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I really like having a tarp! It is one of the most versatile tools that you can have in your backyard. You can cover things (boats, cars, plants) with it, you can use it as a slip and slide, and you can even use it for arts and crafts. However there are also tons of other questions that people may have about what a tarp is able to do, and that is why we have put this article together. Did you know these things?

1. Can tarps keep heat in?

Tarps in general do not retain heat on an effective level! That said, the tarp that will keep things warm the most will black tarps. The black color has a tendency to attract heat, and whatever that tarp is covering will benefit from that heat being drawn in. However as mentioned before, tarps are not exactly the best case scenario if you are looking to retain heat.

If your plan is to cover up plants at night in the cold weather, a tarp will assist in the fact that frost will not form on the plants to keep them alive. However it will not introduce any heat, and if it gets cold enough it will still harm the plants underneath.

Instead, you should look into getting greenhouse style covers for your plants to keep them going longer during the cold months!

2. Can tarps be washed?

If your tarp gets dirty from laying in the mud, being used while working on your car, or for whatever other purpose you use your tarp for, it can easily be washed! Tarps are made mostly of plastic, which repels water well, this also means it has little to no drying time.

The easiest way to wash a tarp is with a pressure washer, or just a garden hose! You can blast away anything that has found its way onto the tarp, to then use it for whatever other purpose you have for it. That is one of the most awesome things about tarps, easy to wash, easy to use!

3. Can tarps be used to cover plants?

We discussed this a bit already, however tarps can actually be used to cover up plants to extend the growing season! That said, this is not a long term solution and only helps with frost settling on the plants during the night. Once it gets cold enough, you will need to find a better solution that will allow for heat retention as well as allow for light to make its way to the plants themselves.

4. Can tarps hold water?

This may be surprising, however tarps are actually not waterproof, and don’t perfectly hold water! They are able to hold water for short periods of time, however because they are built by using a weave of plastic strips, tarps will eventually allow water through.

That is why, if you are using it to cover things like a boat, ATV, your grill, etc., you will want to make sure water is able to run off of it, and not able to pool up! If the water is able to pool up, it will find its way through your tarp and onto the thing you are trying to keep water off of. If you want something truly waterproof, I would recommend something like a thick solid plastic sheet.

That said, tarps do a great job, as long as you don’t allow the water to pool up.

5. Can tarps be cut?

Tarps are such a versatile tool that can be used for so many things! If you have a tarp that is just too big for the task, you can easily cut it with a knife or scissors. The main downside to this, is that the tarp will be able to fray along that portion of the tarp that was cut. Because of this you can actually purchase tarp tape. This tape will allow you to fold over the tarp, and tape it to make sure the different strips that are the tarp do not fray and break down.

6. Can tarps be painted?

Tarps can actually be painted! If you are unable to find a color that works for you, or are just wanting to use your tarp to create art, you can paint your tarp the desired color.


So there you have it! That was 6 questions answered about one of my favorite backyard tools, the tarp! If you don’t have a tarp at the moment, you might want to consider buying one for your tool selection. It allows you to cover so many things up, from boats to plants!