More from: vinyl

Tips and Tricks to using a Canvas Tarp

Every trucker is responsible for protecting his/her load from the moment he/she hooks the trailer at the shipping yard to the moment it is unhooked at the receiving yard. Among all truck drivers, flatbed truckers have the most challenging job inasmuch as their cargo is exposed to the elements, road debris, and a long list of potential dangers. Tarps are the flatbed trucker’s best protection. Truckers can choose from a variety of materials including vinyl and canvas.

Canvas tarps are more expensive than their vinyl counterparts are, so they are chosen and used very carefully by cost-conscious truckers. When is it appropriate to use canvas? When the trucker needs the extra protection and breathability of the material due to the nature of the load or the environmental conditions he/she may encounter along the way.

Canvas_Tarp

Consider the following scenarios:

  • Expensive Machinery – A trucker may be contracted to haul expensive machinery to an oil exploration site. That machinery needs to be protected from the elements, but it cannot be exposed to any moisture that might become trapped under a vinyl tarp. Canvas is the best solution.
  • Fragile Loads – Transporting something fragile enough to be cosmetically damaged by vinyl calls for a canvas solution. For example, transporting a load of classic cars for a collector calls for canvas because the material is softer and less likely to scratch.
  • Extreme Weather – Extreme weather conditions can do a number on vinyl tarps. As strong and durable as vinyl is, it can wither under the hot sun of the Arizona desert or become brittle and break in the cold temperatures of the Colorado Rockies. Canvas is a material that does equally well in all kinds of weather extremes.

Canvas is the material of choice for all sorts of things from boat covers to sail-making. If it is good enough for so many other applications, it is also an excellent choice as a material for truck tarps.

Important Properties of Canvas

It might be easier to understand when a canvas tarp is the best choice if you are familiar with some of its most important properties. To start with, canvas is a heavy-duty fabric usually made from either cotton or wool. Its strength comes from a plain weave that holds individual threads together as tightly as possible. This weave results in a much stronger material than other products created with a twill weave.

Next, a tightly woven canvas fabric is naturally water resistant. The weave is so tight that it repels water on contact rather than absorbing it. Tarp manufacturers give their canvas products greater water resistance by waxing the fabric at the time of manufacture. As long as water is not allowed to pool on top of a tarp, the wax coating should provide a lifetime of water resistance. Re-waxing may be necessary in some cases.

Third, canvas is a very breathable material because it is made from a natural fiber. As we mentioned earlier, breathability is vital for applications in which no moisture can be tolerated. Breathability is what makes canvas tarps the best solution for covering a boat, by the way.

Lastly, canvas is by far and away the strongest material used to make commercial truck tarps. It is thicker than vinyl, as well as being more dense and extremely resistant to rips and tears. A canvas tarp that is properly cared for could easily last an entire trucking career. It is hard to imagine vinyl doing the same.

Mytee Products is proud to carry a full range of canvas tarps to complement their inventory of vinyl products. The company believes every flatbed trucker should have at least one canvas tarp in his/her toolbox. Better to have one on hand than to take a risk with vinyl when canvas is a more appropriate choice.


Marking Tarps for Professionalism and Protection

Flatbed truckers invest a lot of money in vinyl tarps. It is a necessary part of the job given the fact that the driver is responsible for the cargo he or she is carrying from the moment the load is signed off for. Vinyl tarps offer protection against all of the dangers of the open road including debris, weather, and truck exhaust. In that case, why not go a step further? Why not use tarps to advertise your services?

Dry vans and reefers are adorned with all sorts of advertisements letting the whole world know the company behind the trailer. Owner-operators put identifying markers on their tractors for the same purpose. Nevertheless, the flatbed trailer offers nothing by way of marketing or promotion. The trucker can take advantage of this by marking his/her tarps using a stenciling kit that includes vinyl ink.

Professionalism and Protection

A well-marked tarp that has been carefully marked with a stenciling kit demonstrates the professionalism of the driver behind the wheel. Not only does it bear the company name and telephone number, it demonstrates to shippers that a driver has taken the time to do a good job. Straight, neat, stenciled letters helps to promote a professional image.

stencil-kit

As for protection, marking the vinyl tarps with your company name and phone number makes it less likely they will be stolen. Believe it or not, this is something construction contractors do all the time. They use stencils and spray paint to mark everything from ladders to scaffolding to their own vinyl or canvas tarps.

Tips for Marking Your Tarps

Applying your name and telephone number to the vinyl truck tarps is not difficult in principle. However, it is not as easy as buying a run-of-the-mill can of spray paint and going to town. In fact, using spray paint is a bad idea.

Regular spray paint does not adhere well to vinyl materials. A thin coat can wear off quickly just by being exposed to weather conditions. A thick coat may withstand the weather somewhat better, but it can be peeled off with very little effort. The solution is to use a vinyl ink that is specifically designed for use with things such as vinyl and poly truck tarps.

Mytee carries a stenciling kit that includes lettered stencils and a can of vinyl ink from Marsh Shipping Supply Company. Marsh is a leading name in all sorts of marketing materials and equipment, so you can depend on their vinyl ink to work as advertised.

Before you mark your tarps, be sure that they are clean and dry wherever you plan to apply the ink. It is also good idea to apply it indoors if possible. If you do not have an indoor space large enough, be sure to choose a warm and relatively wind-free day for marking.

Spread your tarp flat on the ground and pull it as tightly as possible. It is especially important to get the area you plan to mark as tight and flat as you can. You may have to weigh down the perimeter of the area to be marked using bricks or other heavy objects. Once the vinyl ink is applied, you will need to allow for plenty of drying time. The label on your ink can should tell you how long drying takes.

If you are a flatbed truck operator, you might want to consider marking your vinyl tarps for the purposes of marketing and protection. Identifying your tarps with your company name and phone number is a great way to promote your business while also reducing the chances of theft.