Tarpaulin for Construction Sites


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Why Use Tarpaulin at Construction Sites

There are several key reasons why Tarpaulin is widely used as a covering material at construction sites. Tarpaulin provides an effective way to protect materials, equipment, and work areas from rain, snow, sun exposure, and debris.

Protect Materials from Rain and Snow

Water damage is one of the biggest risks to consider in outdoor construction projects. Not only can rain and snow ruin materials that are supposed to get installed dry like lumber, drywall, paint, and concrete, but it can also delay construction schedules. Wet materials may need to dry out completely before being used, or even need to be replaced altogether if damage is severe. This leads to added expenses that cut into the project budget.

Shield Equipment from Sun Damage

Construction equipment, tools, and scaffolding left outside each day can deteriorate more quickly when exposed to extreme sun and heat. Plastics may fade or become brittle, and metal surfaces like vehicles or machinery can rust faster. Even cordless tool batteries don’t last as long if they have to spend every night in the hot sun rather than protected in the shade.

Contain Messy Debris and Materials

It’s impossible to control every tool, nail, scrap of debris, or pile of materials on a work site subject to weather. Heavy Duty Tarpaulin does double duty as wind blocks and debris catchers. They keep sites tidy by preventing cement bags, gravel, sand, or scrap wood from blowing off somewhere they don’t belong. This saves cleanup headaches and mitigates risks of loose objects posing hazards.

Provide Covered Shelter Space

No one enjoys taking breaks in the pouring rain. Tarps give crews a dry place to eat lunch, hunker down in extreme weather, or simply get a brief respite from the elements. Protected shelters boost the morale of workers spending long days outside. It helps improve productivity and safety too, as employees aren’t as distracted or miserable performing tasks in harsh conditions without periodic refuge.

Types of Tarpaulin Material

There are several main types of material used in manufacturing tarpaulins for construction projects, each with their own attributes:


One of the most inexpensive options, PE tarpaulin is lightweight and water resistant. It’s a good basic choice but has less durability long-term compared to other materials.

Polyvinyl Chloride

More weather-resistant than PE, PVC tarps last longer in the sun and withstand some punctures/tears better while maintaining flexibility. A mid-range option.


The most heavy-duty material, ideal for construction sites requiring long-term cover. Canvas is extremely durable but also heavier and less flexible than some other options.

How to Install Tarpaulin at a Construction Site

Proper tarp installation is essential to achieve effective coverage and withstand local weather patterns. Here are some best practices:

Surface Preparation

Remove any debris, sharp objects or uneven surfaces before laying out the tarp. This prevents punctures.

Anchoring Options

For light wind areas, sandbags along the edges every few feet work well. Ropes or straps staked tightly to the ground every 3-5 feet secure the tarp in moderate winds. Grommets allow rope/strap every 1-2 feet for high wind sites.


Use ropes or straps to pull the tarp tight with no sagging pockets for water to pool. Roll or weigh down excess material.

Overlapping Edges

Provide 12-18 inches of overlap where tarps connect or meet the anchored perimeter. Seal with sand, rope or stakes.


Miter cut corners or use pre-cut triangular pieces for neat and secure right angles. Stake firmly.


Consider cutting small holes and covering with mesh where tarps meet to allow air circulation to prevent condensation or mildew.

High Winds

Use stronger stakes, extra tie points every 1 foot or install steel cables for tension if high winds are forecast. Inspect regularly.


Check anchors and tension daily at first to ensure secure installation before less frequent monitoring. Adjust as needed.

Benefits of Tarpaulin for Construction

There are several key benefits that make tarpaulin a practical covering choice for construction sites:


Tarpaulins can withstand repeated exposure to weather, tears, punctures, and other wear and tear better than alternatives like plastic sheeting. The material is heavy-duty yet lightweight. Depending on the specific fabric, tarps are rated to endure winds, rain, and sunlight for durations ranging from months to over a year.


At just a few ounces or pounds per square foot, tarpaulins are easy for one or two workers to transport and set up. Lighter weight means hazards like blowing away in strong winds are minimized. It also reduces strain on installation hardware like grommets, ropes, and stakes.


Unlike poly sheeting, tarpaulin material is breathable. It allows trapped heat and moisture under the cover to escape, reducing condensation risks. Airflow prevents conditions that could promote mold growth.

UV Resistance

Most tarpaulins incorporate UV stabilizers to withstand the sun’s rays for extended periods. Prolonged UV sunlight exposure causes plastic and other materials to brittle and degrade more quickly over time.


Tarpaulins are pliable and foldable for compact storage and transport. Flexible fabrics also make tarps simpler to install tightly over irregular surfaces compared to rigid alternatives.

Cost Effectiveness

The combination of durability and reusability means construction tarpaulins offer good long-term value for protective covers. Initial material costs are low compared to building more permanent sheds or roofs that may only be needed temporarily.

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