How to Choose PVC tarpaulins?

In addition to selecting a suitable color and size, note whether the tarpaulin is graded light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty. Technical specifications of the tarp may include:

  • Weight: Often noted in grams per square meter.
  • Thickness: Noted in millimeters.
  • Denier: A unit of weight for the yarn filament, equal to the weight in grams of 9000 meters of the yarn.
  • Weave count: How densely the polyester yarns are woven together per square inch.

Thickness, denier, and weave count are not so important when considered independently. The most important metric is weight since the combination of thickness, denier, and weave count will yield a certain weight. The heavier the tarpaulin, the more heavy-duty it is.

Important: Weight is a good metric of durability when choosing between different tarps of the same brand, but be careful when choosing between Brand A and Brand B. Don’t just look at weight and choose the cheapest brand. Some manufacturers use a high percentage of fillers to cut costs, and this will yield a poor-quality tarpaulin even though it may be heavy. This is why it’s important to go with a trusted manufacturer.

Note also whether the tarpaulin is UV resistant (UV stabilized), as most PVC tarpaulins are. If the tarpaulin is not UV resistant, it may degrade within a few months of continued exposure to sunlight. If the tarpaulin will be used at a construction site or close to a flame, you should also buy a flame retardant (FR) tarp. However, FR tarps are not fireproof. They will melt if continuously exposed to flame, but will not fuel the fire and facilitate combustion. FR tarps would stop burning after the source of the flame has been removed, whereas non-FR tarps could continue to burn after the flame has been removed.