Everything You Need To Know About Lumber Tarps

Published on 04/10/24

Flatbed Lumber Tarp on Flatbed Trailer While Loading  Lodi Metals

What Are Flatbed Lumber Tarps?

Flatbed Lumber Tarps are specifically designed for flatbed trailers to protect lumber, construction materials, and other general cargo from weather and road debris while going down the road. Lumber Tarps are made from 18 oz PVC coated fabric material that is cold crack rated to -40° C/F to ensure that the tarps hold up in a wide range of temperatures while on the road.

Lumber Tarps differ from traditional tarps that you may find around the house as they are made with more materials and are extremely heavy-duty and durable. This is because lumber tarps have to withstand strong winds, rain, snow, and ice without the risk of fraying and protecting the cargo beneath them without any chance of the cargo becoming damaged.

One of the most challenging parts of being a flatbed trucker is telling the customer that the cargo you were trusted to transport has become damaged while on the road. This results in upset customers, damage claims, and wasted time for the driver and the customer. When hauling lumber on open trailers such as flatbeds it is crucial to ensure that water, road debris, snow, or ice do not come in contact with your lumber or cargo on the road as water damage, scratches, dents, dings, or discoloration can cause the load to be unusable.

Flatbed Lumber Tarp Product Picture  Lodi Metals

The Benefits of Using Flatbed Lumber Tarps

One of the largest benefits of using lumber tarps is the ability to protect the sensitive wooden surfaces underneath the tarp system so that when they arrive to the customer they are damage-free and in the same condition they left the original destination in. Lumber tarps are reusable and are designed to last while facing harsh weather, road conditions, and strong winds while on the road.

While the upfront cost may seem expensive it is normally much cheaper to buy a high-quality and reputable lumber tarp than to purchase a cheaper flatbed tarp and purchase it twice when it ultimately becomes damaged from not being able to keep up with the harsh repetitive usage. When comparing prices make sure to check the material that is used and the weight of the tarp system so that you fully understand the quality of the lumber tarp can offer.

High-quality tarps are almost always made from 18 oz coated fabric due to the protection and water resistance. It also is designed not to crack compared to other materials until -40° C/F and can be used in extreme cold or extreme heat. Made with welded and reinforced hems with grommets that are spaced every 24 inches and two additional rows of d rings located at 24 inches and 48 inches from the edges (sides and rear flap).

Close up of reinforced hems and d rings on lumber tarp  Lodi Metals

How To Secure A Lumber Tarp on a Flatbed Trailer

When securing a lumber tarp on a flatbed trailer, you should first ensure you have all the materials you need. We recommend having the lumber tarp, tie-down straps of choice, corner protectors, and rubber tarp straps.

• First, load the trailer with the cargo you plan on securing. Ensure it is centered on the trailer and the weight of the cargo is distributed to the ideal locations to stay in compliance with the Department of Transportation (DOT). Then begin securing the load in place with the tie-down strap of choice either flatbed winch straps or ratchet straps depending on how your flatbed trailer is equipped. We also recommend the use of corner protectors as they help protect your straps and tarps from sharp edges.

• Before putting the lumber tarp on the trailer you should perform a quick inspection before and after every use to inspect for damage. Tarps that receive damage can be repaired fairly cheaply if caught quickly. This can help you avoid an otherwise costly replacement tarp. You will want to look for tears, discoloration, burn marks, mold, mildew, or any other visible damage.

• Next, cover the load with the lumber tarp. Make sure that the cargo is entirely covered by the tarp system as even the slightest bit of water can cause water damage to sensitive lumber and cause it to be completely ruined. Make sure that your reinforced hems and d-rings are outward facing as you will want to secure to these locations to ensure a proper tarp securement.

• Once the tarp has become fully secured with Rubber Tarp Straps you should then make sure to inspect the tarp for any areas that may need additional tarp straps to ensure that tarp does not come unsecured while moving down the roads or when facing strong winds.

If a rubber tarp strap comes undone while on the road or the tarp begins to flap in the wind you should pull over when it is safe to do so and resecure the lumber tarp and make adjustments as needed. By following these steps you can ensure that your cargo arrives in good condition and without damage.

Lumber Tarp 268217 x 248217 Product Picture  Lodi Metals

Shop Our Popular Flatbed Tarps and Supplies


Cold Crack to -40° C/F
18 oz Coated Fabric


Cold Crack to -40° C/F
18 oz Coated Fabric


Cold Crack to -40° C/F
18 oz Coated Fabric


Cold Crack to -40° C/F
18 oz Coated Fabric


Cold Crack to -40° C/F
18 oz Coated Fabric


For 4-inch Straps
WHITE Plastic


Black in Color
7.75 on Each Side


39” long x 2.75” wide
33” between stops


Rubber Straps
Box of 50 Pieces

Flatbed Lumber Tarp Installed on Trailer

Frequently Asked Flatbed Lumber Tarp Questions

Are Lumber Tarps Waterproof? – While lumber tarps are not fully waterproof they are designed to be water resistant and protect the cargo secured under the lumber tarps from moisture, road debris, and grime when they are secured properly. The 18 oz PVC-coated fabric provides thick layers of water-resistant fabric which helps to keep moisture away from lumber or other cargo being secured.

Can Lumber Tarps Be Used to Secure General Cargo on Flatbeds? – While the main purpose for lumber tarps is primarily lumber and building supplies they can be used for any combination of cargo that can be secured beneath them. Lumber tarps are extremely flexible for those who are looking to secure a wide variety of different cargo from day to day.

Are Heavy-Duty Flatbed Tarps Worth The Price? – This tends to be personal preference but it tends to be cheaper long term to purchase a higher quality and reputable flatbed tarp than purchasing a cheaper flatbed tarp and need to replace it later down the road. You can tell if a flatbed tarp is quality by the weight of the tarp and the materials that are used as well as if they use 18 oz PVC coated fabric or not.

How Much Do Lumber Tarps Weigh? – This can depend on factors such as the length, width, and size of the drop on the lumber tarp. Typically speaking you can expect a heavy-duty tarp to weigh between 72 lbs to 98 lbs for a high-quality lumber tarp. The color of the lumber tarp does not change the weight of the tarp.

Can Lumber Tarps Be Cleaned? – Yes, lumber tarps can be cleaned from road grime, dust, dirt, pollen, water spots, mold, mildew, and more. You will want to refer to your tarp manufacturer’s general instructions on how to clean your flatbed tarp safely. You can view our full guide on how to properly clean and remove mold and mildew in our blog post How to Clean Flatbed Tarps Safely from Mold and Debris.