Knowing how to tarp a roof is an excellent skill for every homeowner!
Imagine you wake up the morning after a big storm comes through and find a bunch of shingles have blown off your roof. You wonder, “how is my roof protected now?”
Sadly, it’s not.
The second your shingles are damaged or blown off or even just lifted up from the wind, is the second your roof becomes susceptible to leaks and the clock starts ticking for repairs. But sometimes, especially in areas with widespread damage, local roofers can’t come right away to fix it. Luckily, tarping the damaged area can help temporarily protect your home from any leaks.
We don’t recommend doing anything unsafe such as getting up on a ladder if there’s more bad weather coming, or if you’re inexperienced. However, knowing how to tarp your roof in a pinch can save you from the pain of having massive water leaks through those cracked or missing shingles into your home. We’ll share how and when to tarp a roof to prevent further water damage until you can get a roofing contractor out for storm damage repairs.
Signs Your Roof Has Storm Damage
The first thing you’ll want to do is check for damage. If it’s safe to go outside, take a look at your roof and see if any shingles are missing or damaged. Some common signs of storm damage aren’t always obvious, but might look like:
- Missing shingles
- Cracked or loose shingles
- Large debris on the roof
- Shingle granules in the gutters and downspouts
- Water stains on your interior ceilings or attic floor
- Visible punctures in the roof
- Wet spots in the attic or on your insulation
- Storm damage no your neighbor’s homes
- Large hailstones on the lawn
Even if you can’t see any obvious signs of damage, it can still be a very good idea to get an inspection to catch hidden damage early. If your roof is significantly damaged, it’s time to call in the professionals.
In the meantime, tarping can help prevent further damage until repairs can be made.
How to Tarp a Roof for a Temporary Fix
To tarp a damaged roof you of course need a tarp big enough to extend beyond the damaged area. You’ll also need a few other materials and tools to secure the tarp in place:
- Several pieces of lumber (2” x 4” or 1” x 4” or 1” x 3”)
- Extension ladder
- Utility knife
- Hammer or nail gun + nails
- Optional: waterproof tape, roofing cement, plywood
Follow these steps for tarping the damaged area. Note: this is just one technique, but there are a few other techniques shown in the video below. But we’ll go through the nailing method.
Step 1: Pinpoint the Damaged Area
Make sure you don’t have more widespread damage that requires a bigger or more tarps. Tarping one area to find out you have other damage elsewhere will defeat the purpose. But once you do pinpoint the damage, make sure your excess tarp reaches at least 3 inches past the damaged area.
Step 2: Pull the Roof Tarp Tight
If you want to first secure a piece of plywood over the damage for extra protection, do so before laying down the tarp. Then, pull the tarp tight and press out any wrinkles. If the tarp is wrinkled, it can trap water which could end up leaking or making matters worse.
Step 3: Secure the Top of the Tarp
Secure the top part of your tarp using your 2 x 4s. Roll the tarp edge over 2 or 3 times over the lumber for added security, then nail or screw it into the roof.
Step 4: Secure the Bottom and Sides of the Tarp
Do the same method on the bottom of your tarp, rolling the lumber up into it so you can pull it tight and nail it in place. The sides can just have the wooden boards nailed or screwed over the top.
Step 5: Inspect Your Work and Make Any Adjustments
Once you’ve done all four sides, check the tarp to make sure it’s secure and there are no gaps or wrinkles that could let water in. If you see any, adjust as needed until the tarp is snug against the roof.
You can use waterproof tape on any seams for an extra layer of protection. Just be sure not to tape over any nails or screw holes.
Once you’ve completed these steps, your roof should be well-protected against any further damage. Just make sure to keep an eye on it and check for leaks regularly until the professionals can come and make the necessary repairs.
Tarping a roof is not a perfect solution and is meant only as a temporary fix so don’t leave it on there for more than a few days or think you can put off the repairs. If you think you can make the repairs yourself using roof patches or replacing the shingles, you could attempt that as well, but be careful not to cause more damage or void any warranties.
Call the Pros to Repair Your Roof ASAP
It’s always best to call in the professionals when it comes to roof repairs. They have the knowledge and experience to properly assess the damage and make the necessary repairs quickly and efficiently. Not to mention, they have all of the proper equipment and safety gear.
Trying to repair your roof on your own could result in further damage, so when you’re facing roof storm damage and need repairs fast, contact Dreamworx Exteriors. We’ll be there as soon as possible to help get your roof back to normal.