Many customers find it challenging to select the appropriate tarp. To make an informed decision, it's crucial to first identify the intended use of the tarp. Whether it's for shielding from sunlight and rain, camping purposes, or covering trucks, understanding its purpose is key.

Familiarizing yourself with various characteristics of tarps, such as the material they're made of, durability, thickness, density, and color, can greatly assist you in choosing the tarp that best suits your needs.

Made in the USA Custom Tarps

Determine the primary use of your tarp

The primary use of a tarp (short for tarpaulin) is to provide protection. Tarps are used in a variety of settings for various purposes. Determining the primary purpose of a tarp is crucial.

Covering Vehicles/Equipment

For 100% waterproof, look for materials such as vinyl or poly(polyethylene). Another great alternative is the canvas fabrics such as Polyester canvas which offer great water-resistance and breathability. 

Construction Tarps

These tarps provide materials and structures from weather, to provide a barrier against paint or other materials, and even as a ground cover for safety. Poly tarps are the go-to choice for most constractors. Vinyl on the other hand, will offer better protection and last longer.

Truck Tarps

Trucks and other vehicles use tarps to cover and secure cargo during transportation. Customers look for vinyl coated fabrics or heavy duty vinyl coated mesh materials.

Agriculture Tarps

In agriculture, tarps are used for covering hay or other feedstock, protecting plants from frost, and as ground cover for weed control.

Industrial Tarps

Industrial tarps are heavy-duty, durable covers used in manufacturing and construction settings for protecting equipment, materials, and large-scale projects from environmental elements. Standard Vinyl coated fabrics are the top choice for industrial tarps.

Gym/Boxing Ring Mats

Gym covers, an increasingly popular accessory in fitness environments, serve a multifaceted purpose from gym mats to gym dividers.

Determine the dimensions of your tarp

deconstrction object into shapes

When determining the specific dimensions needed for a custom tarp, it is essential to consider the intended application. For covering objects, measure the length, width, and height of the item to be covered, adding extra length for adequate coverage and securing. Deconstructing your object into simple shapes can also help you determine the overall size needed. Keep in mind we can also make custom fitted covers based on your specs. 

For ground sheets or shelter purposes, consider the size of the area to be covered, allowing extra margin for anchoring. It is also important to account for the pitch or slope if the tarp is used as a shelter, ensuring sufficient height and width for comfortable movement underneath. 

In summary, the dimensions should include the actual size of the area or object to be covered plus additional length and width for secure fastening and adequate protection.

Exact Size (Full Finish) vs Cut Size

In the tarp industry, there is a degree of flexibility when it comes to sizing, as the measurements provided by manufacturers often refer to the tarp's cut size, which is the dimensions before hemming and seaming. 

Cut size means the finished size will be slightly smaller than the advertised dimensions, typically by a few inches to a foot, depending on the tarp size and type. When purchasing a tarp, it is strongly recommended to consider a slightly larger size than your exact requirements to account for this variance. 

Additionally, the flexibility of the material and grommet placements can offer some leeway in how the tarp can be secured and stretched. It's always beneficial to check the manufacturer's specifications for the exact finished size and to understand the potential size variation to ensure the tarp meets your needs effectively.

Keep in mind, Tarp Supply can fabricate Full Finish(exact size) tarps based on your specifications.

Popular Materials

When considering the ideal material for a custom tarp, our preferences lean towards durability and weather resistance. Polyethylene tarps, commonly known as poly tarps, are a top choice due to their waterproof and UV-resistant qualities, making them suitable for a wide range of outdoor applications. For tasks requiring more robust protection, we prefer canvas or vinyl tarps, as they offer exceptional strength and are ideal for heavy-duty use. However, for lighter, everyday purposes where breathability is a concern, mesh tarps are preferable, as they allow air circulation while providing adequate cover. Ultimately, the selection of the tarp material hinges on the specific requirements of the task at hand, balancing factors like durability, weather resistance, and breathability.

Polyethylene Tarps

Polyethylene covers, commonly known as poly tarps, are widely used for their versatility and durability. These covers boast waterproof qualities. They're perfect for everyday tasks such as shielding vehicles, outdoor furnishings, and serving as a camping base. 

Canvas Tarps

Canvas tarps provide a breathable alternative, ideal for situations requiring air circulation. Constructed from cotton or a cotton blend, they ensure protection while allowing airflow, making them perfect for industrial use, outdoor painting, or covering equipment needing ventilation. 

Vinyl Tarps

Vinyl tarps are the robust members of the cover family. Exceptionally strong and resistant to tears, water, and UV rays, they're ideal for demanding or extended use. Commonly employed in construction, trucking, and agriculture, they also excel as pond liners or gym floor protectors, thanks to their heavy duty nature.

Mesh Tarps

Mesh tarps stand out due to their permeable design, making them perfect for situations requiring airflow, such as covering plant-laden trucks or providing breezy shade under canopies. They also serve well as privacy screens in homes.

Insulated Tarps

Insulated tarps, typically used in construction, excel in maintaining consistent temperatures. Essential for processes like concrete curing or protecting materials from extreme temperatures, they are padded with insulating materials like foam to combat cold or heat.

Fire Retardant Tarps

In environments where safety is critical, fire retardant covers are invaluable. Designed to resist ignition and slow down fire spread, they're a staple in industrial settings, campsites, schools, or any place requiring fire-resistant protection for compliance with safety standards.

Clear Tarps

Clear tarps, typically made from transparent polyethylene or vinyl, offer protection while maintaining visibility and light access. They're useful in outdoor settings such as patios, greenhouses, or construction sites, protecting from elements like rain and wind while allowing natural light. 

Waterproof Tarps

Waterproof tarps are essential tools known for their exceptional resistance to water. Made from materials like polyethylene, waterproofed canvas, or PVC, they offer solid protection against rain, snow, and dampness. Used in a variety of settings from camping to construction.

Water Resistant Tarps

Water resistant tarps are versatile, practical, and made from materials like polyethylene and canvas fabrics. Engineered to repel water, they're perfect for outdoor use in camping, roofing, boating, and as protective shields for vehicles and equipment. Their design ensures dryness and protection from moisture.

Color and Appearance

Blue tarps are perhaps the most common, widely used for general outdoor protection due to their water-resistant qualities and cost-effectiveness. White or light color tarps, reflect more sunlight, are chosen for applications requiring cooler conditions underneath, such as during outdoor events. Green tarps blend well with outdoor environments, making them popular in camping and landscaping, while the heavy-duty silver tarps, with their reflective and UV-resistant properties, are ideal for more demanding applications. Brown and camouflage tarps, used for hunting or in natural settings, provide concealment and blend with the environment. The color of a tarp not only defines its use but also enhances its functionality in specific scenarios.

Hardware and Accessories

Tarp grommets play a crucial role in enhancing the functionality and durability of tarps, which are widely used for various protective purposes. These grommets, typically made of metal or durable plastic, are reinforced holes located along the edges of the tarp. They provide anchor points to securely tie down the tarp, ensuring it stays in place even in windy conditions or when bearing weight. The reinforcement around these grommets is essential to prevent tearing or fraying, especially when the tarp is under tension. This reinforcement is often achieved through multiple layers of material or by adding heavy duty webbing in the hems. This not only extends the life of the tarp but also enhances its reliability in heavy-duty applications such as construction, transportation, and outdoor sheltering.

Fabrication Lead Times

Determining the exact delivery date for custom tarp orders is crucial, as it ensures that the tailored product arrives in a timely manner, aligning with the specific needs and schedules of the customer. This is especially important in scenarios where the tarp is intended for time-sensitive applications or events, requiring precise planning and coordination. Without a confirmed delivery date, there could be significant disruptions or delays in projects, leading to potential dissatisfaction and logistical complications. Therefore, establishing and adhering to a set delivery schedule is a key aspect of customer service and operational efficiency in custom tarp manufacturing. Thus, it is important to check with the supplier about the current lead times for custom tarps. 

On average production lead time can range from 3-5 weeks. Longer production times in the USA are affected by seasonality and holidays. In some cases, rush orders are an option 

Final Thoughts

Tarp Supply Inc. offers a comprehensive range of tarps suitable for various purposes, including vehicle and equipment covers, construction, trucking, agriculture, industrial, gym, and custom needs. Understanding the specific use, dimensions, material preferences, color, and attachment requirements is essential when selecting the right tarp. Whether you need a polyethylene, canvas, vinyl, mesh, insulated, fire retardant, waterproof, water-resistant, or clear tarp, Tarp Supply Inc. has options available. 

Additionally, considering factors like delivery time and budget can further tailor the product to your specific needs. Don't compromise on quality and specificity. Visit us at or give us a call at 1-630-953-4700 to find the tarp that's just right for you!

Made in the USA Custom Tarps