Preventing Rips In Fabric Tarp Systems

Tarps made for industrial transportation have to be tough, but they still face a risk of tearing as the vehicle they're on runs over bumpy road surfaces, causing the tarps and their restraints to pull and yank on weak areas. Preventing the tarp you use from ripping not only saves you money (because you don't have to replace it, and you don't have to clean up any spills on the roadway), but it also helps make your company look more professional as you haul materials. Preventing rips involves three strategies.

Grommets and Stitching

Look for tarps that have metal grommets around openings. While plastic grommets offer some protection against tears right at those openings, the plastic can break under a lot of stress. Metal grommets hold up better when faced with the intense pulling that happens when the weight of a tightly wrapped load pulls to one side as the vehicle goes around a curve, for example.

Also look at the stitching on the tarp. If you see plain thread in a single stitch, for example, that's not very strong. You want reinforced stitching in corners, along edges, around those grommets, and along any place where the tarp fabric connects to something else.

Inspections and Repairs

Inspect that tarp frequently. Giant rips don't appear out of nowhere; they usually start as small weak spots that gradually lose more strength until that one fatal movement creates a giant tear. Inspect tarps for fraying spots and tiny rips, and have those repaired—or get a new tarp.

Edges and Space

What you're carrying under the tarp is also very important to consider. If the tarp is covering something sharp, like concrete shards, those can rub against the underside of the tarp and wear away at the fabric. Also, if there is space between the tarp and the cargo, one good bump is all it takes to send that cargo flying up into the tarp. If that happens enough, the effect is similar to the cargo creating friction against the tarp. Remember to properly load cargo under your tarps so the tarp won't be damaged, and remember to check the underside of the tarp for damage, too.

Installing a rolling tarp system that is made from thick, well-constructed material—or even metal—is also a great way to avoid rips that send your cargo spilling out of the vehicle. You can get tarp systems custom made for your fleet to ensure the best fit.