps are from 70gsm up to 300gsm. We also have available non-standard tarps under 60gsm and up to 360gsm. The average lifespan of our poly tarps is between 1 to 3 years. However, we can’t guarantee our PE tarpaulins’ lifespan for there are a huge variety of applications and different weather and geographical conditions, for example, you may use our poly tarps for your roofing house with long-lasting or covering your boats, or vehicles in rainy all year round environments, or as temporary roof covers protecting from your industrial equipment under the same conditions, etc. These different uses will have a huge impact on the tarpaulins’ durability. We suggest you always use our heavy-duty poly tarps for your jobs. Please visit our post: Beginner’s Guide on Tarpaulin GSM – All the Basics Explained.

Thickness: The thickness is indicated in millimeters varying from 0.1 to 0.5 mm. The thicker the tarpaulin, the more strength. Use thicker tarps in your heavy-duty applications.

Size: If you going to be using a tarp to cover or shelter, or a flat-topped object. In that case, you just need to measure the two-dimensional object (length x width) to be covered.

But usually, you need a tarp to cover a three-dimensional object, for example, woodpiles, vehicles, haystacks and so much more. Therefore, you need to measure all dimensions not only the length and width of the object but also consider the height of the tarp from the top to drape over the object.

Color: The tarps come in a wide range of colors to suit your needs. You can customize your own color as your like.

But there’s still a US color scheme for the North American market, which isn’t set in stone, that you should know about whenever you go to buy tarps. As we mentioned before, the color of a tarp can affect its ability to retain or deflect heat, but the color system isn’t used for that; it’s used to measure grade.

Blue: These can be as thin as 0.13mm up to 0.15mm, which is less than 0.007 inches. Blue tarps are light duty and can be used to cover a floor, as a temporary rain tarp (if it’s made of the right materials), and provide simple protection.

Yellow: These are often 0.18mm up to 0.20mm, or about 0.008 inches thick. Yellow tarps are almost always associated with light duty, but can be medium duty since there is a thickness difference between them and blue.

Green: This medium duty tarp is anywhere from 0.23mm to 0.25mm, or up to 0.010 inches thick. Green is officially out of the category of light duty, and offers greater resistance against abrasions. These aren’t all too much heavier than blue or yellow tarps.

Silver: Silver is always heavy duty. It ranged from 0.28mm up to 0.30mm, which equates to about 0.012 inches thick. These are just a slight step below brown tarps, and can be used for commercial purposes, as well as heavy duty demo and reconstruction plus roof tarping.

Brown: The heaviest of the heavy duty, brown tarps are about 0.41mm thick, or 0.016 inches. These are about 25% thicker than silver, making them super heavy duty or ultra heavy duty, depending on where you look for them. These are used on the tops of dump trucks to transport coal, rocks, and dirt. Brown tarps are the heaviest defenders of items and buildings against rain and wind.

The thing is, this is just a proposed system that some manufacturers stick to. It’s not put into place by law; it just became a normal thing for bulk-buy tarp purchasers, so it made this universal system easy to understand and utilize for every tarp brand out there.

Contractors could buy tarps and stick to the color without having to worry about specifics, cutting down their time during the buying process so they could focus on the task at hand.

While each of these tarps have different grades and intended uses, you can use a brown tarp for a canopy, or a blue tarp to cover the floor while you’re painting.

Use your judgment based on the thickness and durability of the tarp, including its materials, and deliberate on your own. For heavy duty work, you should use a tarp that’s rated for it for safety purposes, of course.


We hope after all of this, you have a clear perspective on PE tarpaulins, from materials, uses, types, and more. If you’re interested in getting high-quality poly tarps or custom tarpaulins, contact our poly tarps sales, and we are glad to help you.v

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ROC Tarps, is a professional all types of tarpaulins manufacturer in China. Feel free to contact us. We’re happy to provide you the best service and tarps.

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