Tarps are helpful to have around to enable you to cover things when you need to protect them from weather or even curious neighbors. Tarps come in a wide range of colors, materials and sizes. Poly, canvas and vinyl are the main materials that different tarps are made out of.

Polyethylene (poly) tarps are probably the most common tarps in use today thanks to their versatility and price. Poly tarps comes in light duty and heavy duty and the names implies what they are used for. A light poly tarp would be good for covering something for a short term, like while painting or a quick rain storm. The heavy duty poly tarps will stand up to much more wear and tear, as the name implies, and can be used in more rugged conditions.

Canvas tarps are made from cotton and the resulting fabric is treated to help make it water resistant. Most people are familiar with a painters canvas tarp that they use to cover objects in the room, although most modern painters just use plastic sheets which are readily available.

Vinyl tarps are the most expensive type of tarp so are generally reserved for things like covering a trucks load. Vinyl tarps are the strongest of the different tarp types. Vinyl tarps can also be made clear for applications where you may need to be able to see through the tarp. Poly tarps can also be made clear but will typically have a heavy rip stop thread running in a grid pattern throughout the tarp.

When you see an ounce rating with a tarp it is referring to the weight of the fabric. The larger the number the heavier, or thicker, the tarp. When looking for a tarp make sure the edges are hemmed to improve the life of the tarp. Also make sure there is an appropriate number of grommets installed, if you will be needing them. Grommets are nice in allowing the tarp to be fastened down by tying it to the object it's covering or back to itself.

There are a large number of temporary building that utilize tarps for covering a frame. There is a large use of waterproof tarps in agriculture to cover harvested crops like hale bales, or covering loads of grain. You will want to select the appropriate size of tarp, make sure it is large enough but an overly large type can be difficult to handle if it's not needed. Although it is better to have the tarp be many feet too big than just a couple inches too small.