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Flatbed Truck Tarps 101 : All You Need To Know

Flatbed truck tarps come in a wide variety of materials, sizes and even functionality. There is also no one-size fits all solution for these products. All this factors can make it extremely challenging for the uninitiated to effectively determine just what kind of tarp is ideal for their exact needs and preferences. To this end, this article has been specifically designed to briefly elaborate on some of the most common varieties of these items, and what use they are generally put through.

Lumber Tarps

These products are primarily used to protect lumber from exposure to the elements as well as been in contact with the flatbed truck’s exterior components. Despite of this fact, this type of tarps can also be used for safely transporting other kinds of cargo. Lumber tarps come with flaps at their ends that are meant to cover the nether regions of a flatbed truck’s load. These products generally come In the following sizes:
·16X27
·20X27
·24X27

flatbed-tarps

Smoke Tarps

These category of tarps are designed to effectually wrap around the front area of flatbed load. In essence, they are meant to protect cargo from accumulating soot, dirt and more importantly, the truck’s exhaust emissions while it is in transit. Smoke tarps can also be utilized to prevent the wind from generating the unnerving whistling sound that emanates from transporting cargos such as PVC and steel pipes. These tarps for the most part come with 10X12 dimensions.

Steel Tarps

This variety of tarps features a 4-sided severe steel construction that is totally devoid of flaps. This unique configuration makes steel tarps excellent for transporting:
· Cables.
· Steel rod
· Sheet metal.

Steel tarps come in the following sizes:
· 16X27
· 20X27
· 24X27

Dump Truck Tarps

This is a waterproof tarp that is primarily designed for protecting dump truck loads. However, it can also be used for with other similarly styled trucks like:
· Fertilizer tenders.
· Trailers.
· Grain carts.
· Grain trucks.

Dump truck tarps dimensions can be:

· 9’10X41
· 10’6X42

As would be expected there are also a number of accessories, which are necessary for properly using flatbed truck tarps in any kind of situation. This includes tie downs that secure these products in place. Let us now take a look at some of the most common of these accessories.

Bungee Straps

Also known as Rubber Tarp Straps, these are handy tie downs that come in two major types, natural rubber and EPDM rubber.The first variety is designed to be utilized in areas that are characterized by cold climatic conditions. Natural rubber tie downs cannot crack, tear or get brittle even when exposed to freezing temperatures for protracted periods of time.

On the other hand, EPDM rubber straps are meant for areas that experience hot weather. They can effortlessly withstand prolonged exposure to the scotching sunlight.

Shock Cords

This is a stretchy rope that comes with a heavy duty polyester fabric that encases a rubber core. A shock cord can be the best solution if you wish for a custom length tie down, which you can make use of by adding a bungee hook.

Rubber Ropes

Just like a shock cord, this type of tie down can be cut to the exact length you desire. It usually comes in two varieties, which are the hollow and solid core. The first type is designed for heavy-duty applications, while the second for lightweight applications.

By now you would have come to realize that tarps are unique to the type of load a trucker carries and come with a variety of accessories to secure cargo and safely transport it.Please make sure you buy the right tarp for your cargo needs that is also durable and gives you the best value for your money.


Rubber Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber or Synthetic?

Every truck driver knows that you need the right tools for the job. There are different tarps for different types of loads, and different methods of fastening a tarp to the trailer bed. One of the more convenient types of straps is the rubber strap with the S-hook in either end. These straps come in both natural and synthetic, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubbers. The question is – is one better than the other?

Neither natural nor synthetic rubber is a better product overall. Both have their pros and cons depending on how they are used. It is best to have both kinds on hand if you are a driver that works in all regions of the country and during all seasons. Both work equally well with steel and lumber tarps of all sizes.

Natural Rubber Straps

Rubber tarp straps are incredibly convenient when all you are doing is securing the tarp itself. They go on in just seconds, and are durable enough to handle road speeds and the elements.

rubber-straps

When you choose natural rubber, you are choosing a material that works very well in most environments, with the exception of the blazing hot sun of the American South and Southwest. High temperatures cause natural rubber to lose its elasticity, while UV rays break down the material’s composition.

On the other hand, natural rubber is the material of choice for winter use. Unlike EPDM, natural rubber does not become brittle in subfreezing temperatures. It also tends not to crack or tear in cold weather.

EPDM Rubber Straps

EPDM is an M-class synthetic rubber with a high ethylene content of between 45% and 85%. The higher the ethylene content, the more polymers can be used in the rubber mixture without affecting extrusion. This allows for a higher polymer cross-link density for stronger material.

EPDM is the best choice for securing tarps in hot weather under the scorching sun. This synthetic product holds up very well under high temperatures without losing strength or elasticity. EPDM offers a second benefit for sunny environments: it is not prone to breaking down from exposure to UV rays. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about EPDM in cold weather environments. Cold weather tends to make EPDM brittle and prone to tearing.

Keep in mind that branding does matter when purchasing your truck tarps and straps. Where rubber straps are concerned, the fact that they all look pretty much the same can be deceiving. You are better off paying a little more for a branded product in order to get a better quality strap with a longer life and more durability.

Pairing With Rubber Ropes

You will find that it is difficult to purchase rubber straps greater than 41 inches in length. So what does the trucker do when he or she needs coverage across a much larger area? Hooking multiple tarp straps together is not necessarily a wise idea because doing so creates more opportunities for failure. Instead, pairing straps with rubber rope is the best idea.

Rubber rope can be cut to the desired length for continuous coverage across your entire load. Then insert S-hooks at either end to be attached to shorter straps where necessary. The combination of rubber rope and tarp straps provides a perfect solution for securing any load.

When buying tarp straps, it is important to have the right tool for the job. Consider weather conditions, cargo type, and any other factors necessary to choosing the right straps.