More from: tarps

What to Do with Shade Tarps this Winter

Winter preparations mean different things to different people. For example, you might use a couple of shade tarps around your home during the summer. What do you do with them during the winter? Do you leave them in place, or do you take them down and store them? This post we will discuss winter preparations related to shade tarps.

As a reminder, shade tarps are tarps made with mesh material. They allow some sunlight and air to pass through while still blocking just enough to provide a nice respite. People use shade tarps to create outdoor areas for sitting, entertaining, and so forth. Tarps can be any number of colors; black and green are the most common.

Leaving Tarps in Place

The first thing to discuss is whether you should leave your shade tarps in place. That depends on where you live and kind of weather you normally see during the winter. Someone living in Central or South Florida probably doesn’t have to take tarps town. The worst Florida residents see in a typical winter is a little bit of rain every few weeks.

Those who live in climates with harsher winter weather should by all means take their tarps down. Shade tarps are designed to block the sun; they are not strong enough to withstand snow, ice, and the heaviest winds of winter. Exposing shade tarps to winter weather could lead to their ruin.

Cleaning Shade Tarps

When it is time to take down and store your shade tarps, a good cleaning is in order. Never store a tarp that has not been cleaned – you never know what kinds of dirt and debris are trapped in between the webbing. As for cleaning, never use harsh chemicals or chlorine-based cleaners. A mild detergent and some warm water will be sufficient.

The best way to clean a shade tarp is to hang it across a laundry line. If that’s not possible, laying it flat on the ground works too. Use a soft bristled brush and the detergent solution to gently brush away dirt and debris. Afterward, rinse off the tarp with a hose and let it dry.

You might be tempted to put a small shade tarp in the washing machine. Don’t do it. The agitation of the washing machine can damage the material, especially if the tarp wraps around the agitator and gets stuck. It is easy enough to wash a tarp by hand, so just avoid the washing machine altogether.

Storing Your Tarps

Finally, the same rules that apply to storing other kinds of tarps also apply to shade tarps. First and foremost, never store a shade tarp if it’s still wet from cleaning. Don’t fold it, don’t roll it, don’t do anything until it is completely dry. Otherwise you risk creating an environment that promotes mold growth.

Next, fold or roll your shade tarp up in an orderly fashion. Do not just gather it up like a pile of dirty laundry ready to go into the washing machine. A neat, tidy fold will make your tarps easier to store and less prone to rips and tears from having to be forced into an uncooperative storage space.

Finally, choose a storage space that is clean, dry, and away from direct heat. Although shade tarps are built to withstand heat and moisture to a certain degree, you’ll extend the life of your tarps by not unnecessarily exposing them to unfavorable conditions.

Winter is coming, so take the correct measures to protect your shade tarps. Then they will be ready to go when spring arrives.


Basic Principles of Hay Tarp Safety

While conducting a brief review of past blog posts, it occurred to us that it would be a good idea to share safety tips involving hay tarps. We talk a lot about trucker safety for cargo control, but apparently the topic of hay tarp safety hasn’t been addressed. This post aims to change that.

It is important to start an ongoing discussion centered around using hay tarps safely, beginning with this post covering a few basic principles. We may produce future posts that get into more advanced principles for hay stacking, tarping, and moisture control.

If you are looking for a way to protect your hay without using a barn or storage shed, Mytee Products has several options to choose from. We carry a full line of hay tarps along with temporary storage structures made with galvanized steel pipe and heavy-duty PE fabric.

And now, on to the basic principles of hay tarp safety.

Principle #1: Limit the Size of Your Stacks

We never cease explaining to truckers how dangerous it is to walk on the top of a load to secure tarps. In fact, we recommend avoiding the practice if at all possible. The same applies to stacks of hay. Every new layer you add to a stack also adds height. If your stacks are too high, you may find you have to climb on top in order to properly secure tarps. Remember: with height comes increased danger in the event of a fall.

It is best to limit your stacks to 10 or 12 feet, at the most. If you do have to climb on top, make sure you use an extension ladder long enough to elevate you above the top of the stack as you climb on. Attempting to get on top of a stack using a stepladder is just not wise.

Principle #2: Don’t Tarp Under Windy Conditions

Avoid attempting to deploy tarps on windy days. Hay growers, like truck drivers, sustain a good number of their tarp-related injuries as a result of wind catching tarps. If you absolutely must deploy a tarp on a windy day, make sure you stand up wind of your haystack. Then, if the wind does catch the tarp, it will blow away from you instead of against you.

Principle #3: Get Help When Tarping

Hey tarps are a lot heavier than you might think. Therefore, do yourself a favor and get help when you are ready to cover your hay. There is no need to be a hero by trying to tarp yourself. Being a hero could result in a hernia, a back injury, or something worse.

Principle #4: Wear Protective Gear

You will most likely be using straps or bungee cords to secure your tarps. As such, you should wear head and eye protection. You never know when something could snap back and strike you with enough force to knock you on your backside. The last thing you need is a head or eye injury.

Principle #5: Check Grommets before Deploying

With the exception of damaged seams, the weakest link on any hay tarp is its grommets. You can go a long way toward remaining safe by inspecting every grommet prior to deployment. If a grommet appears even slightly damaged or loose, do not use it. Either get the tarp fixed or work around the grommet in question.

At Mytee Products, we firmly believe in the safety-first mindset. We encourage our hay tarp customers to use the utmost care when covering hay stacks this fall. Your hay can be replaced; you cannot be.


5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Tarps

In just a few short weeks, we at Mytee Products will begin seeing an influx of truck drivers coming in to stock up on tarps in preparation for the winter. Many of our customers have been driving trucks long enough to know exactly what they need. Others, might not be so sure of what they need to buy – especially if this is their first winter on the road.

We believe the best way to assemble a collection of tarps is to ask the five questions posed below. These questions help truck drivers better understand what they need, covering everything from standard steel to canvas tarps.

1. How do different tarps vary?

We carry a range of vinyl and canvas tarps in different shapes and sizes. We don’t do so simply because we like variety. It turns out that each kind of tarp has its own unique purpose. As for vinyl and canvas, the two materials have their strengths and weaknesses.

New drivers should do a little research to learn about coil, steel, lumber, smoke, and machinery tarps. They should also educate themselves on the difference between vinyl and canvas. Once a driver knows all the differences, he or she can evaluate what is necessary to get through winter.

2. Which tarps best suit my needs?

Driver needs are as varying as the loads they carry. A driver who earns most of his or her living carrying loads of steel coil will probably invest mainly in those two kinds of tarps. Another driver who concentrates mainly on lumber will invest heavily in lumber tarps. Most drivers don’t have the luxury of focusing on a particular type of cargo, though. Therefore, they have to carry a selection of different tarps on board.

3. How will a particular tarp perform?

There is always the question of how a particular tarp might perform if used to cover cargo for which it was not originally intended. For example, consider a driver who focuses mainly on lumber. If he were to accept one or two machinery loads every year, would those lumber tarps in the toolbox still perform well? The idea here is that while a variety of tarps are usually recommended, a driver does not need to invest unnecessarily if some of the tarps in the box can be multi-functional.

4. What sizes do I need?

Truck tarps come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different loads. We know drivers who purchase only the smallest tarps because these are the easiest to use. They would rather deploy multiple smaller tarps then wrestle with bigger ones. But that’s all driver preference. If you want to invest in tarps of multiple sizes, purchase an equal number of all.

5. Do I know how to care for tarps?

Last but not least is the pesky question of caring for truck tarps. Although truck tarps are generally not high maintenance items, they do require a certain amount and type of care if a trucker wants to get maximum life out of each purchase. It should be noted that caring for canvas tarps is different than caring for vinyl tarps. There are also different ways to repair tarps depending on the material used.

Autumn is the season when we see a lot of truck drivers stocking up on their tarps ahead of winter. If you need to bolster your inventory, Mytee Products has everything you need. From vinyl steel tarps to heavy duty canvas tarps, you will find everything you need to complete your inventory here. Feel free to order online or, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, visit our Ohio warehouse.


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.


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.