how to tarp a roof

Posted On: October 26, 2021

How To (Properly) Tarp A Roof And Protect Your Home (Step-By-Step)

A properly installed roof will last a homeowner a very long time, but even so, roofing replacements make up the majority of the country’s roofing services.

Not only do all roofs need to be replaced eventually, but many see considerable damage due to natural disasters, strong winds, hail, and large debris (trees).

And with a market so inundated by roof replacements, it’s not uncommon for a delay to occur. But a delay in roof repair or replacement certainly isn’t convenient for you or your family.

That’s why today we’re going to show you how to tarp a roof in case you need to protect your home while you wait for professional help.

When Do You Need To Tarp Your Roof?

Anytime your roof experiences significant damage, you and your family can suffer from water leaks or nothing standing between you and the cold air. If you can’t get immediate attention to your leaky roof, you need a roof tarp to mitigate any further damage.

Roof damage can happen for a variety of reasons, but some common ones are:

  • Rain
  • Sleet
  • Snow
  • Hail
  • Fallen branches
  • Wind

These elements can loosen shingles, cause punctures and cracks, and break fascia boards. Bad weather can cause even more damage to these areas, which is why it’s critical that you tarp your roof as soon as possible.

hail on roof

How to Tarp a Roof

Tarping your roof may not be a permanent fix, but it is a crucial step in the process. Below, we’ll show you how to properly tarp your roof using the right supplies and methods.

What You’ll Need

A successful roof tarping is only possible with the right supplies. Here’s a quick list of everything you will need:

  • Extension ladder
  • Work gloves
  • Tape measure
  • Broom
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Wood screws
  • Roofing nails
  • 2×4 wooden boards
  • Plywood (if needed)
  • Tarps
  • Hurricane-rated tape

The exact number and measurements of each item will vary depending on the size of your roof and the severity of the damage.

The most important component of this project is your roof tarp, so make sure you select a high-quality option.

Assess the Damage

No one should go into this project unprepared, so you need to assess the damage first.

Using proper safety measures, get up on your roof and take a look at the damage that’s occurred. Take note of where you step; in severe cases, it may not be safe to get on the roof at all. When this happens, inspect from a ladder, or call a professional.

Examine the roof for things like punctures, broken or missing shingles, and other damage. Bring your smartphone or a digital camera with you so that you can take several pictures for your insurance company.

inspect roof

Clear Debris

After you’ve got a good sense of the damage done, take this time to clear off as much debris as possible from your roof. This can include leaves, twigs, branches, and other trash that found its way up to your rooftop.

Use great caution while doing this step, and never get on a very steep or slippery rooftop.

clear roof debris

Measure the Area

After you have assessed the damage and cleaned up as much as you can, measure the general area that needs to be covered. This measurement will be important when you go buy a tarp.

The ideal tarp will cover all of the damaged areas with a few feet of overhang.

Cover Large Holes

If the damage to your roof includes a large hole, you might want to consider covering it with plywood first. Large holes can cause water to pool and pull the tarp downward, leading to more damage.

Cover large holes with a half-inch sheet of plywood. Use a screwdriver or drill to secure wood screws – at least one on each corner of the board.

This board will provide a flat surface for the tarp to cover and will allow water to run off of your roof naturally instead of gathering in one sunken area.

plywood to cover holes

Position the Tarp

Unfold your tarp over the damaged area, ensuring there are at least 3 feet of tarp on every side of the damaged area. There should also be enough tarp to hang over the peak of your roof by about 4 feet.

Create an Anchor Board

The first place you will secure your tarp will be at the anchor board. Take one of the deck boards and roll it into the tarp at the peak end. You should wrap the board tightly for a couple of rotations.

Nail the tarp to this board to keep it attached, then screw the board into your roof on the opposite side of the peak. Nail a second board over the first to sandwich the tarp. Doing so will help prevent tearing.

Secure the Tarp

Once you have your anchor, you can secure the remainder of the tarp to prevent it from flipping or folding:

  • Place appropriately-sized 2×4’s on either edge of the peak side where your tarp is anchored.
  • Screw these boards into place, screwing through the boards, the tarp, and the roof.
  • Be sure to keep the tarp taught as you go.
  • Place more 2×4’s on the edges of the tarp on the damaged side of the roof and attach them in the same manner.
  • Secure the excess tarp over the edge of the eaves by rolling it in a 2×4 and nailing it to the side of the house.

If you don’t have enough excess at the bottom to tuck the tarp under the gutter, you can nail it to the roof using the same method you used for the anchor board.

You can also use hurricane tape on exposed edges for an extra-firm grip after you’ve nailed in all of your boards.

secure tarp

Call the Professionals

Roofing repairs are best left to the professionals, and our pros at Northface Construction have the experience and expertise it takes to get the job done right.

Call Northface Construction today for storm damage repairs. We’ll even come out and help you tarp your roof ahead of our services.


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