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PVC Tarpaulins, Canvas tarp Vs Poly tarps – Which material is best?
We have been dealing with Westarp for some time now. They have proven to be a valued supplier of choice for our roll tarps and trailer canvas guards on our grain trailer range. Some of the reasons we chose Westarp includes their value for money and great customer service. Plus when we have undergone a short notice repair job we have been able to rely on Westarp to provide the occasional quick turnaround job so we could keep our customers moving.
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William Snellex (Base Fabrication)

PVC Tarpaulins, Canvas tarp Vs Poly tarps – Which material is best?

Today, tarps are one of the most versatile protective equipment available for different industries. You can use it to protect several products and equipment from harsh conditions, whether outdoor or indoor. Every industry needs to temporarily protect some area, machinery, and equipment before putting them to use. Often, building a complete shelter is neither feasible nor cost-effective. Tarpaulins are economical, durable, and easy solutions to withstand any adverse situation.

Roll Tarp for a Grain Tipper

Tarpaulin or Tarps (in short) are a large sheet of flexible and waterproof material. Earlier, Australian businesses had minimal options. However, nowadays, you can find different choices for tarp material. You can pick the best tarp fabric to match industry-specific applications. All these tarp fabrics deliver high-quality performance in industrial applications.


Although there are many varieties, industries mainly use three main types of tarps. These are poly tarps (made of polythene), canvas tarps, and PVC tarps (made of polyvinyl chloride). Depending on their types, you can use tarps as a tent, cover for transporting goods, groundsheet when camping, and many other things.

So, what are the differences among these varieties, and how can you pick the right one for your work?

Here is a detailed description of different types of tarps. You can compare canvas tarp vs poly tarp or vinyl tarp. If you need any further information and advice related to their application and usage, please get in touch with our team.

First, we will discuss the basic characteristics of these three types.

What are canvas tarpaulins?

  • Made up of duck-filled cotton canvas fabric of industrial-grade.
  • Lightweight and affordable.
  • For daily-routine coverage, they are good-to-go.
  • Used for trucking, painting, landscaping, construction, and farming needs.
  • Have reinforced grommets and corners.

What are Poly tarps?

  • Most commonly used tarpaulins.
  • Made up of plastic-based materials.
  • Suitable for outdoor use.
  • Affordable.
  • Completely waterproof, does not need any inner lining.
  • Economical option for temporary use.
  • Mainly used in agriculture and construction.
  • UV resistant and dirt repellent.
  • Easy to repair.
  • High resistance to tearing and abrasion.

If you compare canvas tarp vs poly tarp, you can see those poly tarps are better in tear strength and UV resistance. 

What are PVC tarps?

  • Also known as vinyl tarps.
  •  Most commonly used for truck tarps.
  • Made up of high-strength polyethylene terephthalate scrims and reinforced polyvinyl chloride laminate.
  • Versatile and can be used in different weather and chemical conditions.
  • Waterproof.
  • Resist UV rays.
  • Suitable for long-term use.
  • More flexible and thus resistant to flex crack.

Canvas Or PVC: Which One Is Better?

Both vinyl and canvas tarps are widely used and serve many purposes. However, some qualities make vinyl tarps a much better choice among tarps. Let’s see how-

Appearance and feel: Canvas tarps are rugged and made of natural material. Thus, they have a coarse texture and a matte look. On the other hand, Vinyl tarps are shiny, smooth, and have a rubber-like texture.

Durability: Both canvas and vinyl tarps are heavy-duty, durable tarpaulins. However, vinyl tarps are much more durable than canvas as they do not damage easily.

Resistance to environmental factors– Vinyl is waterproof, while canvas provides water resistance. Waterproof means the water cannot damage the material, while a water-resistant material can prevent water penetration to some extent. Also, vinyl tarps are more resistant to mould and mildew.

Another benefit of vinyl over the canvas is that PVC tarps are non-breathable. It means they do allow heat to enter. Further, vinyl tarps come with a protective layer that protects from the damaging effects of UV rays. Vinyl tarps can withstand cold temperatures better than canvas ones. Does your business require your products to go through very hot or cold environments? Don’t think much; go for vinyl tarps!

Price: The prices of the tarps can vary depending on the size and quality. In general, vinyl tarps are expensive. However, the lifespan of the product completely justifies the high price. Canvas tarps are cheaper, but they are prone to damage. On the other hand, PVC tarpaulins last for a longer time. If your budget allows you to spend a little more, don’t hesitate to pick a PVC tarp.

So If you compare canvas tarp vs poly tarp vs vinyl tarp, you can find that vinyl tarps are most suited for outdoors.  

Poly Or PVC Tarps: Which One Is Better?

Now let’s compare the different specifications of polythene tarps and PVC tarps. Though they are pretty similar in look and feel and do the same things, they are different due to their distinct strengths and weaknesses.

Material: The first difference comes due to the material. Poly tarps are made from low-density polyethylene or of high density, and vinyl tarps are made from polyethylene terephthalate coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film. Both of them can withstand challenging conditions, but their material brings a huge difference in their performance.

Resistant to environmental factors: As vinyl is a denser material, it makes it heavier. It is also more resistant to tearing, wind whip, and abrasion. If you are looking for a waterproof material, vinyl tarps are undoubtedly better. Being heavy-duty, you can use vinyl tarps in agricultural, industrial, and construction materials. If you need transport tarps, this is the best option. Poly tarps are breathable, and the air that enters creates a balloon effect. The trapped air makes it prone to tearing.

Price: You can get poly tarps at a slightly lower price than PVC tarps. However, not always, but in the case of PVC tarps, a higher price equals good quality. You will pay a little higher for PVC, but you will get a more durable, reliable, and usable material at that price. Now, what do you think would be a profitable deal?

High-quality tarps from Westarp

Businesses related to mining, transport, industrial, and agriculture always have a high demand for super heavy-duty tarps. If you are in any of these industries, you can get high-quality tarps from us. We are leading tarp manufacturers with specialisation in different PVC, Polyethylene, polypropylene tarpaulins. If you wish to do a comparative analysis of canvas tarp vs poly tarp vs PVC tarps, our experienced team can help. Our tarps match industry standards and are suitable for rough outdoor applications.

We can also provide customised solutions based on your applications. You can get in touch with our team for a quote. Send an inquiry today to or call us on 08 6607 7888 for an obligation-free quote.