There are several objects outdoors that need to be covered: cars, stakes, equipment like lawnmowers, and even boats. When held in place with bungee cords, tarps can protect just about anything. Most manufacturers and distributors carry a combination of polyethylene, canvas, polypropylene, and vinyl. What are the different uses of these?
Polyethylene tarps, also known as poly tarps, are the most commonly used of all these materials. Polyethylene tarps are available in medium and heavy-duty varieties. The difference between them is 8 x 8 and 14 x 14 denier. All polyethylene tarps can be used outdoors for a period of time, and heavy-duty materials can be used outdoors for several months. All products are water and UV-resistant and provide basic breathability to prevent mold and mildew from forming on covered objects.
Polyethylene tarps are also used on trucks to cover cargo that cannot be exposed to water. However, vinyl and polypropylene are used for the same purpose. Polyethylene and vinyl cover loads, such as wood and asphalt, that cannot be exposed to water, while polypropylene, which is essentially a mesh tarp, is better suited for gravel and other materials that are impervious to water and moisture.
Canvas is another common material used for tarps. Although thicker, the canvas can be easily torn, making it of limited use. Canvas tarps can be used outdoors for short periods of time to cover objects such as equipment and stakes. Also, these tarps are great for use as slings. The properties of cotton duck keep the canvas from moving when it's overlaid on the furniture. The canvas then prevents the furniture and other objects from being damaged by the paint.