Tarpaulin is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with polyurethane, or made of plastics such as polyethylene. Tarpaulins often have reinforced grommets at the corners and along the sides to form attachment points for rope, allowing them to be tied down or suspended.
Tarpaulins are used in many ways to protect persons and things from wind, rain, and sunlight. They are used during construction or after disasters to protect partially built or damaged structures. They are used to protect loads of open trucks and wagons, to keep woodpiles dry, and for shelters such as tents or other temporary structures. Polyethylene tarpaulins have also proven to be a popular source when an inexpensive, water-resistant fabric is needed.