For sports purposes, tarpaulin can be used as a field cover or protection against the rain, sun, and other weather conditions. It can also keep off dust, dirt, and debris. If you are looking for one, choosing is not that simple because there are many things you need to consider.
It is prudent to start with tarpaulin materials – mesh, canvas, and polyethylene. Of all the materials, the most popular is polyethylene because of its wide range of colors, sizes, strength, and price. Polyethylene tarpaulins are made of multiple layers. You must know that polyethylene is the same material used in pipes, containers, and cables.
There are many things that you need to consider when evaluating your purchase. Here’s how to choose the best poly tarps for your sports needs:
Check the tarpaulin thickness
The thickness is measured in millimeters. Keep in mind that the larger the number, the thicker the tarpaulin. In most retail or hardware stores, you will find blue tarpaulins, which are about 6 millimeters.
Determine the tarpaulin size
The next thing to do is to determine the size that you need. The tarpaulin sizes will vary from one maker to another. With this, it is important that you inspect the descriptions of the tarpaulin before you purchase. You must be aware that tarps are cut to size and hemmed at the edges. This hem will be used up by some of the original widths thereby leaving the tarp slightly smaller than specified.
Inspect the tarpaulin lamination
You must also inspect the lamination. Most polyethylene tarpaulins are made with mesh fabric laminated between two layers of the polyethylene film. Some heavy-duty tarpaulins add more layer of polyethylene laminated in the center. This will prevent the rays of the sun from penetrating the tarpaulin.
Know the mesh fabric specification
The mesh fabric specification refers to the number of threads per square inch. If you come across an 8×8 mesh count, it would mean that there are at least 8 threads per inch in the vertical and horizontal direction.
Heavy-duty tarps have more mesh fabric specification from 12 to 16 threads per inch. If you want to know the weight of the thread, you should check the denier. Always remember that the larger the denier, the heavier the threads are.
Examine the grommets
Grommets are metal rings that you see lining a small hole, which is usually found at the edge of the tarp. Its function is to accommodate the attachment of ropes or cords to the tarp. The grommet spacing will vary from 18-36 inches depending on the tarpaulin’s grade.
Choose the color
Choosing color is easy especially that polyethylene tarpaulins come in different colors. The most common colors include silver sun blocker, white, clear, black, blue, orange, yellow, red, green and brown.
Understand other features
Other things that you need to consider include UV-treatment, flame retardant, waterproof, mildew, and rot resistant, and sun blocking. You should also know additional reinforcement around the tarpaulin’s perimeter. This will keep the tarp from ripping and tearing. These features will add more cost but it will not be very expensive.