Can You Use a Tarp to Cover Outdoor Furniture?

Outdoor furniture requires protection from harsh weather to preserve its longevity. However, many house owners get confused about the best way to protect their furniture. Some people prefer to move their furniture to a shed, but not every home has enough space. In that case, the only option left is to cover the outdoor furniture right where it is.

Using a tarp is one of the simplest, easiest, and most reliable ways to protect your outdoor furniture. Tarps protect from weather and UV rays and allow you to leave furniture in-place, but you’ll need to tie them down to prevent them from blowing away.

Covering your outdoor furniture properly without leaving any space for foreign materials to seep in, is vital in ensuring durability. A good tarp is a cheap and reliable way to do that. It is also essential to know the pros and cons of using tarps. This way, you can better protect your important furniture.

Can I Cover My Outdoor Furniture with a Tarp?

Covered garden furniture

A tarp helps cover outdoor furniture. For every house that has outdoor furniture, getting a tarp is beneficial. Stress reduction is among the benefits of using a tarp to cover your furniture, since you don’t have to worry about moving the furniture to the garage or shed.

Furthermore, seasons like winter come with lots of weather that could harm outdoor furniture’s materials. But when using a tarp, your furniture remains in excellent condition. If you cover it appropriately, it’s shielded from the rain and snow.

The best part is that many tarps have holes at the corners that make installation easier. You can secure your tarp to the furniture with hooks, bungie cords, or by simply using rope to tie them in place.

Are Tarps Waterproof?

Tarps come in various categories of water protection and are typically described with terms like waterproof, water-resistant, and water repellent. Let’s look a little closer at what these terms mean to understand how to tell how much protection you’ll get from any given tarp.

  • Waterproof tarps are tarps that completely protect the item you’re trying to preserve from water.
  • Water-resistant tarps prevent water penetration to an extent but cannot withstand a larger quantity of water.
  • Water-repellent tarps have special coatings that do not allow water to get through them.

Note that only heavy-duty tarps like this Tarpco Extra Heavy Duty option (on Amazon) are waterproof, while nylon tarps like this Stansport Ripstop Nylon Tarp (also on Amazon) are typically just water-resistant. Nylon tarps that say they’re waterproof are typically treated with a waterproof spray that wears over time.

This means that they start out waterproof technically but end up only being water-resistant in the long term. If you have a tarp but aren’t sure of its water resistance, you can easily test it with a cup of water at home.

What is the Best Tarp to Cover Outdoor Furniture?

A vinyl tarp is the perfect tool for covering outdoor furniture. UV-treated 18-ounce vinyl tarps (on Amazon) are the best for covering furniture because they are durable and keep mildew stains, ice, and snow damage at bay all winter.

To get the most out of your tarp, remember to leave some space for air movement. You must also securely fasten the tarp with ropes.

There are many benefits of using vinyl tarps.

1. Prevent Mold and Moisture

Mildew and mold are a massive concern to house owners with outdoor furniture. This mostly happens during winter when the patio furniture absorbs moisture. But if you cover your furniture with tarps, you reduce the chances of having mold after the winter season.

However, if you use a waterproof tarp it prevents air circulation, and this could cause mildew and mold. Using a solid vinyl tarp with waterproof capacity creates a layer and keeps the furniture from developing mildew. Also, note that you should get one with a 90% mesh fabric while getting a tarp to get enough airflow.

2. Protection From UV Rays

If you don’t protect your outdoor furniture from the UV rays, the fabric and coating get destroyed, leaving you unable to enjoy the furniture anymore. But if you get a heavy-duty vinyl tarp to cover your furniture, you’ll keep your furniture new and shiny.

3. To Keep the Furniture Clean and Dry

When you use a vinyl tarp to cover your furniture, you’re doing yourself a big favor. When summer comes, you’ll be cleaning your piece of furniture with no problem. The rain, snow, and UV rays would not have affected it.

When choosing a tarp for outdoor furniture, the first thing to do is to determine what you are protecting against. Are you shielding it from the rain? The sun rays? The snow? This knowledge is essential since tarps are made for different purposes. Also, you need to know the dimensions of the area where you intend to use the tarp.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Tarp to Cover Outdoor Furniture?

Everything in this world with an advantage has a disadvantage, and this applies to tarps too. Tarps have several benefits: they protect the furniture from UV rays, moisture, etc. Below are some benefits of using a tarp to cover outdoor furniture.

Pros of Using a Tarp to Cover Outdoor Furniture

  • Weather Protection: Tarps are effective at protecting your furniture from the elements. They shield it from the wind, snow, rain, and summer sun.
  • Cost: Unless you have ample space to move your outdoor furniture during winter, tarps are the least expensive materials you can use to protect your furniture.
  • Waterproof: Tarps are waterproof and will keep your furniture safe from moisture and rain.
  • You avoid stress: Tarps save you from the stress of moving your furniture around. You won’t have to worry about finding space in your home. 
  • Versatility: Tarps do not only cover furniture – they have other uses, such as tents. They are also used to protect trucks and other vehicles.
  • Space: Outdoor tarps are usually very large and spacious. You don’t have to worry about your furniture being too close together.
  • Improves the scenery: Tarps allow your environment to be more organized. This is unlike moving the furniture to the garage, where you have to manage space.
  • Reduces Litter: Tarps reduce litter around the outdoor furniture. Instead dirt gathers on the tarp, which you can easily clean off.

Cons of Using a Tarp to Cover Outdoor Furniture

Patio furniture Cover protecting outdoor furniture from snow

Tarps for covering outdoor furniture have some disadvantages as well. Let us discuss some of them below.

  • Leakages: Tarps lose their waterproof abilities and get tiny holes as time passes. Subsequently, the holes allow water to penetrate into the furniture, weakening the material.
  • Tie-Down Errors: The ropes may slacken when a grommet loosens, leaving the tarp vulnerable to heavy winds. Your tarp may fly off after an exuberant bouncing and flapping with the wind, and this could possibly expose everything beneath to the whims of the weather.
  • Condensation: Though canvas tarps repel condensation because they breathe, rain is still a concern because some are only water-resistant, not waterproof. There is the possibility that they’ll mildew as well. Moisture in the ground evaporates when the sun burns the space beneath the tarp. Because tarp material is protective on both sides, the remaining droplets of water cause fungi, which affects the furniture. 
  • UV Breakdown: When a plastic tarp is exposed to sunlight, it affects the lifespan. It might still look good, but its quality continually deteriorates.
  • Rusty Grommets: When a tarp has a tear in the middle, it allows rain to go in through the hole and cause damage to the furniture. These holes are usually unnoticed until they start causing damage to your furniture.


Tarps are helpful in many ways. They are so valuable that they are a must-have for every house owner with a piece of outdoor furniture. Because of that, knowing the type and dimension of the tarp to buy saves you a lot of stress.

Understanding both the advantages and disadvantages will help you get the best out of your tarp. Do you have any comments about tarps and outdoor furniture? Let us know in the comment section below.

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