How to Repair a Plastic Tarp

Written by faith cormier
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How to Repair a Plastic Tarp
The familiar blue, polyester tarps are a type of plastic tarp. (painter's supplies image by Tammy Mobley from

Plastic tarps come in many sizes, colours and weights. They include vinyl and polyester tarps, although the typical consumer tarps are blue polyester. They have many uses around the house, in the outdoors or in industry, including covering loads, wrapping bedrolls, serving as groundsheets or tent flies and providing screening. Plastic tarps are subject to abrasion and to damage from UV rays. However, they are fairly easy to repair, using commercial repair kits. These normally contain patch fabric, which may or may not be pre-cut, adhesive and a brush to apply the adhesive. Some kits contain an adhesive tape instead. Grommets may also need to be replaced. Again, commercial kits include replacement grommets and a punch for making a new hole in the tarp.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tear repair kit
  • Grommet repair kit
  • Punch
  • Block of wood
  • Die
  • Hammer
  • Waterproof coating

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    Fix a Hole or Tear

  1. 1

    Clean the damaged area of the tarp. Cut off any frayed bits.

  2. 2

    Apply adhesive to the tarp, following the manufacturer's instructions, if using a fabric patch.

  3. 3

    Cut the fabric patch or the tape a little larger than the spot to be repaired, and apply it to the tarp.

  4. 4

    Let the patch sit for several hours or overnight, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. 5

    Apply a waterproof coating to the patch for added security.

    To Replace a Grommet

  1. 1

    Remove the old grommet, if you are going to use the same hole, or use the punch supplied to make a new hole.

  2. 2

    Position the hole over a block of wood.

  3. 3

    Place the one half of the new grommet under the hole and the other one on top of it.

  4. 4

    Tap the halves together, gently, with the die and hammer, until they are firmly joined.

Tips and warnings

  • Putting a block of wood under the grommet gives a better surface for hammering on.
  • Use adhesives in a well-ventilated area. Many give off fumes.

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