Time to Start Thinking about Mesh Tarp Storage

Mesh and shade tarps are great for creating outdoor gathering spaces made comfortable by protecting them from direct sunlight. Perhaps you found your own tarps invaluable this summer. Well, September has arrived. That means it will not be long before cooler weather as you spend more time indoors. It also means that it is time to start thinking about how you are going to store your mesh tarps for the winter.

High-quality mesh or shade tarps from Mytee Products should give you years of reliable service as long as you take care of it. How you store your tarps plays a role in determining how long they last. So its important to make sure you do it right.

Pre-Storage Cleaning

It is always a good idea to clean tarps before storing them away. Surface dirt can stain if it isn’t cleaned off prior to folding, and any mold, mildew, or algae present when you take a shade tarp down will be encouraged to grow over the winter if you don’t eliminate it. In short, you should clean your mesh tarps before storing.

A mild cleaning solution and a soft brush should do the trick. You can lay a tarp flat on the ground or drape it over a laundry line for cleaning purposes. Make sure it is completely dry before you fold it.

Pre-Storage Mending

Although mending is not absolutely necessary before winter storage, it is a good idea to make any necessary repairs while a tarp is easily accessible. You have your tarps spread on the ground or draped across a laundry line, so now is an appropriate time to make those repairs.

Minor repairs can be made with a commercial repair product available from Mytee Products or your local DIY store. Major repairs, like torn seams for example, may require you to break out the needle and thread. Do some online research if you are not sure how repair the damage you are looking at.

Folding Your Tarps

When you’re finally ready to fold your tarps for storage, spread them on the ground or the garage floor. Get someone else to help you fold from corner to corner in a flat, straight line. The more flat and square you can get your tarps folded, the easier they will be to store. They will also be easier to unfold come spring.

Choosing a Storage Location

Where you store your mesh and shade tarps is perhaps the most critical decision of all. First and foremost, you want to make sure they are not exposed to moisture in any way. Moisture is a big problem in the winter months because it expands and contracts with the temperature changes. Any moisture trapped in a tarp could cause damage should it freeze. Moisture can also promote algae growth during the fall and spring.

If you have a protected interior space – whether it be a garage, barn, basement, etc. – this would be an ideal space for storage. Leaving your tarps outdoors exposes them to animals even if they are under some sort of protection from the weather. Remember that critters can get into small spaces fairly easily.

Lastly, never store mesh tarps in any location where they could be exposed to open flame. Keep them away from flammable liquids as well. Tarp material is treated to be flame retardant, but I can still be damaged by the heat of an open flame if the material gets too close.

When storing your tarps for the winter, remember this one thing: if you take care of them, they will provide you with years of reliable service.


Your Choice of Bungee Straps Matter

Our regular customers know that Mytee Products carries heavy-duty bungee straps made with 100% EPDM rubber. They also know that EPDM bungee straps are ideal for flatbed trucking, where straps are expected to withstand a tremendous amount of punishment day in and day out. In light of that, we want to use this post to point out that your choice of bungee straps really does matter. As a truck driver, it would be a good idea to choose a bungee strap that is appropriate for the kind of work do.

 

There are basically three kinds of bungee straps you can buy:

• Natural rubber
• EPDM rubber
• Nylon wrapped rubber.

The first two options were detailed in a Mytee Products blog post a while back. At the time we excluded the Nylon wrapped rubber. We feel it is time to include that third option now that it is more readily available at DIY stores.

Natural vs. EPDM Rubber

When Charles Goodyear first developed vulcanized rubber in the mid-19th century, it revolutionized the way natural rubber would be used for industrial and manufacturing purposes. His vulcanization process led to the development of rubber car tires along with an extensive list of utilitarian items such as hoses, gaskets, and belts. Natural, vulcanized rubber was critical to the war effort in World War II as well.

As a material for bungee cords, natural rubber is strong and fairly resilient. It holds up well in most kinds of weather with the exception of excessive heat. High temperatures and direct sunlight can cause natural rubber to lose some of its elasticity.

EPDM rubber is a synthetic product that was created to make up for the severe shortage of rubber during World War II. It proved to be a better material for a lot of different uses, and it is the predominant form of rubber used today. Most of the bungee straps truckers use are EPDM rubber.

The strength of the EPDM is that it holds up exceptionally well in hot temperatures and under direct sunlight. But unlike natural rubber, it does not do well in extremely cold temperatures. Cold EPDM is prone to getting brittle and breaking or tearing.

Nylon Wrapped Rubber

Nylon wrapped rubber bungee cords are those cords you see being sold in different colors. Some are red, others are blue, and still others are yellow or green. The most important thing you need to know about these bungee cords is that they are not suitable for the trucking industry. They are intended primarily for light-duty use.

Campers and hikers love nylon wrapped rubber because it is very flexible and easy-to-use. It is great for securing a camping tarp or attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack. However, nylon wrapped rubber is not sufficient for holding down truck tarps at speeds approaching 60 mph.

You should also know that nylon wrapped rubber is not nearly as thick and it has a significantly lower tensile strength. Attempting to secure truck tarps with these kinds of bungee cords is asking for trouble. Do not use them for anything other than light-duty applications not involving cargo control.

We Have Bungee Straps and Rope

The good news for Mytee Products customers is that we have all the EPDM bungee straps and rope you need. You don’t have to go anywhere else to keep your truck well-stocked. You can buy bungee straps in packs of 50, with or without crimped hooks. We also carry rubber rope hooks ideal for drivers who want to construct their own bungee ropes when more length is required.


A Few Fall Reminders for Hay Tarps

It is that time of year again when growers are starting to think about winter hay storage. Every year, there is that nagging question of whether to go with tarps or store excess hay in the barn. That is considering a grower even has a barn to work with. Those who do not are forced to rely on hay tarps or temporary storage structures.

The debate over whether to use tarps or not comes largely from the less gleeful stories we hear every spring about crop loss resulting from tarp failure. The first thing to understand is that no storage solution is perfect. The second thing to note is that much of the effectiveness of hay tarps lies in how they are deployed. With that in mind, below are a few fall reminders for those growers intending to tarp their hay this winter.

1. Pay Attention to How You Stack

One of the biggest problems growers face is snow and ice. When a stack is not constructed properly, it allows certain portions of the hay tarp to lay flat and, as a result, collect precipitation. Get enough snow and ice built up and it could be nearly impossible to remove a tarp when hay is needed in early spring. The best way to avoid this problem is to pay attention to how you stack.

Hay stacking should really be done in a-frame or pyramid shape if you are planning to use tarps. Giving the stack a sharp enough incline will make it easier for precipitation to roll off. You still may have to go out to sweep your stacks after an especially persistent snowfall, but clearing an inclined stack is a lot easier than clearing a flat stack. It is a lot safer too.

2. Check Your Tie Downs

Any experienced tarp user will tell you that the key to avoiding most problems is keeping hay tarps tight and secure. Doing so requires that tie downs be checked on a regular basis. Remember that even the slightest bit of wind underneath a tarp can cause big problems in both the short and long terms. Checking once a week should be sufficient. Tie downs should definitely be checked immediately after storms to assess the extent of wind damage.

3. Utilize PVC Pipe

Another common complaint among hay growers is that the grommets built into their tarps fail in severe weather. We suggest a tarp with webbing loops or a built-in sleeve capable of accommodating PVC pipe. Securing tie-downs with PVC pipe results in a much stronger system than tying down with grommets alone. You can still use the grommets along with bungee straps for a little extra strength.

4. Inspect Tarps during the Fall

Last but not least is the reminder to check all your hay tarps in the fall. Do not wait until you start stacking hay to find out that one or more of your tarps is ripped or torn. Now is the time to address any damage while you’re not under pressure to get that hay cut and stacked.

Minor damage can be repaired with one of our tarp repair kits. Major damage, like torn seams for example, may require a more heavy-duty solution. You can obviously browse our selection of farming supplies should any of your tarps need complete replacement.

Fall is harvest time in North America. In just a few months, the snow will be flying and the temperatures falling. If you plan to store hay this winter, make sure you are fully prepared with everything you need. Mytee Products carries high-quality hay tarps, spiral anchor pins, and temporary storage structures.


3 Reasons Tool Boxes Are Diamond Plated

You have probably noticed that most tool boxes manufactured for flatbed trucks are diamond plated in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes just the top is plated while other times doors and sides are plated too. Have you ever wondered why? There are three very good reasons for diamond plating.

For the record, diamond plating is not exclusive to truck trailer tool boxes or aluminum panels. Diamond plating’s raised lines pattern can be applied to aluminum, steel, or stainless steel using a hot rolling procedure. You can build anything with plated panels that you might otherwise build with non-plated panels.

Non-Slip, Non-Skid Surface

Diamond plated metals were originally developed to provide a non-slip, non-skid surface for industrial uses. The most common applications for the metal plates were walkways, cat walks, ramps, and staircases. Diamond plating worked so well that manufacturers started applying it to fire trucks, ambulances, and cargo trailers.

Today it is normal to see diamond plated surfaces on emergency vehicles. It is used in the construction of truck tool boxes with the understanding that truck drivers often have to stand on their boxes when securing cargo, storing straps and tarps, and washing the cab. It is nice to have that non-slip, non-skid surface under your feet.

Extra Grip in Weather

There are times when metal surfaces have to be handled in inclement weather. For a truck driver, that might mean moving a tool box from one location to another. It could mean the simple act of opening or closing a tool box door in a driving rain or while wearing gloves. That extra bit of grip helps either way.

A diamond plated surface can make it easier to install tool boxes as well. The extra grip makes it easier to hold a box in place while it is being secured to mounting brackets.

It Just Looks Good

We have to be honest and say that diamond plated aluminum is not just a utilitarian product. There are manufacturers who use it on truck tool boxes and running boards simply because it looks good. The raised texture adds a bit of style and character whereas smooth surface metals tend to fade away without being noticed.

Truck drivers who compete with show vehicles put a lot of effort into metal surfaces. As you may have noticed, they are not shy about using diamond plated chrome and aluminum either. Of course, making diamond plated metal truly eye-catching requires keeping it clean and polished. Fortunately, doing so isn’t that hard.

A truck driver only needs a quality cleaning solution, a piece of scrap carpet, and a little elbow grease to keep diamond plated metal looking its best. Cleaning only takes a few minutes if it is done regularly. Clean aluminum also protects itself through oxidation, by the way, so keeping aluminum tool boxes cleaned and polished adds to longer life.

We Have Your Aluminum Tool Boxes

As a flatbed truck driver, you know how important aluminum tool boxes are to your daily routine. You would be lost without them. You use your boxes for everything from tarp storage to carrying the hand tools you need to keep your truck on the road. Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to carry a selection of tool boxes suitable for most rig set-ups.

Our inventory currently includes six different tool boxes for both tractors and trailers. Each box is made with heavy-duty aluminum and solid welded seams to keep cargo clean and dry year after year. We also carry the mounting brackets you’ll need to affix your boxes to your rig.


Privacy Screens and Snow – Is It a Good Idea?

With fall a few weeks away, temperatures will begin to drop sooner than we realize. The end of summer is a good time to revisit & assess methods to safeguard property during the colder months of the year. Blowing and drifting snow can be a real problem during the winter months. Snowdrifts block driveways, hamper work on construction sites, make driving unsafe, and create many problems in parking lots. Preventing drifts and other accumulations of snow is, therefore, a high priority in many parts of the country. We have been asked whether our privacy screen mesh will work as a snow barrier. The answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

A privacy screen mesh is primarily intended to be a visual obstruction. For example, a construction company may not want the general public to see what is being built until the final stages of the project. A homeowner may want a certain amount of privacy around his/her property until such time as trees and shrubbery can be planted.

As a snow barrier, a privacy screen mesh would work to some degree. However, it might not be ideal when there is heavy snowfall. Allow us to explain the rationale behind it.

Blowing and Drifting Snow

The biggest problem with snow is the blowing and drifting. Wind picks up snow and carries it great distances, dropping it seemingly indiscriminately in locations where it is most inconvenient. Nevertheless, how, and why, does this happen?

Winds high enough to blow snow must also be relatively close to the ground in order to be problematic. The blowing snow remains airborne only as long as wind speed remains consistent. If wind speeds slow down, even momentarily, the snow loses its momentum and falls to the ground. This is what creates snowdrifts. This natural law of physics is behind the design of the orange and yellow snow fences you can buy at the DIY store.

If you have seen one of these snow fences, you know that they do not look as if they would be very effective because the gaps between individual ‘links’ are so great. Nonetheless, those gaps are the secret to the success of the snow fence. They allow the wind to keep blowing through, yet they slow it down just enough to cause the snow to lose its momentum and fall to the ground. Anyone who has used a snow fence knows that a drift will form a few feet in front of the fence while the area on the other side remains clear of snow.

Privacy Screen Vs a Snow Fence

Privacy screen mesh is obviously a much denser product. It will not slow down the wind as much as stop it in its tracks. Therefore, as a snow barrier, there are a couple of things to consider. First is the wind speed. If the wind is strong enough to cause blowing and drifting snow, will it be strong enough to damage privacy screen mesh? Perhaps. That is why a privacy screen product is installed using heavy-duty metal posts spaced appropriately. A snow fence, on the other hand, can be supported by just a few wooden strips placed every 8 to 10 feet.

The other thing to consider is where the wind will go once it hits the privacy screen. Some of it will go through, or up and over the screen, while the rest will travel down the fence line until it finds an escape route. This will likely result in the majority of the snow piling up in a single location. Interestingly enough, you will see the snow pile up on both sides of the fence line as well.

It should be clear by now as to which situations are better to utilize a privacy screen mesh when it’s snowing. In a pinch however, it can be useful to some degree.