The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. Please click 'Ok' to hide this message.

Tarpaulins Direct – Size and Type Guide

Getting the right tarpaulin can be a tricky business. It’s important to get the right size tarp to suit the job (big enough to cover whatever you need it for basically). Then you need to know what grade or type is suitable for the particular task. Our friendly call centre staff (01904 698813) are here to help with advice on all your queries, however take a look at our tarp guide below for the basics.


Size Matters

Chances are you’re needing a tarp because you want to cover something. Maybe you just need to hang a tarp to cover or shelter a particular area, or as a floor or wall covering. In that case there’s no problem, you just need to measure the length x width of the area to be covered. Often though,  you need a tarp to cover a 3 dimensional object (a haystack for example). In that case measure the length and width of the top of the object you need to cover (you may need to estimate a little if it’s not a flat topped object). Next you need to consider how far down the object, you want the tarp to drape over (in our haystack example you may only need the tarp to come part way down the object as in the image below).




If you need the tarp to cover for instance 1 metre on all sides then just add 2 metres to your length and width measurement so that the tarp will drape down 1 metre on all four sides. If you need to cover the entire object then measure from the top of the object to the ground, times that by 2 and add that to the length and width measurements for the top.   …Now you have it covered. 

Factor in the Cut Size

Another important thing to consider is that tarpaulins are provided in what’s known as a ‘cut size.’ Cut size is an industry standard term which indicates the size of the tarp before it’s seamed, hemmed and eyeleted. This means that the final size of any tarp can be as much as 30cms shorter than the size stated. You need to factor this in when ordering your tarp. It’s of course best to err on the side of caution, so if you think things might be tight it’s best to order a slightly larger tarp size to avoid dealing with a shortfall. 

What Grade of Tarpaulin Do I Need?

Tarpaulins are graded and measured by GSM (Grams per Square Metre). This is basically a measure of the weight and thickness of the material from which the tarp is constructed. The higher the GSM number, the heavier, thicker and more robust the tarpaulin.

All our tarpaulins are waterproof, rot proof, UV protected with eyelets every metre and double edged, rope reinforced hems. They come in four main types:

  • Budget Tarpaulins – Budget tarpaulins come in 23 sizes, coloured in Dark Blue/Olive Green, with a 110gsm and a 10 x 10 sq. inch weave. Ideal for all those jobs around the home, they are strong, durable and suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Use to cover furniture/floors when decorating, garden furniture and equipment, transporting garden materials and waste, as a dust cover when DIYing or even as a wipe clean play sheet for the kids.
  • Topgrade Tarpaulins – Our Topgrade tarps are specially made from super strong, tightly woven polyethylene (PE), providing superb and long lasting protection from the elements. Extra versatile, topgrade tarps are durable yet surprisingly lightweight - making them suitable for industrial use in demanding environments as well as just for those tougher tasks at home. They come in green (favoured by farmers), blue (favoured by boating enthusiasts) and even white (often used on market stalls and similar, as they do allow some light through). Topgrade tarpaulins are 200gsm, 14 x 14 sq. inch weave, and available in 3 colours and 36 sizes.
  • Monotex Tarpaulins – Monotex Tarpaulins are just the job for industrial applications. These tarps are constructed to be strong! Comprised of a multi-filament grid sandwiched between 2 hard-wearing polyethylene sheets, they are available in 16 sizes and 2 colours; green and clear. Our green monotex tarps are often used by builders, to cover scaffolding or as temporary roof covers etc. The clear tarpaulins are often used for working under cover – for instance on boats in winter or on market stalls. Weighing in at 250gsm with a weave of 3.2 x 3.2 sq. inch, you’ll find these are the perfect sheet for just about any commercial use you care to think of.
  • Supergrade Tarpaulins – Supergrade tarpaulins are our toughest ever PE tarp!  (For a super-strong PVC tarpaulin try  our superb Profi Premium Tarps). Supergrade’s durablility comes from a tri-laminate weave and weighs in at 270gsm. Extremely versatile, these are black on one side and silver on the other, come in 14 sizes and are used for everything from ground sheets for camping to durable trailer covers and even as temporary roofing.

As well as our main tarps we also stock tarps and accessories for more specific uses; such as our Fence Tarps and Fence Nets which are specifically made to fit HERAS fencing, Cargo Nets for covering open containers, our flame retardant Flexi Tarp Expert and even the ideal tarp for covering your wood pile.

We hope this provides enough information to give you a good idea of the kind and size of tarp you need. If you still need more info just give our knowledgeable call centre staff a call on 01904 698813 and they will be happy to help.