Tarpaulins, also known as Tarps, are a water-proof sheeting material commonly made from canvas, polyester, nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. They are used as a provisional shelter for goods, projects, floors and more, to protect from wind, rain, sunlight exposure and other weather conditions.

Poly Tarpaulin is often used to cover building projects such as unfinished roofing or construction materials to prevent damage. They are constructed using our Ball Bungees and Poly Rope.

Tarpaulins are measured with GSM to determine heaviness and density, it stands for "grams per square meter". It is important for consumers to know the weight of fabrics and materials to be able to gauge density. When buying Tarpaulin it is essential to know the GSM. Heavier Tarps have more durability and strength depending on the material and amount of layers.

Tarpaulin covering timber logs

Understanding Tarpaulin and GSM

Definition of Tarpaulin and GSM

Tarpaulin is a protective sheet used to cover objects and buildings, often only used as a short-term solution. You may find Tarpaulin sheets being used for outdoor ventures like camping and emergency shelters.

People use GSM to determine the density and weight of a textile, this is useful for understanding what a fabric can be used for and how much pressure and stress it can withstand. The heaviness of a material is dependent on its GSM grams per square metre, which effects what it can be used for and how long it will last.

Tarpaulin carrying leaves for gardening
Tarps covering hay bails

Basics of Tarpaulin GSM

The grams per square metre is an important factor when choosing the right Tarpaulin for your project. The durability and quality of a Tarp is impacted by the weight, a higher GSM leads to a thicker and more robust material. You may opt for a higher GSM Tarpaulin Sheet if you are looking to cover expensive materials or projects. Lighter Tarpaulin Sheets with a lower GSM grams per square metre are easier to transport but are not usually as long lasting.

30-150 GSM is usually considered to be a light weight fabric, 150-350 GSM is a medium weight fabric and anything above 350 GSM is a heavy weight fabric.

Lightweight Poly Tarps tend to be used for smaller short-term projects, such as covering building materials, logs or garden furniture, and are easy to transport and store. Heavy duty tarpaulin is considered a more robust, stronger Tarp choice for temporary roof covers and to protect more expensive equipment.

Tarpaulin shelter in forest

Benefits of Using Tarp

Using a Poly Tarpaulin has many benefits, it is a cost-effective way to provide protection of many different projects. Tarps can be used for a whole range of applications and are a versatile solution to many issues.

Depending on the weight, tarpaulin sheets can be used in an agricultural area, for transportation, home construction and events to cover furniture, building goods, roofs, unfinished projects, cars and lots more.

A main benefit of Poly Tarpaulin is the protection it provides against harsh weathers, moisture, UV and damage from other sources. It's versatility and durability means you can reuse your Tarp for multiple applications.

Tarpaulin green close up

FAQs - Addressing Popular Questions


170 GSM Tarpualin is our Standard Tarp range and one of the best GSM for Tarpaulin, whilst still only providing a provisional solution it is more durable, heavier duty and stronger than our Lightweight Tarp.

Our Standard Polyethylene Tarpaulin is waterproof and provides preservation for a variety of applications, including camping, ground sheets, protecting tools and construction materials, transportation of goods and building projects. If you are looking for a strong and effective method to protect and store goods, 170 GSM Tarpaulin is a dependable choice.


Waterproof Tarp can come in a range of GSMs, our Lightweight, Standard and Heavy Duty Tarpaulin all provide waterproof protection. It is important to have Waterproof Poly Tarps as they are used to provide protection to your products and projects from heavy rain and other weather conditions. When covering furniture and valuable goods, it is important to have a waterproof material, so our Waterproof Tarps are perfect.

In conclusion, Polyethylene Tarp is strong, inexpensive and rot proof choice to keep projects safe from water damage. Covering furniture, tools and roofing are just a few applications that require water-proofing.

Tarpaulin tent covering in woods

How thick is 270 gsm tarpaulin?

270 GSM Tarpaulins are a Heavy Tarp that have a higher thread count and are one of the thickest Tarpaulins available. Heavy Duty Tarpaulins are commonly used to make temporary roof coverings and for covering floors in construction sites.

It is not possible to determine the thickness of a Polyethylene Tarpaulin solely by the grams per square metre, however, it is probable that a higher GSM number indicates a thicker Tarp. 270 GSM Heavy Duty Tarp is our heaviest in the range, therefore, suggests this is also our thickest Tarp.

Tarp temporary roof covering

Which GSM tarpaulin is best?

The best Tarp for you depends on what your use for it is, all of our Tarps have multiple uses and can be used in many projects.

If you are looking for a easy transportable and general-use Tarp, our Lightweight option is the best example. Our Standard Poly Tarps are of medium density and provide a longer lasting cover with more durability than lighter variants; they are also resistant to mildew. Our Heavy Tarps are a great option if you need a longer-term solution and are protecting valuable cargo, they can often be seen being used as temporary roof coverings on building projects.

Tarpaulin on boat in water

Differences in GSM and Their Applications

Each of our Tarps have their own benefits, dependent on your required uses and the length can be chosen from several options.

  • Lightweight Tarpaulin - The lightest of our Tarps at 80gsm, this sheeting is versatile and easy to transport. As an example, you can use these Tarpaulin Sheets to create emergency shelters as they do not take up much space when transporting and can be easily carried. They are also useful for outdoor activities and general home/garden use.

  • Our 170gsm Tarps are the Standard option, sitting in between the lighter and heavier choices. Suitable uses of Standard Tarpaulins include sheltering agricultural materials, garden furniture, DIY projects and building products.

  • Tarpaulin of 270gsm is considered Heavyweight Tarp, this is used for larger, longer term projects that require extra preservation from weather and other possible damaging factors. With a high thread count, 270gsm Tarp is robust and provides a substantial barrier whilst being rot resistant.

Tarpaulin on boats

Specific GSM Recommendations for Different Scenarios

  • For general domestic use in your home and garden, our Lightweight Tarpaulin is recommended. It is an easily transported product that will not take up too much space to store and will come in handy for many DIY projects.

  • If you are looking for a Tarp option for DIY projects, construction sites and storing buildings supplies, our Standard Tarpaulin is a great fit. Other applications include groundsheets, camping and agricultural covers.

  • When it comes to larger scale projects that require extra care, our Heavy Duty Tarpaulin is a excellent choice. Often used for roof covers and for industrial, it is considered a durable and resistant textile to keep your goods safe, covered and resistant to rotting.

Specifications and Measurements

Tarpaulin Sizes (Width, Height, and Inches)

Tarps come in a range of sizes, so it depends on your individual requirements. Cladco Tarpaulin comes in a variety of sizes throughout the range. The sizes of sheets available depend on the type of Tarpaulin you are looking for but they can range from 1.2 metres up to a large Tarp of 17 metres.

Weight Calculation for Tarpaulins

To measure the GSM of your Tarpaulin simply divide the total weight by the squared metres of the sheet.

Thickness of Different GSM Tarpaulins

Although it is not suggested to rely on the GSM to reveal how thick a Tarpaulin is, it is reasonable to assume that the higher the GSM number is, the thicker the Tarp will be. 270 GSM Tarp is our heaviest in the collection, which advises that this is our thickest Tarp and our Light Tarp is our least thick.

Tarpaulin with leaves gardening tools

Tarpaulin Use Cases

Best-Use Cases for Each Material Type

A Tarpaulin Sheet comes in a range of different materials. This includes:

  • Polyethylene - A cost-effective woven textile that supplies waterproofing, durable and strong properties. Cladco Poly Tarps come in three weights to suit your needs and provide the best service.

  • Canvas - This type of Tarp is usually fire resistant and is commonly used for canopies, tents and coverings. Often treated with a wax and oil, canvas tarps become repellant to water.

  • PVC - A water and climate resistant choice, PVC Tarps are frequently used in horticulture, to cover a roof and sheltering a delicate surface. PVC Tarpaulin is a long lasting option for many. PVC stands for Polyvinyl chloride and comes in rigid and flexible forms.


When it comes to selecting a Tarpaulin for your projects, it is important to consider the GSM number. A Tarpaulin Sheet can be utilised in many ways, and the GSM can indicate how thick and durable it may be. A Tarp with higher grams per square meter is regularly stronger and more enduring to wind, rain and harsher climates. For indoor and short-term projects, a Lightweight Tarp is a suitable choice. For longer-term and outdoor projects, Heavy Duty Tarpaulins are more appropriate.

If you are unsure which GSM of Tarpaulin to select, it will be useful to refer back to this information to give you a rounded collection of data for all Tarp choices. If in the future you have other needs for your Tarp, please consult this blog for help and advice.

Explore our Full Range of Tarpaulins today.