Waterproof tarps, also known as tarpaulins, are sheets of flexible material used to cover or protect objects from water. They are often used when inexpensive water resistant material is needed, such as to cover a pool or hot tub. In military slang, tarps are sometimes known as "hootchies." This term derived from the Japanese word "uchi," meaning house.
The word tarpaulin was derived from the words "tar" and "palling." These two words were used to describe a tar-covered canvas pall used to protect cargo on ships. Soon the word "tarp" emerged and is now used almost exclusively to describe the waterproof sheets.
Waterproof tarps have many different uses, such as ground cover for camping, or to protect supplies from the weather. They can even be used as a makeshift shelter if necessary. Painters use waterproof tarps to protect flooring while they work. They can be used to protect a variety of outdoor objects such as boats, RV's, bicycles, barbecue grills or even firewood. Waterproof tarps are commonly used by construction workers, landscapers and outdoor market sellers.
Waterproof tarps are made of material such as canvas or polyester coated with latex or PVC. Tarps often have grommets along their sides for attachment of ropes or ties. These grommets can be made of aluminum, stainless steel, steel, brass or high-strength polymer. Many modern waterproof tarps are covered with a UV protective coating to prevent damage from sunlight.
There are several types of waterproof tarps available. Polytarps, or polyethylene tarpaulins, are the most extensively used. These tarps are used for waterproofing, outdoor coverings, trucking and insulation. Perforated PVC tarps are used in windy areas such as scaffolding at construction areas. They are perforated to reduce vulnerability to the wind. Canvas tarps are made of woven natural and synthetic fibers. They are widely used as awnings and other outdoor coverings.
Waterproof tarps typically come in ready-made sizes or rolls. Ready-made tarps vary but are usually available in sizes from 6 feet to 60 feet. Polytarps are measured by two different sizes--the cut size and the finished size. Shrinkage occurs during the manufacturing and the finished size may be up to 6 inches smaller than the cut size. Roll sizes of waterproof tarps also vary and can generally be customized for the buyer. However, 200 meters is a standard length.
In addition to protecting from rain, waterproof tarps have many other benefits. They are strong and resistant to tears, giving them a long life without the need for replacement. They are extremely flexible and easy to maneuver. They resist mildew and have the ability to function in extreme weather conditions.