Today's article will compare poly tarps with vinyl tarps and provide some key differences in how the materials are designed, as well as their pricing ranges and usage. Polye and vinyl fabrics are two popular materials that have unique characteristics. It is important to understand the differences between poly and vinyl fabric in order to make the right choose when purchasing a new tarp. Factors such as comfort, maintenance requirements, environmental impact, and intended applications should be considered when making a decision.
We can organize tarps by their material, thickness, and weight. Their sub types can be further divided depending on the insulation or strengthening qualities. The most common materials are vinyl and poly(polypropylene). They provide different levels of protection, and we will discuss that below.
One area where the differences are barely noticeable is how they look. Both polyester and vinyl tarps come with similar looks. Vinyl and polyester are highly-customizable materials; their appearance and colors match perfectly. However, the differences start being noticeable when these materials are put up to the test. Which one of them is stronger, and by how much?
Polypropylene Tarps: Issues
Limited Strength and Tear Resistance
Polypropylene tarps are often manufactured using a woven construction method that leaves them vulnerable to tearing and stretching under pressure. While they may initially appear sturdy, prolonged exposure to harsh weather or heavy objects can cause these tarps to deteriorate rapidly, compromising their effectiveness as protective coverings. Should a sharp object come in contact with a these tarps, it will tear them with ease. You will need to repair the tarp many times with duct tape. The result will be a very short life span. Holes start showing up immediately.
Lack of Breathability
Another drawback of polypropylene tarps is their lack of breathability. These tarps don't allow air to circulate freely, which can result in the buildup of moisture and condensation underneath. This trapped moisture can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew, posing health risks and further compromising the tarps.
Cheap edging can lead to many issues, and these tarps have very bad edging usually. Tension on the grommets will make separate the edging the rest of the material. For this reason, poly tarps are not considered as wind-proof.
While polypropylene tarps may provide temporary relief from the elements, extended exposure to sunlight can lead to significant damage. UV rays can cause the material to degrade, resulting in diminished strength and a reduced lifespan. Vulnerability to UV damage makes polypropylene tarps bad for long-term use.
Super Thin Material
Everyone can see through poly tarps while the vinyl tarp are completely opaque. Poly tarps have a very light weight nature which often results ripping. The lack of weight will have them blown away by the wind.
Grommets, Seams, and Stability
Even after a week of use, some grommets will be missing. The tarps are very weak and very little power is enough to have them pull off. Once a grommet is gone, you have a point of failure and cannot use it. The seams are not very strong either and will fail if you want to carry huge weights. Unlike polypropylene, vinyl tarps have a substantial weight.
Despite their affordability, polypropylene tarps are not versatile. Their limited strength, tear resistance, and waterproofing abilities make them unsuitable for demanding tasks. Choosing alternative tarp materials with superior properties, such as polyethylene or PVC, can provide better protection and longevity.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: The Basics
Are both materials build different?
The two most common tarp materials are poly and vinyl. Some differences exist, but vinyl has the key advantages.
Vinyl tarps are renowned for being robust and long-lasting. They are appropriate for prolonged outdoor use because to their exceptional resistance to UV radiation. They are perfect for heavy-duty applications because they have excellent resilience to tearing and abrasion. It can also be easier to handle and carry because they are often lighter in weight than poly tarps can ever be. They are frequently chosen for usage in industrial, agricultural, and construction contexts where exposure to challenging circumstances is frequent.
The decision between vinyl and polyester tarps ultimately comes down to your budget and particular requirements. Polyester can be the best material if you need a tarp that is strong enough to endure frequent use.
Vinyl is carefully sewed into a single, strong structure while poly rips with ease.
Making an informed choice will be aided by considering elements like weather resistance, durability, and intended use. In the end, vinyl's ability to withstand varying weather conditions make it amazing for protecting sensitive items, such as expensive equipment, fragile cargo, and supplies.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: Design
Are both materials unique?
Poly tarps use woven polyethylene with a polyethylene laminate. Vinyl tarps use polyethylene terephthalate scrims with a polyvinyl chloride film laminate.
Vinyl tarps are heavier in their nature and thus used in more heavy-duty operations. Vinyl has higher density and is remarkably strong. It is resistant to abrasion, tearing, mold, mildew, and wind whip. With higher thicknesses, vinyl can withstand super harsh weather for long exposures.
Poly is designed from a common plastic material and thus lacks in quality. It is not suited for harsh outdoor environments. Poly tarps have the potential to be waterproof, but are better off for lighter applications. This is not to say poly is useless. Poly tarps can be used for light operations or temporary use.
Poly tarps perform worse in all aspects. Investing in polypropylene tarps is not advisable and it is worth considering exploring alternative options that offer superior quality and performance.
With vinyl tarps having better durability and resistances, they will naturally cost more. As such, they are not cost-effective for smaller, light-duty operations, but perform well against heavy rain, snow, strong winds, insects, pests, and flying debris. Exact pricing will be discussed further below.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: Quality
Which One Has Better Quality?
In the above section we already came to the conclusion that vinyl is tougher than poly. Naturally, vinyl has better quality and by far! But, is that increase in power really worth it?
Yes. 100 percent yes. Vinyl tarps far exceed polypropylene tarps when it comes to quality. They are made to resist harsh outdoor environments, as they are produced industrial strength in mind. This allows for a high level of protection, being able to resist against external elements, such as water, oil, grease, acid and mildew. Certain Vinyl tarps can also be flame retardant, have built-in UV protection and are not likely to rip or tear.
Polypropylene tarps might be affordable, but they are not versatile. Their limited strength, tear resistance, and waterproofing abilities make them unsuitable for demanding tasks. Choosing alternative tarp materials with superior properties, such as polyethylene or PVC, can provide better protection and longevity.
18oz vinyl is the most sold Alco material and for a good reason - it is an extremely durable and long-lasting material. We make our covers out of 12 and 18 oz vinyl, which is slightly thinner so that it is more flexible and not so stiff. Same material, just a thinner weight. I hope this information helps you in making a decision about purchasing our covers.
One of the key advantages of vinyl tarps is their exceptional durability. Whether you need to shelter your outdoor furniture, vehicles, or construction materials, vinyl tarps offer long-lasting protection that will withstand the test of time.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: Drying Time
Which One Dries Faster??
Polypropylene Tarps: Longer Drying Time
Polypropylene tarps have low water resistance, which makes them risky to use. They do not dry quickly after exposure to rain or other forms of moisture. The lightweight nature of polypropylene tarps reduces water resistance.
Vinyl Tarps: Quick Drying Time
Vinyl tarps offer exceptional waterproofing, and they can also dry off easier due to their superior construction. The additional weight and density of vinyl tarps make them less permeable to air, resulting in a longer drying time. It is important to factor in this characteristic when considering vinyl tarps for applications where quick drying is essential.
Moisture Protection: Vinyl Advantage
When it comes to applications requiring superior moisture protection, such as covering boats or protecting construction materials, vinyl tarps are the way to go. While they may take longer to dry, their exceptional waterproofing abilities offer the necessary protection.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: Pricing
Is One Material More Cost-Efficient?
Does the increase in quality correspond with a fair increase in price? Most vinyl tarps can range from $22-$2,200 depending on their size and layout. Large industrial tarps could go a bit more than that.
Poly tarps are inexpensive compared to vinyl. This is so because of their short life-span and lower resistances to the elements. Poly tarps are commonly sold for anywhere between $12-$450 depending on their size and layout.
Cost-efficiency is also in favor of vinyl. The longevity and protection far outweighs any price cuts. A single vinyl tarp will last for many years and pay its cost back many times over. You could conciser it as an investment. Poly becomes viable for more decorative applications or if you need a tarp for a small period of time, and preferable indoor use.
Beneath the exterior hide many issues. The tarps can be damaged by pretty much anything, and purchasing them is unwise.
To add another point against polypropylene tarps - vinyl tarps are much easier to resize, customize, can have any color, and are easily repurposed for whatever application you need them.
Ultimately, it is up to the client to decide. We strongly suggest vinyl tarps. Polypropylene tarps should be considered for very niche applications like the ones mentioned in the next part of our article.
Polyester Vs Vinyl: Applications
Vinyl tarps are great for heavy-duty use. This includes harsh outdoor weather:
- Industrial applications
- Construction and excavation field
- Baseball fields, soccer fields, and gyms
- Storm protection and forecast
- Commercial outdoor use
- Shelters for families and much more
Poly tarps are sometimes used for temporary or light-duty use. Even then, lightweight vinyl is preferable:
- Maintenance environments
- Picnics and campgrounds
- Roof tear-offs
- Ground and lawn sheets
- Privacy walls
We deem vinyl tarps as the obvious choice for most applications. They offer amazing reassurance; guaranteeing moisture, mold, mildew, and other elements can never pass through. Their quality is amazing and well-worth. Their longevity will pay dividends in the long run.
Vinyl tarps are ideal for tough use. That is true especially for outdoor use because of vinyl's strength, sturdiness, and resistance properties. Common applications include docks, construction sites, excavation fields, gyms, landscaping, shelters, patio bars, and more. Their ability to withstand varying weather conditions makes them amazing for protecting sensitive items, such as expensive equipment, fragile cargo, and supplies.
Poly tarps perform much worse in all aspects. Think twice before investing in polypropylene tarps and consider choosing vinyl which offers superior quality and performance. It is essential to consider any drawbacks before purchasing polypropylene tarps. By opting for alternative tarp materials, you can ensure better protection, environmental sustainability, and peace of mind.