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A few materials are used for tarps, but the most common is polyethylene. Called poly tarps, this material is versatile and can be used in many instances in which short and long-term coverage is needed. Poly tarps come in medium and heavy-duty varieties. In general, the latter is used for long-term outdoor coverage, while the former is used in temporary instances. Both materials, however, are treated to be UV resistant, waterproof, mildew resistant, and rot proof and are equipped with grommets along the edges.

White and silver are the most common colors for heavy-duty tarps, but nearly any color from high-visibility yellow or orange to camouflage and brown is available. Although white and silver have reflective properties, the color of the tarp doesn’t affect the material’s performance. Nevertheless, heavy-duty poly tarps are needed for various long-term uses. Use as a cover is common, particularly for seasonal vehicles like boats and RVs that will be outdoors for several months at a time. The tarp protects the vehicle from UV and moisture exposure and, essentially, extends the vehicle’s lifespan.

Aside from use by itself, a heavy-duty poly tarp is often used in portable garage and carport structures as the canopy portion. The material protects the vehicle inside from UV and moisture damage. Additionally, heavy-duty poly tarps are often used on a larger scale. From protecting a construction site to a baseball field, heavy-duty poly tarps are always needed to keep the ground, a surface, a vehicle, or another investment from becoming damaged.

In some instances, however, medium-duty poly tarps may fit your personal needs better. Designed for temporary protection, medium-duty tarps will shield a vehicle or other investment, such as tools or a large pile of wood, outdoors from UV exposure and moisture. Nevertheless, use as a hurricane tarp is the most common need for this material. When applied to the damaged surface of a roof after a storm, the polyethylene tarp prevents further water damage and mold buildup inside the home. The material, however, can only be used for 90 days, and, after that point, the damaged area needs to be repaired.