How to Reproof Canvas Tarps

Canvas truck tarps are used by flatbed truck drivers when vinyl tarps are not an appropriate form of protection for the transported cargo. When it comes to keeping cargo dry with canvas, there are a couple of things you need to know. We will discuss those things in this blog post along with suggestions for addressing canvas tarps when they leak.

To start with, poly or vinyl tarps should be considered over canvas if the number one priority is to protect cargo from moisture. Both poly and vinyl are waterproof materials. If you do need to use canvas, bear in mind that there are two different material categories: natural and synthetic. The material of choice will affect waterproofing.

Natural vs. Synthetic Materials

Canvas tarps made with natural materials like cotton are water-resistant without the need for extra treatments. Take cotton, for example. Cotton fibers swell when they come in contact with moisture. This property, combined with the tight weave that defines canvas material, provides adequate moisture protection.

Tarps made with synthetic materials such as polyester do not have that same benefit. Therefore, manufacturers apply a thin coating of wax to the material in order to create the moisture barrier. Wax coating can begin to wear out over time. Three years is about average before a canvas tarp wears enough to start leaking. Provided a leaking tarp is still in good condition, there is no need to discard it. A new layer of wax can be applied.

Reproofing Canvas Tarps

Applying a new layer of wax to canvas is known as reproofing. It is fairly common among experienced flatbed truckers, farmers, and boaters looking to get the longest possible life out of their tarps. Thankfully, the process is also relatively easy.

Owners can purchase commercial grade reproofing materials or make their own. A commercially available material will come as either a liquid or solid product. You have the same options if you choose to make your own. Though we will not offer any DIY recipes here, they are abundant across the internet.

To reproof with a solid product, you simply rub the product into the canvas just as though you were coloring it with large, wax crayon. It helps to get the coat as even as possible across the entire tarp. Once completely coated, the tarp is suspended on a line or a set of four polls. A heat gun is used to gently heat the material to set the wax. This heating will also even out the new layer of wax.

A liquid reproofing material can be applied with either a brush or roller. The main disadvantage of using a liquid is that you have to stretch the tarp out on a flat surface while you apply the material. The tarp must remain flat and stretched out until the material dries. At that point, the same heating process described previously is employed to properly set the new wax layer.

Extend the Life of Your Tarps

You can extend the life of your canvas tarps by learning a simple reproofing process. If you have never done it before, ask your fellow truck drivers. You can also find online tutorials that include step-by-step instructions along with videos. Whatever method you choose, always be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your tarps before reproofing.

Mytee Products is happy to sell both green and tan canvas tarps. We invite you to browse our entire inventory of tarps intended especially for truck drivers. If we do not carry the size you are after, please contact us by e-mail or via our toll-free telephone number, and we’ll see if we can source it for you.

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