PVC Tarps

10 uses for PVC tarps

A tarpaulin (tarp) is a heavy duty piece of material which can be used in many different ways.

The name originates from the original material which was a tar-coated canvas. With the advancement of technology, some tarps are made from a robust plastic known as PVC.

These tarps are water-resistant and durable.

Furthermore, they have a high tensile strength, tear strength and abrasion quality.

The tarps are also UV stabilised so that they can withstand the harsh African sun better.


What can you use PVC tarps for?

Tarps are used widely in many industries.

Some of the industries where tarps are used:

  • Transportation: PVC tarps are used cover loads which need to be transported over long distances. They are also used to make tautliner curtains for trucks which protect the goods being transported from adverse weather conditions.
  • Mining: These tarps can be used to cover outdoor materials that need to be protected from the rain, sun and wind. PVC is non-flammable so it is a naturally fire retardant. It is also resistant to a wide array of chemicals including some acids.
  • Sports: Do you have a sports ground which needs to be protected during bad weather? Tarps are a great solution as they can be made to fit any shape of field and they can help keep your field in great condition. PVC tarps are used to make cricket pitch covers.
  • Construction: PVC tarps can be used to cover building materials. In addition, they can be used as drip sheets while painting. Another great use for tarps is to temporarily cover holes in a roof or create barriers between sections of the house while you finish the construction.
  • Agriculture: Tarps are used to create curtains for chicken houses which helps regulate temperature and light. There is also a special tarp which has been used extensively by farmers Africa, Australia and Canada to protect their grain. This type of tarp prevents the grain from getting moulding or caking due to extreme heat which you would experience with a regular PVC tarp. The base cloth of the grain-specific tarp also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The PVC is made with food-grade materials which ensure harmful chemicals won’t go into your crop.


Tarps can also be used commercially.

Some commercial uses for the tarps are:

  • Pool covers: you can cut down on the quantity of chemicals you use in winter by covering your pool with a tarp. This will prevent water loss and your pool will be kept pristine until summer.
  • Marquees: Tarps can be used to create marquee tents. These structures can be used for events like shows, festivals and weddings. Tarps are durable and easy to clean so they will last long. Many shapes and sizes are possible.
  • Stretch tents: Do you have a part of your patio or business that you would like to cover? Why not use a tarp? It is more durable than shade cloth and adds value to your property. Furthermore, the stylish stretch tents look great.
  • Ground sheets: When you camp you can use tarps to cover the base of your tent to prevent the moisture from seeping into your tent.


Contact Tarps for Africa today and get all your tarp requirements fulfilled.


Commonly referred to as medium weight, typically has a min tensile strength of 1500N/5cm and min. tear strength of 300N.
Used extensively for the smaller marquee industry and home use i.e. furniture covers, bakkie tarps, etc.

In between medium weight and heavy duty, typically has a min tensile strength of 1500N/5cm and min. tear strength of 300N.
Used extensively for the smaller marquee industry and home use i.e. furniture covers, bakkie tarps, etc.

Commonly referred to as heavy duty, typically has a min tensile strength of 1350N/5cm and min. tear strength of 300N.
Used extensively for the trucking, farming and large marquee industries.

Commonly referred to as extra heavy duty, typically has a min tensile strength of 2100N/5cm and min. tear strength of 500N.
Used in heavy industry were longevity and hardiness are important, i.e. truck side curtains.

800GSM B/O
Commonly referred to as extra heavy duty, Block Out, typically has a min tensile strength of 2100N/5cm and min. tear strength of 500N.
Has a black layer sandwiched between the outer layers to provide more shade.
Typically used in heavy industry and large marquee industries.


How is PVC made?

The chemical process for making PVC involves taking the monomer, and linking these monomer molecules together in the polymerisation chain. The process formed is called polymers (which are also called macromolecules).
This is the case for PVC, which is made from vinyl chloride monomer through polymerisation. Polymers such as PVC, which are manufactured from monomers through polymerisation, are solid and chemically stable substances, therefore do not affect human health or the environment negatively. VCM, which is the raw material for PVC, is a gas at ambient temperature but is usually stored in liquid form under pressure. Ethylene and chlorine are raw materials for PVC. Upstream industries are those that provide these materials and include producers of basic petrochemicals, which supply ethylene, and chlorine.
By thermal cracking of naphtha or natural gas, the basic petrochemical industry manufactures ethylene and propylene, etc. Naphtha is mainly supplied from the petroleum refinery industry, which uses crude oil as raw material. The chlor-alkali industry produces caustic soda, chlorine and hydrogen via electrolysis using industrial grade salt as main raw material.

At a first stage in the PVC production process ethylene and chlorine are combined to produce an intermediate product called ethylene dichloride; this is then transformed into vinyl chloride, the basic building block of polyvinyl chloride or PVC. The process of `polymerisation’ links together the vinyl chloride molecules to form chains of PVC. The PVC produced in this way is in the form of a white powder. This is not used alone, but blended with other ingredients to give formulations for a wide range of products.

Most commodity plastics have carbon and hydrogen as their main component elements. PVC differs by containing chlorine (around 57 per cent by weight) as well as carbon and hydrogen. The presence of chlorine in the molecule makes PVC particularly versatile because it makes it compatible with a wide range of other materials. The chlorine content also helps to make PVC flame retardant. It can also be used as a `marker’ to distinguish PVC in automatic sorting systems for plastics recycling. PVC formulations can be shaped by a variety of techniques and, using very little energy, made into the final product form. PVC polymer is chemically stable, neutral and non-toxic. PVC formulations have a wide range of applications including the most sensitive, such as medical equipment, plus construction, automotive and electrical cabling.

Fire Retarding Properties

PVC has inherently superior fire retarding properties due to its chlorine content, even in the absence of fire retardants. For example, the ignition temperature of PVC is as high as 455°C, and is a material with less risk for fire incidents since it is not ignited easily.
Furthermore, the heat released in burning is considerably lower with PVC, when compared with those for PE and PP. PVC therefore contributes much less to spreading fire to nearby materials even while burning.

We also offer PVC grades with special fire retardant treatment, to further enhance this property.

Therefore, PVC is very suitable for safety reasons in products close to people’s daily lives, as well as truck trailer tarps.


Under normal conditions of use, the factor most strongly influencing the durability of a material is resistance to oxidation by atmospheric oxygen. PVC, having the molecular structure where the chlorine atom is bound to every other carbon chain, is highly resistant to oxidative reactions, and maintains its performance for a long time, making it perfect for truck trailer tarps.

Other general purpose plastics with structures made up only of carbon and hydrogen are more susceptible to deterioration by oxidation in extended use conditions (such as, for example, through repeated recycling).



* We can manufacture your custom design, please enquire via sales@tarpsforafrica.co.za