Poly Vs. Canvas Tarpaulins

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Tarps are among the easiest and most versatile materials to use, whether you're looking to cover something up to protect it from the rain or create a tent for an outdoor event.

Canvas: The Original Tarp

  • Originally, all tarps were made of canvas. Today, painters and tile workers use canvas tarps most often. A canvas tarp also serves as a car cover. You can buy a canvas tarp with chemical treatment to make it mildew resistant, waterproof and flame resistant. This tarp is heavy-duty but still light and flexible.

Poly: The All-Purpose Tarp

  • Poly tarps are tarps made from a nylon and polyethylene thread with a polyethylene resin coat. These tarps are waterproof and very strong. Like the canvas tarp, it is possible to get specialized coatings to reinforce the strength and usability, like a UV protection coat. Poly tarps are also treated to be mildew and rot resistant.

Compare and Contrast

  • Poly tarps are more inexpensive than canvas tarps, which is one reason people use them more often. Canvas tarps are much more durable than poly tarps. For sun and UV resistance, both poly and canvas tarps will be very good. Poly tarps are naturally water resistant, and most canvas tarps are as well. If not, they can be treated to be water resistant. Canvas tarps are treated to be flame resistant, but unless a poly tarp is specifically treated, it will burn.

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  • Photo Credit painter's supplies image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com
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