Tarping Your Roof After a Storm

tarping a roof

Tarping a roof after a severe storm is critical to limiting damage to what’s already done. Getting an effective tarp in place ASAP helps prevent further water damage in the attic and down into living spaces, including potential mold contamination. In addition, most homeowners insurance policies include the requirement that the homeowner takes any reasonable necessary steps—including tarping a roof—to prevent further water damage to the home. 

Commercial services for tarping a roof are readily available in areas where severe storms are frequent. However, if you’re committed to the DIY route—and physically able and equipped to work on the roof safely—here are some basic steps for tarping a roof.  

You need:

  • Quality thick woven polyethylene tarp
  • 4 or 5 lengths of 2 x 4 lumber
  • Hammer and nails
  • Utility knife
  • Ladder, safety glasses, and gloves

Tarping a Roof

  1. Spread the tarp out from the roof peak downward, covering the entire damaged area. Pull about 4 feet of tarp backward over the peak of the roof. Allow excess length at the other end to hang over the eaves.
  2. Select a length of 2 x 4 two feet longer than the width of the tarp. Center the tarp in the middle of the board. Nail the tarp to the 2 x 4.  
  3. Rotate the board to wrap the tarp around it once. Secure the 2 x 4 to the roof about 4 feet over the peak with screws. Place another length of 2 x 4 atop this board and nail it in place to sandwich the tarp material securely between the two boards.
  4. Nail 2 x 4s along both edges of the tarp running down the roof toward the eaves. This will hold the tarp tight.
  5. Where the lower end of the tarp overhangs the eaves, nail a 2 x 4 to the end of the tarp and rotate the board to wrap up excess tarp material and remove slack. When the overhanging length is about 4 feet, nail the wrapped 2 x 4 to the underside of the eaves to secure the tarp in place.

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