The Differences Between Flatbed Lumber Tarps and Steel Tarps

Published on 01/24/23

Flatbed Tarp System Installed on Flatbed Trailer protecting cargo

What are Flatbed Tarp Systems?

Flatbed tarp systems are a way to cover and protect cargo on flatbed trailers during transport. They typically include a tarp and a way to put the tarp on and take it off the cargo. The tarp systems help keep the cargo dry from the elements such as rain, wind, and direct sunlight. Without the use of Flatbed Tarp Systems materials such as road grime, dust, dirt, mud, or rainwater could potentially damage or even destroy the wooden construction materials or cause the steel to corrode over time.

There is nothing worse than loading cargo and delivering it to a customer only to find out that it has become damaged in transit causing a loss of time, destroyed product, and angry customers. Tarp systems were created to help provide a safety barrier between the elements and grime you may face while transporting your cargo along the way to the next destination. Not only do the flatbed tarps provide great levels of protection, but they can also help you keep your cargo neatly organized and provide you with making the most out of the available space on your flatbed trailer to make fewer trips.

Flatbed Tarps are made from extremely durable polyethylene which is designed to protect against extreme wind and water to ensure the cargo does not become damaged from water damage or other elements while being on the roads for extended periods. They are also cold crack rated to Cold Crack to -40° C/F and made from 18 oz Coated Fabric to provide heavy-duty strength and durability. Our Tarp Systems feature D rings that are located 24 inches and 48 inches from the edges (sides and rear flap) to help keep the tarp secured and prevent the tarp from flapping around in the wind while going down the road.

If you have any questions about Flatbed Tarp Systems and don’t find the information or tarp system you are looking for you can give our experts a call today by contacting us at 800-807-5634 or by using our online contact us form located at the top of the website.

Flatbed Lumber Tarp Installed on Trailer

The Differences Between Flatbed Lumber Tarps and Steel Tarps

Flatbed Lumber Tarps – Flatbed lumber tarps are designed specifically to protect wood products like lumber during transportation on flatbed trailers. They are made of heavy-duty and waterproof materials and have reinforced corners and grommets. This makes them extremely strong and durable to help keep your load dry and secure in any weather. Don’t risk losing your precious cargo, trust in the strength of our flatbed lumber tarps.

Flatbed Steel Tarps – Flatbed steel tarps are not your average run-of-the-mill flatbed tarps. These bad boys are made from heavy-duty PVC fabric materials that are cold crack rated to -40° C/F and made from 18 oz coated fabric, built to endure even the toughest transportation conditions and protect your cargo from the elements. These tarps are the go-to choice for hauling heavy, abrasive loads like rocks, gravel, scrap metal, and construction materials. Plus the mesh design allows for optimal ventilation of your cargo which helps to make inspections a breeze.

Flatbed Trailer without a tarp installed

What Size Flatbed Tarp Do I Need for My Flatbed Trailer?

Hot Shot Trucking Tarps – 20’ Wide x 22’ Long – The Drop can depend on the cargo that is being secured but commonly 4’ Drop for Hot Shot Flatbed Trailers.

Flatbed Tarps for Semi Trailers – 24’ Wide x 27’ Long with 6’ or 8’ Drop depending on the cargo that is being secured. As Flatbed Trailers are generally used for a variety of different types of cargo securement applications drivers will often opt for slightly larger sizes to accommodate to different cargo they could be securing day to day.

Lumber Tarp Sizes – 16’ Wide x 26’ Length with a 4’ Drop that weighs approximately 72 lbs and comes in the color Blue. This tarp is also available in 26’ x 24’ with an 8’ Drop.

Steel Tarp Sizes – 24’ x 16’ and 28’ x 16’ are the most commonly used sizes for steel tarps that are generally designed for protecting raw metal materials for construction or steel coils. They are made from the same great material that our Lumber Tarps are made from and are cold crack rated to -40° C/F and are made from 18 oz Coated Fabric that is extremely durable while being out in the elements.

Professional Flatbed Truck Driver Waiting to be loaded on trailer

Shop Popular Flatbed Tarp Systems and Accessories


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


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


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


Rubber Straps
Box of 50 Pieces

Flatbed steel tarp installed on flatbed trailer

How to Tarp a Load on a Flatbed Trailer

When it comes to tarping a flatbed load the process is relatively straightforward. Here is the step-by-step breakdown:

1). Gather all of the necessary equipment such as tarps, bungee cords, ropes, or tarping system.

2). Position your flatbed at the loading location.

3). Cover the load with the flatbed tarp and secure it in place using bungee cords, rubber tarp straps, or ropes.

4). Use a tarping pole or tarping system to stretch the tarp tightly over the load to help ensure a secure fit.

5). Inspect the tarp for any wrinkles or looseness and make adjustments as needed to ensure the tarp system is installed properly.

6). Secure all corners and edges of the tarp to prevent flapping in the wind while driving.

7). Inspect the tarp before and after every use to look for any potential damage that needs to be repaired quickly as it could cause further damage to the tarp system over time.

Frequently Asked Flatbed Tarp Questions

How much does an average Flatbed Tarp Weigh? – When it comes to a flatbed tarp, weight is a key factor to consider. High-quality tarps can range from 66 to 95 pounds, depending on the tarp’s size. But that’s not all – the size of the drop on the tarp can also greatly impact the weight. Our Tarp Systems are made from a durable 18 oz Coated Fabric material that can withstand even the toughest weather conditions, from high winds and heavy rain to sub-zero temperatures as low as -40° C/F. These tarps are built to protect your cargo and stand the test of time.

Can Flatbed Tarp Systems Be Repaired? – When it comes to fixing damaged tarps, it’s all about timing and the extent of the damage. The smaller the repair, the better the chances that it can be fixed. That’s why it’s crucial to inspect your tarps before and after each use. If you spot any damage, address it immediately. Procrastination is the enemy here – if you delay fixing a damaged tarp, it could ultimately lead to the tarp being destroyed and the need for a costly replacement. Bottom line: stay on top of tarp maintenance for optimal performance and longevity.

What is the average cost of a Flatbed Tarp System? – When it comes to pricing for flatbed tarps, customization is a major factor to consider. A basic, low-customization tarp with fewer materials can range from as low as $225. However, for those who require extra labor, materials, grommets, and a larger size for added protection for their cargo can expect to pay upwards of $375.00 per tarp. It’s all about finding the right balance between customization and cost to ensure the highest level of protection for your valuable cargo.

How long do Flatbed Tarps typically last? – When it comes to flatbed tarps, their durability and longevity can be tricky things to predict. Depending on how often the tarp is used and how well it’s cared for, the lifespan can vary greatly from driver to driver. Some may find their tarp wears out quickly, while others may find their tarp lasts for many years. But one thing is for certain, with proper care and maintenance, these tarps tend to have a much longer lifespan. On average, most flatbed tarps will last upwards of six years, provided they are treated with the respect they deserve. This includes proper cleaning, storage, and repair when needed. So, if you want to ensure your flatbed tarp lasts as long as possible, be sure to give it the TLC it needs.