Best year-round tarp for covering outdoor items?
September 6, 2016 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I've got a big wooden work table (with sharp corners) in my backyard and I keep it covered with one of those green tarps when not in use, but within a year the tarps start to fade/thin/shred/rip/leak. Is there a standard four season heavy duty tarp (or equivalent) that can last many years of wear?
posted by gwint to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Have you considered a patio table cover? They are definitely designed to sit out in all kinds of weather. Reviews of this one (picked at random) suggest that it might get dirty over time but still functional after several years.
posted by cabingirl at 11:25 AM on September 6, 2016

Boat cover material. This is what the travel cover on my tent trailer is made out of and it is supposed to have a 10+ year life time (I've only had the trailer four years but it is standing up no problem). Getting the cover fitted and edged is pretty cheap but you could just buy the raw material.

Alternatively is the table bigger than a sheet of plywood? If not a sheet a Coraplast is cheap, waterproof and will last years exposed to UV (even longer if you give it a couple coats of Fusion spray paint). It won't fold up like a tarp but it is very light.
posted by Mitheral at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2016

Seconding the boat cover material. We dry dock our small sailboat, so it has a cover on it all year except when we are actively sailing. In the winter we but put plastic tarps on top as well to help make sure no water gets in (the cover has holes for parts of the boat that poke out, so isn't completely waterproof, but building it for a flat table it should be pretty water tight). The tarps last a year or two, max, but the cover itself lasts for years and years.
posted by thejanna at 12:20 PM on September 6, 2016

I think you might want a canvas tarp. Definitely more expensive than a standard blue woven plastic tarp.
posted by TomFoolery at 2:03 PM on September 6, 2016

Canvas tarps are only water resistant not water proof. Especially if the tarp is laying directly on the table moisture will work it's way through soaking whatever is underneath. A Canvas tarp, especially if painted, will last for years but it would need to be tented over and away from the worktable.
posted by Mitheral at 7:03 PM on September 6, 2016

Do you cover it to keep it clean, dry, prevent sun damage or some combination of those? Waterproof covers seem like the obvious choice to keep something dry. However they trap condensation, creating a good environment for mold, mildew and rust.
posted by Homer42 at 5:22 AM on September 8, 2016

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