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PE Tarpaulin vs. PVC Tarpaulin: A Comparison

Aug. 07, 2023

Tarpaulins, commonly referred to as tarps, are versatile and durable materials used for a wide range of applications, including covering, protecting, and sheltering objects and spaces from various environmental factors. Two popular types of tarpaulins are PE (Polyethylene) tarpaulin and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) tarpaulin. Understanding the differences between these materials can help you make an informed choice based on your specific needs and requirements.

Material Composition

  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins are made from woven polyethylene fabric, which is coated with a layer of polyethylene on both sides. This creates a lightweight yet durable material. 

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarpaulins are composed of a woven polyester fabric that is coated with PVC on both sides. PVC provides additional strength and durability.

    Camouflage PE Tarpaulin

Camouflage PE Tarpaulin

Strength and Durability

  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins offer decent strength and durability, making them suitable for lightweight to medium-duty applications. They are resistant to tearing and can withstand moderate weather conditions. 

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarpaulins are known for their high strength and durability. They are more resistant to abrasion, tearing, and punctures, making them suitable for heavy-duty and industrial applications. PVC tarps also have excellent UV resistance.

Water Resistance

  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins are water-resistant, providing basic protection against rain and moisture. However, they may not be as effective in heavy rain or prolonged wet conditions. 

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarpaulins offer superior water resistance and are often used in applications where waterproofing is crucial. They are highly effective in repelling water and preventing leaks.

UV Resistance

  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins have moderate UV resistance and may gradually degrade when exposed to prolonged sunlight. They are suitable for short-term outdoor use. 

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarpaulins have excellent UV resistance, making them well-suited for long-term outdoor use. They can withstand exposure to sunlight without significant degradation.

Camouflage PE Tarpaulin

 Camouflage PE Tarpaulin

Flexibility and Weight

  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins are lightweight and offer good flexibility. They are easy to handle and fold, making them suitable for applications where frequent setup and removal are required. 

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarpaulins are more rigid and slightly heavier compared to PE tarps. While they may be less flexible, their added weight contributes to their durability.


  • PE Tarpaulin: PE tarpaulins are generally more affordable compared to PVC tarps. They are a cost-effective option for less demanding applications.

  • PVC Tarpaulin: PVC tarps are often more expensive due to their enhanced durability, UV resistance, and overall performance.


The choice between PE tarpaulin and PVC tarpaulin depends on your specific needs and the intended application. PE tarps are suitable for lightweight to medium-duty tasks where cost-effectiveness is a priority. On the other hand, PVC tarps are preferred for heavy-duty applications that require high strength, durability, superior water resistance, and extended UV protection. Evaluating the characteristics of both materials will help you select the tarpaulin that best aligns with your requirements and offers optimal performance.