Flatbed truck drivers routinely have to repair torn and otherwise damaged tarps. It is part of the job. Here at Mytee Products, we sell both tarp repair kits and individual containers of vinyl cement. We believe it is important that truckers understand the difference between vinyl cement and typical contact cement. While contact cement can be used to make tarp repairs on a short-term basis, it is not recommended for permanent repairs. Suffice it to say that contact and vinyl cement are not the same things.
Contact cement is a kind of adhesive that bonds two surfaces together after they have been coated with the cement. You apply the cement with a brush or roller, give it time to dry according to the specifications on the container, and then press the two surfaces together. The molecules in the cement bond rather quickly and almost permanently.
Differences Between the Two Types of Cement
Your typical contact cement, also known as the contact adhesive, is made either with natural rubber or polychloroprene. Both substances are elastomers that can be used to bond a lot of different surfaces including laminates, rubbers, and even fabrics. At a pinch, they can also be used to bond vinyl as well. However, repairing truck tarps with standard contact cement is not recommended.
The chemicals in vinyl are known to break down the elastomers in typical contact cement. A trucker may repair his or her tarps using contact cement only to find after just a few months that the repairs don’t hold. This is because the cement has been compromised by the chemicals leaching out of the vinyl.
Vinyl cement is a waterproof, solvent-synthetic resin that is unaffected by the chemicals in vinyl. In addition, it is highly resistant to a long list of chemicals found in the manufacturing and industrial environments. When a truck driver repairs his/her tarps with vinyl cement, he/she can be confident that the repairs will likely be permanent.
Vinyl Cement for Strong, Lasting Repairs
It can be hard to find vinyl cement at your local home improvement or hardware store. This is one of the reasons Mytee Products sells one-gallon containers. We know our customers don’t want to be caught on the road with damaged tarps and no means to repair them. And as we mentioned above, drivers should avoid using contact cement to repair tarps.
As explained previously, the chemicals in vinyl breakdown contact cement. But there’s another thing to consider: even when contact cement is fresh, it does not provide the same level of strength you get from vinyl cement. In other words, vinyl cement is so strong that it can be used on tensioned structures including tents, domes, and awnings. It will hold up just fine with truck tarps even at highway speeds. The same cannot always be said about generic contact cement.
As a truck driver, you invest a lot of money in the flatbed truck tarps that keep your cargo safe. You want repairs that are strong and long-lasting so that you are not constantly putting money into new tarps that could just as easily be repaired. For strong, long-lasting repairs, you need vinyl cement.
A tarp that is completely separated into two or more pieces will likely have to be sewn back together along with using vinyl cement. Also bear in mind that attempting to repair a truck tarp without cleaning it first may compromise the integrity of your vinyl cement considerably. When repairing tarps, always follow the instructions on your repair kit or the container of cement.