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5 Reasons Truck Drivers Prefer Steel Tarps

Flatbed truck drivers utilize several different kinds of truck tarps depending on the loads they carry. There are lumber tarps, smoke tarps, canvas tarps and the most preferred of all, heavy-duty steel tarps. Where the average driver may have only one each of the other kinds of tarps, he or she typically has a full inventory of steel tarps of different sizes. Steel tarps are easily the most preferred for all sorts of loads.

Originally designed for covering steel cable and other similar products, steel tarps have proved to be very valuable for all kinds of loads. Below are the top five reasons flatbed truck drivers prefer steel tarps to any other kind.


1.Strength and Durability

The number one reason steel tarps are preferred is because truckers have come to rely on their strength and durability. Your average steel tarp is made of tough, 18-ounce vinyl that will stand up to a lot of wear and tear. The only caveat here is that the trucker must be careful to use edge protectors to prevent damage to the tarp from cargo underneath. However, with quality edge protectors and the right kind of securement equipment, a heavy-duty steel tarp can easily provide years of faithful service.

2.Load Versatility

Truckers appreciate heavy-duty steel tarps because these are pretty versatile. They can be used to cover just about any load requiring heavy-duty protection. By contrast, your average smoke tarp is much too small to be used on any load requiring more than just minimal protection against engine exhaust. Similarly, lumber tarps are rather large by design; they also come with built-in flaps for covering the sides and rear of a load. They are far too cumbersome for small loads.

The steel tarp is manufactured in a rectangular shape that can come in a variety of sizes. This makes it ideal for many different types of loads, as well as loads of all shapes and sizes.

3.Load Securement

A good quality steel tarp is constructed with a series of grommets evenly spaced along the perimeter and extra D-rings in strategic locations across the body of the fabric. The inclusion of both allows for multiple ways of loads securement using bungee cords, bungee ropes, straps, and even chains. You can never have too many options when it comes to loads securement.

4.Size and Weight

Steel tarps are smaller and lighter than lumber tarps, making them easier to apply, remove and fold. This is important inasmuch as truck drivers can easily be injured when working with tarps. The lighter and easier a tarp is to work with, the lower the chances of injury are. As an added benefit, the size and weight of a typical steel tarp make it possible to deploy and remove rather quickly.

5.Tarp Storage

Last but not least is tarp storage. When tarps are not in use, they need to be stored in the toolbox or on a cab-mounted rack. Maximizing storage means folding tarps as flat as possible with no air between layers. This can be challenging with a larger lumber tarp. The design, size and weight of the steel tarp make it fairly easy to fold up neatly for storage. Most truckers can manage on their own; those who cannot need the help of only one other person to fold and store their tarps.

Flatbed truck drivers prefer steel tarps because of the versatility, ease of use and durability. Every flatbed trucker in the business should have a good supply of steel tarps on board at all times.

Why Steel Tarps Are Important for Safety

Truck drivers use flatbed steel tarps of all sizes to secure and protect their loads. Given the time-consuming nature of tarping loads, a nonprofessional may wonder why flatbed trailers are used at all. It comes down to the fact that some loads just cannot be put into enclosed box trailers very easily. Steel coils are but one example. Flatbed trailers make for easier loading and unloading using forklifts and other heavy lifting equipment.

Tarps are used to protect a load against the elements as well as road debris and animals. However, tarps are also about improving highway safety. A high-quality truck tarp enhances safety by improving the profile of a load and helping to keep that load securely in place.

Load Profile

The vast majority of loads hauled on flatbed trailers have unusually shaped profiles. In fact, an unusual profile is one of the reasons a given load might be transported on a flatbed rather than an enclosed trailer. Left untarped, these loads also present a certain amount of danger by way of road debris.

For example, consider a load of steel coils. A flatbed trailer might be carrying six spools of steel coil, loaded consecutively with each spool securely against the others beside it. Nevertheless, no matter how tightly the spools are packed on the trailer, there is always empty space between them. That empty space could catch road debris and hold it temporarily. A few miles down the road, the debris could be dislodged, flying through the air and striking a car.


A heavy-duty steel tarp reduces that risk by providing a more uniform profile. What’s more, it eliminates the dead space where road debris can collect. Any debris flying through the air as the truck goes down the highway will be deflected off in most cases. Although cars and other vehicles could still be negatively impacted, the risk is greatly reduced.

Load Securing

A truck driver would never use tarps alone to secure a load. However, a heavy-duty tarp does add an extra layer of protection in case one of the other systems fails. Again, let us talk about steel coils as an example.

A load of steel coil will be braced on either end with timbers designed to keep the spools from rolling. Each individual spool will be secured to the flatbed using a chain; larger loads might also be secured by tying each spool to the one next to it using a heavy-duty chain.

With a strong, properly secured tarp in place, a load would remain relatively safe even if one of the chains holding a center spool broke. The tarp would keep the spool secure long enough for the driver to get to a safe place where he or she could re-secure it with a new chain.

As you can see, steel tarps are important for highway safety as well as protecting a load. For the trucker, that means choosing tarps wisely. Tough fabrics combined with high quality construction offer maximum load protection and increased safety.

All You Need To Know About Tarps

Tarps are very important to the transportation industry. Tarps however can be used to cover boats, trucks, and other things. They help protect the vehicle from the wind, rain and sun. A tarp also helps secure the cargo that is present in trucks and trailers. The more conventional variety of tarp is made of poly and canvas. However, nowadays several types of tarps are available in the market. One popular type of tarp is the steel tarp. Firstly, these tarps are not made from steel. They are made from materials like mesh, poly, etc. But the name is such because they are used to cover small loads likes steel pipes and steel cables. The other tarps are used to cover wood and other big loads. These tarps are a favourite because it has certain defined features and qualities that the other tarps do not.

Some of the features are listed below:

DurableSteel Tarps are heavy duty tarps and they are also extremely durable.  They are made of mesh, polyethylene and vinyl.
Single Sheet – One of the biggest advantages of using these tarps are that only one single sheet of tarpaulin is needed to cover the cargo. So you do not have to put layers of tarpaulin on the cargo. Just one roll is sufficient to secure the cargo in place perfectly.

Lightweight– Such Tarps are extremely light in weight unlike other tarps. So you no longer have to cart along heavy tarpaulin. So for those who want something very portable this is the right type of tarp.

Air Circulation – Materials used in making these tarps allow the air to pass through. So along with covering your cargo, they keep the cargo fresh. So when you open your cargo after a long distant travel you will have smelly cargo. As when air is trapped in the cargo, it gets stale and gives out an odour.

Firm Fastening– These tarps get fastened better than the lumber tarps.  It can be annoying when vehicle drivers or owners have to tie up their cargo several times to ensure it is fastened. Goods that are not tied up properly are sure to shift around especially during jerks and brakes. With these tarps you do not have to worry about the grip, it provides the best grip available so far.

Exclusively for steel items– These tarps are very good to fasten steel rods, steel pipes, discs, etc. They have the best hold and steel commodities need a firm hold to keep them in place. So this type of tarp is almost necessary when you are transporting steel goods.
Wind Protection- In highways one of the greatest problems is the wind velocity. The winds come with great force and can tear up any tarp especially if the tarp is not tied up well. Thus, this kind of tarp is firmly fastened and prevents the damage caused by strong winds.
Specially designed- These come specially designed for steel cargo. They have D rings which help fasten the tarp to the vehicle. It also has a double drop design, which is nothing but two levels of tie ups available. These levels of tie up are separated from each other by about one and a half feet.

Strong– This tarp has a very strong texture. In fact they are way stronger than any of the other tarps available in the market. They are made of mesh and vinyl materials. These materials provide excellent protection against moisture and heat. So even if there is a heavy downpour your cargo is safe and even if the sun is really sharp your cargo is safe.
Keeps the Cargo in place- Because of it excellent grip the cargo is in place right till the end of your journey. So if you have placed the items in a particular order you are sure to find the items exactly the way you kept it even after a long journey.

Things to keep in mind before buying a steel tarp:

  • Always measure the size of your vehicle– One of the most important thing to do before buying tarps is to measure the size of your vehicle. Do not go by estimate.  If you are investing money in a good tarp it is always wise to get the right fit. Take some time out to measure your vehicle as it would save you a lot of hassles later on. If the size you need is not available always get one custom made to suit your needs and requirements. Even if it costs more a well fitting tarp would save you a lot of money in the future.
  • Good Quality– Irrespective of the material of your tarp, quality is of prime importance.  Do not buy something at a sale or at discounted price merely because it looks attractive and cheap. Do not buy something merely because the salesman talked you in to something. Buy something from a reputed place so that you will not have problems later on.
  • Check the Details– If the tarp cover says it will withstand the cold, check to see till what degree. A good tarp should be able to withstand cold up to -30 degrees. It is no use picking up something that can withstand up to -5 degrees, especially if you live in an area where the winter temperature could dip up to -10. Check to see what the maximum heat it can withstand. Once again it would be useless if the heat limit written on the packet is lower than what heat you usually experience in your climate.
  • Choose a good colour– If you are one of those who live in a dusty environment then choosing a darker colour tarp would be very beneficial. If you are somebody who lives in a spic and span environment, then buying some light interesting colours can be a lot more fun.

All you need to know about tarps is summarized and given above. Also what you should keep in mind before choosing tarps is also explained. This is merely a guide to help you with your confusions about choosing the right tarp.

Advantages and Uses of Steel Tarps

Steel tarps are increasingly becoming popular because of its various advantages. These tarps are not the first tarps that come to mind while the word tarp is mentioned. People generally think of traditional canvas tarps and plastic tarps that are commonly used. But steel tarps are now gaining more popularity especially because of their various uses.

They are named steel tarps because they are mainly used to cover the cargo made of steel or metal like wires, cords, sheets etc. These tarps are not made from steel but are made from heavy duty mesh or polyethylene material. Truckers and transporters use these tarps to protect steel items from corrosion and rust.

They are also known as tarpaulins. The name tarpaulin is derived from the original reference for canvas palls covered in tar. These canvas palls were utilized to cover and protect cargo loaded on ships. Now the term is used for any waterproof sheet used to protect different types of cargos and surfaces.

The main advantage of this material is that it gives protection against grueling weather and other external factors.  This tarp has grommets attached to its edges to allow tie down facility.

Advantages and uses of Steel Tarps are:

  • The tarp is very large so that only one tarp is required to cover and secure load on a flatbed trailer.
  • It’s a lightweight tarp so that it can be handled and maintained easily.
  • Though these tarps are lightweight they are very durable and sturdy.
  • Many uses of these tarps have been recognized apart from being used as trailer tarps. They are actively used at construction sites to clad new buildings and even farmers use them in many ways. These tarps have been used to cover cars as well.
  • These tarps have the facility of double fastening which is not available with other tarps like lumber tarps. The grommets or D-rings are attached at every 2 feet distance so there is no need to overlap the load or use anything else to secure or cover the load.
  • The material used in making this tarp can withstand harsh weather conditions and UV rays.

Steel tarp can be used to secure any kind of cargo and because of its double drop design it becomes very easy to use these tarps. Other types of tarps available in the market may be light weight and durable but cannot match the size of these tarps. A steel tarp is so large that only tarp will be needed to cover the cargo. It is not at all cumbersome to use these tarps though they are large in size as they are extremely light weight.

Use Steel Tarps To Ensure Safety While Driving Heavy Loaded Truck

Tarpaulins or tarps are used to protect the cargo from weather effects and to secure them on the    flatbed trailer so that the objects do not fall off from the truck. But it is not just for these reasons that it is necessary to use tarps, according to government rules and DOT standards also it is important to use tarps to cover the cargo so that the falling objects do not disturb other drivers on the road.

Thousands of dollars are claimed for the repairs of frontend and windshields due to damages caused by the objects flying from the trucks. There can be serious accidents caused by such objects that disturb other drivers on the highways as the vehicles are driven at high speeds. Thus government has made certain rules that require the truckers to cover their cargo with tarps even if the cargo does not require protection from the external elements.

Steel Tarps are the best tarps when it comes to covering the cargo as they can be used to meet the government rules and can also protect your cargo effectively. These tarps are waterproof and are made from heavy duty vinyl material. Below are the details about steel tarps:

  • Functions:

These tarps are basically used to cover cargo to protect them from inclement weather such as heavy rain, snow and also from the harsh sun rays. They keep steel products free from corrosion and rust. People use them for other purposes as well like to make tents or shelter for camping and are used at construction sites to clad work-in-progress. They are also used to cover outdoor objects like boats, RVs, bikes, cars etc.

  • Material:

The material used in making steel tarp is heavy duty polyethylene or vinyl. It has rows of d-rings or grommets attached at its hems to provide easy tie down. These tarps are weatherproof and are covered with UV protective coating to prevent damage from sunlight.

  • Size:

Steel Tarps are generally larger than other tarps so only one tarp is required to cover the load on a truck. They are available in readymade sizes in the market from 16’ x 16’ to 16’ x 27’. These tarps can also be custom made to meet specific requirements.

  • Benefits:

Apart from being water resistant and UV resistant, these tarps are strong and resist wear and tear. They have long life and do not need replacements if used and maintained properly. The material is flexible and be maneuvered to cover different shapes and sizes of cargo. They function well under extreme weather conditions and are mildew resistant.

When you drive heavy vehicles like trucks and trailers loaded with heavy duty material you have the responsibility to make sure that your load is secured properly and there are no items lose on the truck that may come off and cause a mishap on the road. Use strong tarps to secure your loads on the truck and ensure everybody’s safety.