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Are there tarps that don't suck?

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  • Are there tarps that don't suck?

    Today I am looking at one of those Majickal blue tarps, placed on a stack of hay in June. It has disintegrated into shreds, and I am going to be spending my evening picking out bits of blue plastic from the hay. At $50, it would have been cheaper and more satisfying to just buy an extra layer of hay and plan to throw it out as mulch on the field.

    I was already fed up with tarps that only seemed to last a year, but this one didn't even make it through one season intact.

    Have tarps gotten so cheaply made as to be pointless and useless? Are there ones that will last, say from Farmtek or somewhere?
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

  • #2
    Are there tarps that don't suck? No.


    • #3
      You get what you pay for, unless you shop at the inflated price stores.

      I use the silver and black tarps, which usually last two years in hard weather and sunshine. This tarp may get ice and water drainage, in low spots, which will shorten it's life. The tarp is tied and weighted down on all sides, to reduce any flapping in the wind, HOPEFULLY allow good drainage when snow melts. I have it over the sawdust bunker. We have angled boards under, like roof trusses to give drainage to the snow and rain on top.

      You can pay big price, small bargin price, the silver and black tarp lasts about 2 years at our house. I do take the split pieces, sometimes can tape them up for another few months, or make new, smaller tarps with added grommets on the ripped side.

      Canvas tarps are really expensive, not that waterproof. Do last fairly well over a few years, unless not tied down well. They flap and shred just like the cheap ones in a big wind.

      I do not find ANY tarp to be truly waterproof, if it is touching the hay or sawdust. Water will wick thru from collection pressure above (bubble down) or contact by touching bales it lays on. Those who layed sheet plastic on bales, under the tarps, got mold under the plastic. You can't seem to win with outside storage of hay.

      So maybe one of the metal frames, with tarp above, not touching hay, would be a better storage idea. Yes, you still will have to replace the big tarp every couple years, but maybe hay would keep better with no physical contact with the tarp itself. Those frames with tarp over do seem to stay anchored pretty well, not usually flapping in the wind. You could add secondary tarps to close one end and the sides for added weather protection.

      Sorry about your hay.


      • #4
        Unless you had a huge tarp, $50 is way over-priced. I can generally get year out of the cheap crap from the hardware store. I think the last one I got was 8x10 and was just over $10 with sales tax. These aren't quite the cheapest grade -- there's a cheaper one that would suffice as temporary cover, dust cover, or shade but doesn't keep the water out for very long.

        The extra hay layer wouldn't work either -- the water would run through it and down through the whole stack. (Unless you get so little rain that this wouldn't matter, but in that case, why would you be needing a tarp on hay at all?)


        • Original Poster

          It was a relatively large tarp, maybe 24 x 16 or something.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


          • #6
            I used tarps this year to keep my rabbits covered. I purchased the White Poly (heavy duty) UV protected tarps from TarpsPlus online. I think the 12x20 one cost me $75. It has some rips in it from where it hits the posts and fenceline (not it's fault) but otherwise I'm VERY happy with how it's performed. Not looking forward to replacing it (someone buy my house NOW and i won't have to!!!), but will go back to TarpsPlus again.
            "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

            "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


            • #7
              My SO bought a extremely heavy tarp this year that was a used billboard. I will have to ask him to locate the site he bought it at and post it. You don't get to pick what is on them (advertising) but it comes in different sizes and with grommets. They are very large size but I bet you can cut them to your needed size and duct tape the edges and reinstall grommets if needed. I think his weighs about 80 lbs and was 40 X 80 or something llike that. I just googled recyled billboards and go a huge list of stuff you can do with used billboards. I never imagined. His came with advertising for a Carrie Underwood and Kenney Chesney... Her nose is about 8 feet tall!!!! Way heavier that the blue tarps.

              I think this is the company he ordered from.
              Last edited by Hawleyite; Oct. 2, 2009, 02:53 PM. Reason: Web site added


              • #8
                I've seen the used billboard tarps advertised on the local Craigslist and have been thinking of getting one to try.


                • #9
                  I also agree to find a used billboard, you could just try finding a business in your area that puts up the billboards and see if they can either give you one or sell you one.


                  • #10
                    I wish they came in more colors. I hate that shade of green and the blue screams "I have a tarp!". I'll look for the other kinds people have mentioned next time I need one...


                    • #11
                      I bought a few 12x16 heavy duty brown/silver tarp at Lowes last year and They are in great shape. I used one to cover hay and the other to cover sawdust and they worked great. no leaking at all. They were a bit pricey but well worth it.


                      • #12
                        For a tarp that last almost forever but is very expensive, you can still buy the old fashioned canvas ones. Then go to Wally World and buy their silicon waterproofing in the Camping Section. It will take several cans, and you need to soak the canvas, but when you're finished you have a tarp that is waterproof, will last a long time, and that can be re-waterproofed with ease.
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire


                        • #13
                          Tarps come in different colors for different thicknesses.

                          Blue = super thin. Black/silver = pretty thick. I believe red is really thick. edited to say that I guess they now come on all colors, but I know some manufacturers still use the color=thickness code.

                          If you want a super, long lasting tarp (many years), order one from a company that makes tarps for over the road trucks.

                          I purchased a black/silver one last fall from and is is almost like new now.

                          More information and links


                          • #14
                            Friend of mine bought a used swimming pool cover. Lasted for several years.
                            In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.—Thomas Sowell, Is Thinking Obsolete?


                            • #15
                              These look interesting:

                              Canvas is cheaper, though. A lot cheaper. And probably no heavier.
                              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                              Thread killer Extraordinaire