Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

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Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:52 am

We'll have a 20x30 monkey hut for our theme camp and want to put down a ground cover. I've used tarp staked to the ground before, but that will be semi-expensive, not that attractive and not that comfortable for our lounge area.

Any other suggestions? Carpet would be ideal if I could find some cheap throw away stuff in big enough sections, though transportation is a concern if we have a massive roll. If we have to go this route, does anyone know a good source for large sections of cheap carpet in San Fran? We're in Atlanta, but we can coordinate with a couple local people that are helping.

Suppose there's no easy answer on this one, but maybe someone knows some magic.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:58 am

We use canvas painters tarps - a lot more comfy than plastic, and the color blends right in with the playa. Carpet is way too heavy and bulky in a size that big - especially once it is full of dust.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:59 am

Great idea -- thanks! I'll look into prices.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:15 pm

Iceplant.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:40 pm

Craigslist free carpet is cheap. Most people just pay to deposit it at the Fernley dump outbound. The trend is to make carpets recyclable, but few are yet. Be sure the edges don't moop - duct tape the edge.
Billboard vinyl is very inexpensive, like $.08 a square foot.
I like the canvas painter's tarps and they can be found at any home big box or paint store. Theoretically washable after, but will loose its sizing.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Homiesinheaven » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:06 pm

depending on what you drive out there a good way to transport carpet is to fold it flat on the roof of your vehicle as opposed to rolling it.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:42 pm

Thanks, guys. Great suggestions. I think since we'll need 20x30 feet of carpet, it will be too big and heavy to transport in our pickup truck. The canvas tarps look like a great idea, though they are ~$135 from the places I've looked for a 20x30, whereas a blue economy tarp is $23... Hopefully my camp mates will opt for canvas despite the price...

Is this a crazy price for 20x30 of untreated (nonwater-proofed) canvas tarp? Any cheaper sources?
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby BBadger » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:09 pm

If you're planning on returning, maybe invest in something a little more durable/light so you can use it next year or beyond? Each additional year is like another discount.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:13 pm

a quick google search just turned up about 80.00 for that coverage, although you may need to use two 12 x 15's for that
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:48 pm

Yeah though the two 12x15's dont exactly cover a 20x30 foot space. I"d need 3 to cover the length, and i'd have 2.5 feet on each side if I used the 15' side for the width. Looks like $135 isnt too bad a price for the full thing, though buying two smaller tarps to cover the full area would probably be more versatile for other uses.

This will be my second burning man and I'm certainly coming back again next year, so I'm happy to make an investment in the right stuff. Just wish I lived in San Fran so I would have a reliable way to haul all this stuff out each year :).
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby melodiousdirge » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:14 am

Last year I found ebay to be far and away the cheapest source of tarps. Might be worth a look. I think I got my 24x24 heavy duty silver floor tarp for around $40. Canvas will be pricier but it may be less than $135.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby garyt » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:52 am

I got my free carpet dumpster diving. Knock the dust off before leaving or there's a lot of added weight. I trash it coming home. Going dumpster diving again in a week or two.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:17 am

There's always free carpet on craigs list.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby dragonpilot » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:19 pm

I use heavy painter's plastic (opaque) which is not too expensive, and then scatter carpet remnant around. You don't need to cover every sq inch with heavy carpet, just the traffic area.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby International Incident » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:28 pm

MacGlenver wrote:. Just wish I lived in San Fran so I would have a reliable way to haul all this stuff out each year :).


Have you thought about hiring a storage unit in ferney - we just invested in one.

These guys http://www.fernleyministorage.com claim to be burner friendly and we have had good interactions with them with setting up our space.

The price, if shared amoungst a few people, is quite reasonable and is heaps easier than lugging/buying stuff for each year.

As an aside I got a painters tarp through http://www.tarpsupply.com - I have not seen it yet as it is waiting for me to pick up when i hit the USA next week but my camp mates have used their gear before - and it held up well.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:44 am

melaniejane wrote:
MacGlenver wrote:. Just wish I lived in San Fran so I would have a reliable way to haul all this stuff out each year :).


Have you thought about hiring a storage unit in ferney - we just invested in one.

These guys http://www.fernleyministorage.com claim to be burner friendly and we have had good interactions with them with setting up our space.

The price, if shared amoungst a few people, is quite reasonable and is heaps easier than lugging/buying stuff for each year.

As an aside I got a painters tarp through http://www.tarpsupply.com - I have not seen it yet as it is waiting for me to pick up when i hit the USA next week but my camp mates have used their gear before - and it held up well.


I've considered the storage option but until I get into some really serious stuff, I'm going to try to make do with leaving at my family's houses in the bay area :). Hope they dont get too fed up with holding onto 50 pieces of 10' PVC pipe for us until next year!

I also am planning to order a from tarpsupply.com. I already ordered and received a 30x30 Silver super heavy duty tarp ($122 with shipping). Quality seems good, but we will give it a test this weekend. The gromets are aluminum unfortunatley, so I have some reservations about their strength. Hopefully we can spread the stress evenly enough. I'll be ordering a 20x30 natural untreated canvas tarp for our ground cover (~$134 with shipping). Craigslist in Atlanta and ebay didnt prove too fruitful. Craigslist in San Fran has TONS of stuff (saw an enormous blue tarp that someone was giving away), but it would be too complicated to coordinate from across the country.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:33 am

FYI in case anyone is interested, I changed my plan for the ground cover. I am going with 9'x12' canvas drop cloths from home depot. I got 5 for $80 with a $20 off coupon (they are $2 off each if you order 5 or more). I also bought a grommet kit and will be installing grommets in the drop cloths and staking them down.. The 20x30 canvas tarp was actually going to be $134 + $40 shipping, so eff that. I did it for 50% of that.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Krokodyle » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:27 pm

How did this end up working for you? Was there a proliferation of stakes involved? No wind problems?
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:31 pm

Krokodyle wrote:How did this end up working for you? Was there a proliferation of stakes involved? No wind problems?


I'd say it worked decently, though not perfectly. I'll list my thoughts.

1. Putting in the grommets was a bit of a pain/time consuming, but not horrible. The 2 biggest issues there were that: 1. The "extra" grommets i bought for my grommet kit weren't a perfect fit for the grommet tool, so the grommets came out a little deformed, though still functional. 2. I did the hammering in my apartment, which pissed off the guy below me :).

2. When we staked the ground cover tarps down initially, we hadn't yet set up our monkey hut or put anything on top of them. Within a few minutes, a wind kicked up and caused the canvas to flap up and down, pulling against the stakes. Since the grommets weren't fantastic, and because the canvas drop cloth was only 8oz (not super strong), this caused a tear relatively quickly at the grommet point. We rushed over with boxes of water to hold it down, which eventually did the trick, but those guys did not want to lay on the ground without stuff on top of them. I think I did 8 grommets per tarp... I think...

3. The canvas did stay down, and did provide a lot of the protection we were looking for. It wasn't luxurious, but it was way better than sitting directly on the ground. Many of us ended up laying on the floor doing little projects without a second thought. We wouldnt have done that without the ground cover.

4. The tarps were pretty beat up at the end of the burn. I'm not sure if we'll use them again, but some of them could possibly be used. Most were starting to pull at the grommet points and several had tears. During the week it wasnt an issue, but if we had to lay them down again it'd be a little uglier job. They're obviously inundated with playa dust, but even a new ground cover would have that happen before long. Maybe we shouldnt have used grommets, but instead used the tie-down method where you put a marble/penny/whatever against the cloth, then tie it in with some rope to provide a strong tie-down point. That may not ahve held them as close to the ground, but that wouldnt matter once you put stuff on top of them (chairs, water, people, etc.)

5. I didnt visualize it quite right originally, so the 4 or 5 canvas tarps actually had a little square gap right in the middle of the arrangement because they're not perfect little tetris pieces... Or maybe I just laid them down wrong and didnt care to fix it.... Anyway, make sure u wont have a center hole like I did :).

It's obviously been about a year since then, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but that's the gist. Ask me a question. If I dont respond, I probably missed the thread, so remind me via PM :).
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby tamarakay » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:41 pm

We used painters canvas tarps in the dye shop. We had a whole bottle of red wine spill and when we pulled up the tarp to look underneath it was only wet, the tarp and caught all the red somehow. Magic! The tarp also filtered any dye that dripped on the ground.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:51 pm

MacGlenver wrote:
Krokodyle wrote:How did this end up working for you? Was there a proliferation of stakes involved? No wind problems?


I'd say it worked decently, though not perfectly. I'll list my thoughts.

1. Putting in the grommets was a bit of a pain/time consuming, but not horrible. The 2 biggest issues there were that: 1. The "extra" grommets i bought for my grommet kit weren't a perfect fit for the grommet tool, so the grommets came out a little deformed, though still functional. 2. I did the hammering in my apartment, which pissed off the guy below me :).

2. When we staked the ground cover tarps down initially, we hadn't yet set up our monkey hut or put anything on top of them. Within a few minutes, a wind kicked up and caused the canvas to flap up and down, pulling against the stakes. Since the grommets weren't fantastic, and because the canvas drop cloth was only 8oz (not super strong), this caused a tear relatively quickly at the grommet point. We rushed over with boxes of water to hold it down, which eventually did the trick, but those guys did not want to lay on the ground without stuff on top of them. I think I did 8 grommets per tarp... I think...

3. The canvas did stay down, and did provide a lot of the protection we were looking for. It wasn't luxurious, but it was way better than sitting directly on the ground. Many of us ended up laying on the floor doing little projects without a second thought. We wouldnt have done that without the ground cover.

4. The tarps were pretty beat up at the end of the burn. I'm not sure if we'll use them again, but some of them could possibly be used. Most were starting to pull at the grommet points and several had tears. During the week it wasnt an issue, but if we had to lay them down again it'd be a little uglier job. They're obviously inundated with playa dust, but even a new ground cover would have that happen before long. Maybe we shouldnt have used grommets, but instead used the tie-down method where you put a marble/penny/whatever against the cloth, then tie it in with some rope to provide a strong tie-down point. That may not ahve held them as close to the ground, but that wouldnt matter once you put stuff on top of them (chairs, water, people, etc.)

5. I didnt visualize it quite right originally, so the 4 or 5 canvas tarps actually had a little square gap right in the middle of the arrangement because they're not perfect little tetris pieces... Or maybe I just laid them down wrong and didnt care to fix it.... Anyway, make sure u wont have a center hole like I did :).

It's obviously been about a year since then, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but that's the gist. Ask me a question. If I dont respond, I probably missed the thread, so remind me via PM :).


Ok, not sure how you stake yours down, but I just hammer in 12 inch long nails through the hem wherever I need a tie down. I do get the occasional one pulling through but it works well for me.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Krokodyle » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:04 pm

MacGlenver wrote:
Krokodyle wrote:How did this end up working for you? Was there a proliferation of stakes involved? No wind problems?


I'd say it worked decently, though not perfectly. I'll list my thoughts.


Wow, cool, that's a lot of good info and very helpful. :D

I'm going to have to think a little about this if I decide to go that route. I may just skip it. I'm not looking for much in the way of ground cover (like an area at my tent entrance rather than straight out open space), but it's good to know that items can help the tie downs if I don't grommet and use the marble trick.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby MacGlenver » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:19 pm

Drawingablank wrote:Ok, not sure how you stake yours down, but I just hammer in 12 inch long nails through the hem wherever I need a tie down. I do get the occasional one pulling through but it works well for me.


Why didnt you tell me that last year? :)

That sounds like a good way to go. I use cheap-o 9" stakes, which were plenty strong and were never at risk of pulling out of the ground. You obviously puncture the tarp in the process of staking it with nails & no grommets, whereas I had hoped to reuse the same grommets each year. However, seeing how beat up the grommets got, your method sounds better (and certainly simpler). Maybe to prevent the nails pulling through you could slide a little 2"x2" piece of cardboard over the nail before you hammer it in so it spreads the load a bit and prevents it from slipping over. Probably not worth the hassle or possible moop tho.

This suggestion actually gives me some confidence in reusing our ground tarps since i wont rely on the beat up grommet holes and will jus tthrow stakes/nails wherever.
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:11 pm

MacGlenver wrote:Maybe to prevent the nails pulling through you could slide a little 2"x2" piece of cardboard over the nail before you hammer it in so it spreads the load a bit and prevents it from slipping over. Probably not worth the hassle or possible moop tho.


That's what the holes that you cut out of your bucket cooler are for! :lol:
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Re: Best/Cheapest Ground Coverings for Hut

Postby Drawingablank » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:04 pm

MacGlenver wrote:
Drawingablank wrote:Ok, not sure how you stake yours down, but I just hammer in 12 inch long nails through the hem wherever I need a tie down. I do get the occasional one pulling through but it works well for me.


Why didnt you tell me that last year? :)

That sounds like a good way to go. I use cheap-o 9" stakes, which were plenty strong and were never at risk of pulling out of the ground. You obviously puncture the tarp in the process of staking it with nails & no grommets, whereas I had hoped to reuse the same grommets each year. However, seeing how beat up the grommets got, your method sounds better (and certainly simpler). Maybe to prevent the nails pulling through you could slide a little 2"x2" piece of cardboard over the nail before you hammer it in so it spreads the load a bit and prevents it from slipping over. Probably not worth the hassle or possible moop tho.

This suggestion actually gives me some confidence in reusing our ground tarps since i wont rely on the beat up grommet holes and will jus tthrow stakes/nails wherever.

Cardboard would be useless, but 12" nails have about a 1" head. If you feel a need for larger use fender washers (made up to about 3") or figgys suggestion.
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