Roof tarping is one of the many things homeowners should know how to do in case of an emergency. It’s especially important if you live somewhere that sees a significant amount of severe weather events, as inclement weather is the primary culprit behind roof damage and the need for emergency repairs.
The last thing you want to deal with is an open hole or weak spot in your roof that can easily lead to water damage or worse. In this article, we’ll walk you through all the steps you’ll need to know so you can keep your home safe with a temporary fix while you wait for an experienced roofer to come and make the proper repairs.
Roof Tarping 101: 6 Steps to Take
When left alone, minor damage can worsen and cause structural damage — especially if moisture is involved. While you’ll need the help of a professional roofing contractor to provide you will a stable solution, it’s up to you to protect your home from more bad weather in the meantime.
The process of tarping a roof may seem a little overwhelming if you’ve never been up on your roof before. However, as long as you follow the steps below, grab the right supplies at your local hardware store, and take the necessary safety precautions, you’ll be just fine.
Here are the steps:
1) Take the Right Safety Precautions
The most important step in carrying out this temporary fix is prepping for safety. This involves making sure:
- You have a sturdy ladder
- You have protective clothing, such as thick gloves, eye protection, long pants, and a long shirt
- You have a safety harness and enough rope
- You have someone that can help you by holding the ladder steady and handing you tools and supplies as needed
2) Document Everything
Before you can spread the tarp out over the damaged area, you’ll have to clear off any debris. However, you’ll need to make sure you document the debris and any other damages you find by taking clear photos of everything as your insurance company will require proof to approve your storm damage claim.
So, be sure to first do the following:
- Check your home and roof for damage from the ground up, documenting everything as you go
- Check your home for damage from the inside, documenting any leaks, holes, water stains, rotting wood, etc
Every professional roofer will recommend against homeowners climbing up on top of their roofs to take photos as walking around up there is considered a safety hazard. Instead, try and document the damages from your ladder if possible to avoid unnecessary risks.
3) Clean Up the Damaged Area
Once you’ve taken enough photos of the damage, the next step in preparing to tarp your roof is to clear the area. Using a broom or a rake, carefully sweep the debris away — from the ladder, of course.
4) Measure the Area That Needs Tarping
Next, you’ll need to grab a tape measure and map out the surface area of the damage.
- Be sure to measure as accurately as possible, keeping in mind that you’ll want the tarp to extend at least one extra foot in each direction
- Most damages and holes aren’t perfectly shaped, so it’s best to create a square perimeter around them when taking your measurements
- If there are multiple holes or several areas of damage, it’s best to measure around the entire area so you only have to purchase one large-sized tarp
- Don’t forget to write down your measurements!
Head to Your Local Hardware Store
Now it’s time to head to the hardware store — measurements in hand.
You’ll need to look for a tarp that can cover the entire area of damage, plus that one extra foot on each side. Keep in mind that it’s better to end up with excess tarp than not have enough. You also want to make sure you get yourself a heavy-duty roof tarp that’s designed for all seasons as the more basic tarps won’t provide your roof with the protection it needs during bad weather.
In addition to the tarp, you’ll also need:
- Sandbags ( at least two per each edge of the tarp)
- Or, wood boards (2x4s) to use a anchor boards
- Nails or screws that are long enough to go all the way through the wooden boards and into the roof decking
These supplies will be used to hold the roof tarp down and seal off its edges for protection. You can also find adhesive tarps in most hardware stores, however, it’s recommended to at least use sandbags for extra weight.
5) Tarp Your Roof
When the time comes to tarp a roof, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Place the tarp over the damaged area, ensuring that the tarp hangs over the peak of your roof
- Smooth out the tarp so that it’s flush against your roof — you don’t want any wrinkles!
- Secure the tarp by sealing the edges using either the sandbags or wooden boards. Make sure it’s watertight to prevent any water leaks and moisture damage while you wait for the roofer to come and make the necessary repairs
Call an Expert Roofer
You’ll want to call a local and reliable roofer as soon as you see that your roof has sustained damages. Plenty of roofing companies offer emergency repair services, meaning they’ll come to your home within 24 hours and tarp or patch your roof.
If they don’t offer this service, however, you’ll want to schedule a roof inspection with them as soon as possible — and tarp your roof in the meantime. Keep in mind that roof tarps aren’t meant to last long and will not keep your roof safe for more than a week tops.
At Johnson Restoration, we offer emergency storm services, which means you won’t have to wait very long if your roof is in dire need of repairs. If you have visible signs of roof damage, you’ll want to contact us right away so we can come and do a thorough inspection as