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Lumber Tarp
Specialty Truck Bed Tarps:
Protecting Your Loads of Lumber, Steel,
and Coil

Truckers who need to cover expensive loads rely on flatbed tarps that are specially made to provide both durability and a snug fit. Making the right choice for your job can mean the difference between a successful or a trouble-filled trip.


Designed for lumber or steel loads, trailer tarps are made of heavy duty vinyl or PVC-coated fabric. And they carry 2 or 3 rows of D-rings that run the length of the tarp depending on the drop size, or height, of the tarp.

  • A lumber tarp tends to be larger, and has a flap at the end to cover the ends of lumber stack.
  • The steel tarp, designed for the lower profile loads of steel cables, rods, sheets has shorter sides, and can be found with or without a flap.

Hauling Lumber

Semi Trailer TarpA load of lumber must not only be secured to the truck bed, but must also be protected from damage by rain, snow, and the sun's UV rays.

Lumber tarps for flatbeds are designed to accommodate loads up to eight feet above the bed of the truck, with 2 side flaps and 1 tail flap to protect the corners of the wood. The first row of D-rings runs 2-3 feet above the hem, and the next 1 or 2 rows, run another 2-3 feet above that.

The most common sizes are 24 ' x 26 ', or 24' x 30'. And if you butt the non-flap ends together, two tarps will cover a 48' load with flaps on both ends.

The most common material is vinyl or super heavy duty polyethylene. Both materials are durable but heavy, and usually found in 10 - 20 ounce weight ranges. Total weight is close to 100 lbs per tarp. Since a lumber tarp must be spread out and tied down manually, weight is an important consideration.

Lightweight versions are available with the heaviest fabric in the center panel, and lighter material on sides. Mytee tarps has a lightweight version that is made with a PVC-coated vinyl fabric that provides heavy duty performance at 25 % lesser weight.

Steel Tarps

Steel TarpaulinThese tarps are used to secure loads of sheet metal, cable, and construction bars. They are cut from heavy-duty vinyl, typically a 14 to 18 ounce material. A steel tarp will typically weight about 50 pounds.

A steel tarp generally comes in lengths of 25 feet, with widths ranging from 14 - 18 feet, so they will usually have a 4' side drop on an 8' wide load. They come with 2 rows of "D" rings, with the first row placed 18 to 24 inches above the hem. Typically the rings are sewn in under rows of belt webbing for extra strength. Many tarps are also treated with a special chemical coating to ensure that they can withstand extreme temperatures.

Coil Bags/Tarps

While there are those experienced truckers who prefer to just tent their coil loads with a square tarp, many others swear by their coil tarp bags.

Designed to keep loads of steel coils secure on flatbed trucks, coil tarps can save time and effort in providing a tight, protective cover with much less effort compared to wrapping those coils in large square tarpaulins.

The standard design is a fitted front and rear, with grommets along the bottom, and D rings on all sides. Some have slits on the corners for your chains to slide through. Typical size is 6 x 6 x 6.


Where To Get Them

It might surprise you but Amazon has one of the best selections of all 3 types of semi trailer tarps described above. Take a look at the quality and great prices. We especially like the 3 piece lumber tarp set from Mytee tarps. The individual pieces are lighter and easier to handle, yet each is made with the same tough 18 oz vinyl material.

For More Information:

Tarps: An overview of the main choices in protective tarp coversings: polyethylene, canvas, and mesh.

Poly Tarps: For more information on types of poly tarps, and some recommended suppliers.

Mesh Tarps: The choice when you need airflow and modest shade, and where water proofing is not required.


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