A tarpaulin, sometimes known as a tarp, is a big sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often textile such as canvas or polyester coated with polyurethane, or polymers such as polyethylene. Tarpaulins frequently include reinforced grommets at the corners and along the sides to serve as rope connection points, allowing them to be tied down or suspended.
Modern tarpaulins are composed of woven polyethylene, which is so closely connected with tarpaulins that it has been informally known as polytarp in some circles.
Tarpaulins are used to protect people and property from the elements such as wind, rain, and sunlight. They are used during construction or after catastrophes to protect partially built or damaged structures, to confine and collect debris, and to reduce mess during painting and other similar tasks. They are used to cover the cargo of open trucks and wagons, to keep wood piles dry, and for temporary shelters such as tents.