Lumber tarps are important cargo for flatbed truckers because logging is such a huge industry in North America, but it can also be heavy and dangerous. That’s why it’s important to choose high quality materials to truck lumber.
Fortunately, investing in high-quality lumber tarps empowers you to take on many types of cargo that require heavy-duty coverage in addition to lumber. For example, equipment, crates, baled tires, metals, and building materials all need vinyl tarp coverage during transport.
Choosing the right tarps, lifts, and straps for the job can make a serious difference in your experience. That’s why we want to give you eight lumber tarp facts that can level up your skills before you head out with your haul.
1. Factors That Impact a Lumber Tarp’s Quality Rating (or Tarp Grade)
A tarp can be made of Polyethylene, which is woven plastic that is laminated to protect materials against water and UV rays. Polyethylene can be low-density (LPE) or high-density (HDPE). If a tarp is made of polyethylene, it’s sometimes called a Poly Tarp.
Heavy-duty tarps, though, are more likely to be made of Vinyl. Vinyl tarps and poly tarps are waterproof. Even popular lightweight tarps, like Airbag / Parachute tarps, are primarily vinyl with parachute fabric on the sides.
Canvas tarps and Silnylon or mesh tarps aren’t suitable for flatbed trucking, especially transporting lumber.
Lumber tarp thickness is measured in MIL. One MIL is 1/1000th of an inch. The thicker the tarp, the higher quality it is.
C. Weave Count:
Weave count looks at how many fibers of polyethylene or vinyl are woven together to make the mesh layer of a tarp.
The denier of a tarp looks at how much mass a single fiber of the tarp has. It’s also known as the tarp’s linear mass.
E. Ounces per Square Yard:
This metric tells you how much a square yard of a tarp weighs. 18 oz is the industry standard for lumber tarps and steel tarps. This thickness has been time-tested and proved resilient.
F. Grommet Spacing:
A higher-quality, heavy-duty tarp will have brass grommets that are spaced fairly close together (usually 18 – 24 inches apart).
Meanwhile, if grommets are spaced further apart (say, 36 inches or more) then the tarp will flap in the wind. In addition to grommets, some heavy-duty tarps have D-rings. These rings are sewn into the tarp with seatbelt material.
D-rings give you tie-down points on the sides of the tarp, in places where it’d be unsafe to make holes for grommets.
G. UV Treatment:
UV treatment gives lumber tarps an extra layer of protection from ultra-violet rays of the sun, and empowers your tarp to last longer in hot conditions.
2. Storing Tarps Properly Adds Years to Their Life
Tarps deteriorate quickly if they accumulate rips, which can grow into serious damage if they aren’t mended. The best tactic is to prevent rips in the first place. High-quality, reinforced tarps are less likely to rip.
Proper storage can also prevent rips, and can help you put a ripped tarp on “hold” until you can mend it. Tarps should be stored in a cool and dry area, someplace the tarp won’t be exposed to heat, humidity, and ultraviolet rays. Avoid hanging tarps on walls or leaving them on the ground.
Instead, it can help to fold and store them in a moisture-proof storage container in your storage unit, stock room, or garage.
3. Folding Lumber Tarps is quick and Easy
While people refer to folding lumber tarps for storage, it’s actually better to roll your lumber tarp.
Since lumber tarps are so heavy-duty, folding them can create creases that set in, making them harder to use later. Folds also create tension in the tarp that leads to tearing over time.
To roll your lumber tarp, first lay it out flat in a clear, clean open space.
Then, fold the boxed end (the exterior flap) over the main body of the tarp so you’ve got a perfect rectangular surface.
Stand at one corner of your tarp. Hold the tarp down with your left hand, about one foot from the corner, width-wise. Then, take the corner with your right hand and flip it, so that you’ve folded roughly 1/8th on your tarp lengthwise. Walk lengthwise so you’re now at the opposite corner and flip the tarp in the same direction to ensure that the fold has been made all the way along the tarp.
Then, stand at an unfolded corner on the opposite side of the tarp and repeat this process.
Continue to alternate sides, slowly folding your tarp to the center. Once the tarp is a long, skinny rectangle, fold it in half lengthwise.
Finally, stand on one end of the tarp and use both hands to grab the corners. Roll the tarp towards you, coiling it as tightly as you can. Now you tarp is compact and ready to store!
4. Matching Tarps with the Right Tie-Downs Empowers Safer Trucking
Tie-downs are anything that attaches to anchor points designed to secure your load. In theory, chains, wire, rope, and straps are all devices you can use to secure your lumber.
Tying-down your flatbed truck load properly can save your life—or someone else’s. Because it’s so vital to road safety, there are laws and ordinances that regulate how to tie down a load, and with what.
The Federal Motor Carry Safety Administration’s regulation 393.102 “requires that chain, wire rope, synthetic webbing, cordage, and steel strapping meet minimum manufacturing standards.” A lumber load needs, at minimum, two straps securing the load within the first 10 feet, and at least one strap every ten feet after that.
But how can you match your lumber tarps with the right straps or tie-ons?
First, know your tie-downs’ combined working load limit. The combined Working Load Limit (WLLL) rating of all your straps combined needs to equal at least one-half of the weight of your lumber load. If you know the weight of your lumber load is high, that rules out certain tie-downs.
Second, factor in how rip-resistant your chosen tarp is. Some lightweight tarps are more prone to tears, especially when they’re held tight against lumber with sharp edges.
This doesn’t mean you can never use lightweight Poly Tarps with lumber. It just means that, if you do, you’ll want to consider avoiding chains as a tie-down, since chains cause more friction than straps, and using edge protectors to give your tarp extra protection.
On the other hand, if you have heavyweight vinyl tarps to portect your lumber, there’s a wider variety of tie-down options that might suit your needs and comply with FMCSA regulations.
5. Repairing Lumber Tarps Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
To repair your damaged lumber tarp, you can get everything you need in a low-cost tarp repair kit.
Our kits include HH-66 Thinner, which you can use to clean your vinyl tarp and your vinyl cement patch. There’s also high-quality tarp repair tape, which is for quick repairs of rips and tears; vinyl cement; a grommet-replacement kit that includes a hole-cutter and a cutting block; and 8oz Vinyl Polyester fabric to cut patches from
6. Tarp Colors Can Help You Differentiate Rolled Tarps
If you have a variety of tarps for different loads (for example, lumber tarps, steel tarps, and machinery tarps) it saves you time and effort when you can grab the rolled tarp you need out of storage right away, without having to unroll it to check if it’s actually the tarp that matches your current haul.
If all your tarps are the same color, it can become easy to confuse them, especially if they’re rolled up and have gotten dirty.
So, it can be worthwhile to buy each of your tarps in a different color: red steel coil tarp, black lumber tarp, green machinery tarp, etc. That way, it will be easy to recognize on sight which tarp your need to pull out for which haul.
Some truckers also use different tarp colors when they purchase 3-piece sets. All the pieces of a 3-piece set are the same size, but it’s important that the side tarps are on the side, not the middle. If you accidentally unroll and try to secure a side tarp over the middle of your load, you’ll have to undo that work and start over.
To prevent accidentally wasting time this way, you can buy side tarps and middle tarps in different colors.
7. You Can Get High-Quality Lumber Tarps at Affordable Rates
It can cost a lot to get a high-quality product. Fortunately, here at MyTee, we have a wide selection of high quality lumber tarps for sale—the same products you trust, 22% less than the other guy!
Explore our variety of flatbed truck tarps for lumber, including parachute tarps, lightweight tarps, heavy duty tarps, superlight tarps, and our convenient double-flap tarps in every level of durability.
Why not start with our Heavy Duty 18oz Vinyl, 8’ Drop Lumber Tarp, only $295?
You Can Get Lumber Tarps Anywhere in the United States and Canada
It can be tough for Canadian flatbed truckers to find the materials they need at the price they can afford. Fortunately, you can get your favorite Mytee lumber tarps delivered to you anywhere in the United States and Canada.
Hopefully, you’ve got a start now to figure out what type works best for your lumber hauling needs.
If you have more questions, either regarding lumber hauling safety or any of our product specifications, please contact us!
Call Us: 1-888-705-8277,
Email Us: [email protected]
Remember, at Mytee Products, we’re here so you can [Haul Safe. Earn More.]