Flatbed Truck Tarps: Types, Sizes, and Accessories

487577_10152845804082619_26801796_nChoosing the best flatbed truck tarp for your particular needs might not be as clear cut as you think. Flatbed tarps not only come in a wide variety of sizes, but they are made of different materials and designed very differently depending on their intended use.  The best tarp for a dump truck won’t necessarily be the best for covering lumber or steel.

There is no one size fits all type of tarp, which is part of the reason it’s so important to understand exactly what your hauling needs will be.

 

What are the main types of flatbed truck tarps?

image of flatbed truck tarps from USCargoControl.com

  • Lumber tarps. A lumber tarp is designed with flaps at the end to cover the ends of a load, protecting the lumber or other cargo from the elements.
  • Steel tarp. A heavy duty steel truck tarp is four-sided without flaps. This design is most efficient for protecting steel rods, sheets, cables, etc.
  • Dump truck tarps. Roll tarps for dump trucks are waterproof and designed not only for traditional dump trucks, but also many similar style trucks like grain trucks, grain carts, fertilizer tenders, trailers, and more.
  • Smoke Tarps. A smoke tarp serves one very specific purpose: covering the front of a load to protect it from soot, dirt, and especially exhaust smoke.  As an added benefit, it can help stop wind from creating an annoying and distracting whistling sound if you are hauling PVC pipes or steel pipes.

Tarp sizes

While heavy duty lumber and steel flatbed truck tarps often come in 16×27, 20×27, or 24×27 configurations, you’ll find that heavy duty smoke tarps are only 10×12 in many cases.  A dump truck tarp looks much different from both of these configurations coming in at 9’10×41 or 10’6×42.

Tarp tie downs

Just as with tarps, there is also a huge variety of tie downs and other accessories for use with truck tarps. Equipment for securing a tarp can be broken down into a few overall categories:

image of rubber tarp straps from USCargoControl.comRubber tarp straps. These heavy duty tarp tie downs are available in both natural rubber and ethylene propylene diene monomer – M-class (EPDM) rubber. A natural rubber tarp strap is best for cold, Notherrn areas because the rubber won’t crack, tear, or become brittle even in freezing temps. An EPDM rubber tarp strap is best for hot climates as they stand up well to extended sun exposure.

 

image of shock cord from USCargoControl.comShock cord. Also called bungee cord or elastic straps, shock cord is a stretchy rope with a heavy duty polyester fabric covering a rubber core. Shock cord is an excellent choice if you need to make a custom length strap for flatbed truck tarps, simply by adding a coated bungee hook.

 

rubber rope from US Cargo ControlRubber rope. Like a shock cord tie down, rubber rope can also be cut to length to make custom tie down straps. It’s available in a hollow style for lightweight applications or a solid core for more heavy-duty jobs.

 

 

Corner protectorsimage of corner protector for tarps from USCargoControl.com

Corner protectors have a variety of names in the industry: strap protectors, corner guards, etc. A plastic corner protector for tarps has a rounded edge, allowing the tarp to curve around the edge rather than pulled tightly over the sharp corner.

 

Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber vs. EPDM

Here in the Midwest- like most of the country- we’ve had some extreme temperatures this summer. While we all know hot temps can be dangerous if you’re outside for a long time, it’s also important to remember your outdoor equipment is taking a beating in the heat and sunlight as well.

One type of equipment that can be purchased specifically for temperature and climate conditions is tarp straps. Did you know there’s difference between EPDM tarp straps and natural rubber tarp straps? Although they may look the same, there are some differences that make one a better choice over the other.

EPDM is Eethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which is a type of synthetic rubber. EPDM rubber offers excellent resistance to heat, ozone, acids and bases, which is why it’s very common in the automotive industry in the form of seals, hoses, belts, etc. Because it stands up so well to extreme temps, it’s ideal for hot climates, and for summer use in all climates where it will be exposed to heat and sunlight. EPDM rubber tarp straps are an excellent choice for the hot summer months.

Natural rubber tarp straps are ideal for winter and cooler climates as natural rubber will not crack and split in colder conditions. Natural rubber tarp straps will also stretch further than EPDM and will also return to its non-stretched, normal length quicker than an EPDM strap will.

Rubber tarp straps are relatively inexpensive (especially if you buy them in our bulk quantities of 50 per box) so if your straps will be exposed to the elements in the hottest summer temps and coldest winter temps, it’s a good idea to switch them out from season to season. Our best sellers in bulk quantities include a 21″ length and a 31″ length. Pallet price discounts are also available, which cuts the price per strap even more- call our sales team at 866-444-9990 for more information.

About tarp straps from US Cargo Control:

  • Both natural rubber and EPDM straps are sold individually, in bundles of 10 or in boxes of 50.
  • Lengths include: 9″, 15″, 21″, 31″, 41″.
  • Replacement tarp strap hooks are also available in a 100-ct. quantity.