More from: Tarp Repair Kits

Vinyl Cement Is Not Your Typical Contact Cement

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.

Vinyl Cement

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.


Three Tips for Successful Truck Tarp Repair

Truck tarps are among the most important tools in the trucking industry. They can also be expensive tools if you buy the highest quality tarps available. So what do you do when one is ripped or torn? You try to repair it. Repairing a tarp can extend its life and save you a lot of money. That’s important for truck drivers working hard to make a living without a lot of room for error.

tractor trailer with cover

Whether you are a professional truck driver or a weekend warrior using tarps for your boat or camper, knowing how to repair rips, tears and holes can pay off in the long run.

We want to help by offering you these three tips for truck tarp repair:

#1 – Understand the Damage

A successful truck tarp repair starts with assessing the damage. For example, a minor tear or mouse hole can be temporarily repaired using commercial tarp tape. Damage that is more substantial will require a patch with either a strong glue or a stitched repair. Damage to seams always requires the strongest repair methods in order to prevent the damage reoccurring.

We might point out that tarp tape is really only intended as a temporary repair to get you where you’re going. Tarp tape will not last forever against sun, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. You will need to get some patching fabric if you want a repair that is more long lasting.

#2 – Clean before Patching

Truck drivers are notorious for not having a lot of time to deal with tarp damage properly. Consequently, sometimes a repair will be attempted without properly cleaning the area around the damage. This is a mistake. Regardless of the type of repair you make, proper cleaning is essential to a successful and strong repair.

Soil, dirt, and other debris can be cleaned with warm water, soap and a rag. Oil based stains will need to be attacked with some sort of solvent or rubbing alcohol. It is important that you get all of the substance off the tarp before making the repair, or the adhesive will not stick properly. Also, be sure to clean an area large enough to accommodate your entire patch. Six inches beyond the damage is generally large enough.

If you are stitching a patch in place, proper cleaning is still a good idea. Why? Because the stitching is only intended to provide extra strength. You will still be using adhesive to ensure a watertight repair.

#3 – Repair Both Sides of the Tarp

For those really big holes, you may need to apply a repair on both sides of the tarp. You can do this by patching one side first, giving the repair plenty of time to set up, and then applying the same repair to the other side. This will give you a lot of strength that should hold up over the long haul.

You can buy vinyl repair material and tarp repair kits at most places that sell commercial grade tarps for the trucking industry. It is fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Make sure however, that you follow the instructions found on the label. That includes instructions regarding air temperature at the time of the repair. If it is too cold, the adhesive will not stick properly to your tarp, causing the patch to fall off after just a couple of days. If it’s too hot, you may not get the patch applied in time before the adhesive sets up.

Truck tarp repair is not hard if you are patient and willing to do things the right way. Over the long haul, you can save a lot of money by repairing your tarps rather than replacing them.