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Emergency Roof Tarping: Set Up a Tarp in 8 Steps

November 8, 2023 // 5-minutes read

Has your roof been damaged in a storm? You’re not the only victim of storms recently.

Research shows that more than 80 tornadoes hit 14 states from March 31 to April 1. This was the United States’ biggest tornado outbreak since April 2020.

Do you know how to properly set up emergency roof tarping? Let’s explore how to find out how to set up a tarp for your roof in eight steps.

1. Collect Your Emergency Roof Tarping Tools

damaged roof covered with tarp

Tarping your roof will require several tools. These include the following:

  • Screws or nails
  • Tools for removing debris, like a durable roofing shovel
  • 2×4 wooden boards (or thinner)
  • Tarp that will fit the area you’re trying to cover
  • Measuring tape
  • Smartphone or camera

You’ll also need a ladder to complete your roof tarping job.

2. Examine Your Roof

The first step in tarping your roof is to examine the surface to determine where your tarp needs to go.

You can survey your roof while standing on a ladder and wearing a reliable safety harness. Alternatively, you can inspect your roof’s damage with a drone.

Next, use a sturdy tape measure to determine the tarp size you’ll need to place over your roof’s damaged area.

3. Take Photographs

The next step in tarping your roof is to take pictures. You or your roofer can take photos of your roof’s damaged parts to give to your home insurance company.

Try to take photos before you apply your tarp and before you remove debris from the roof. However, you should remove the debris if this will help your insurer see all of the damage your roof has sustained.

4. Choose a Tarp

Next, you’ll want to pick a tarp for your roof. The tarp needs to extend several feet past your roof’s damaged area to properly protect it. You should also choose a tarp that will extend over your roof’s ridge.

When your tarp hangs over your roof’s sides, water can roll onto your tarp smoothly and not go beneath it. If water ends up rolling down your roof and touches the lip — where your tarp starts — it will likely go beneath your tarp.

In addition, choose a higher-quality tarp if you expect severe weather to return.

5. Get Rid of Debris on Your Roof

After you’ve selected your tarp, you’ll need to remove any loose debris on your roof. This includes nails and shingles.

If you don’t remove the debris, it may clog your gutters. It may then interfere with your water’s flow and cause more issues for your roof.

6. Unroll the Tarp

You and another person will need to work together to unfurl your tarp. Then, you’ll place it on your roof’s damaged area.

If you’re applying an adhesive tarp, you must take the backing off the adhesive first.

This type of tarp can be challenging for you to install. However, a professional should have no problem applying it. That’s because it’s similar to a water and ice protector, which roofers are used to using.

Still, keep in mind that you’ll need to replace the shingles underneath your adhesive tarp since the adhesive will pull up some of your shingles’ granules.

7. Secure Your Tarp to Your Roof

house roof with purple tarp

If you aren’t using an adhesive tarp, you’ll need to secure the tarp using screws or nails.

First, wrap the tarp’s end around a lumber piece, which will serve as your anchor. The board will give your tarp the weight it needs to remain on your roof and not flap around.

Don’t add nails to your tarp. This will create areas where your tarp may rip easily.

When you wrap your tarp’s end around a board instead, this will spread out pressure throughout your entire tarp. That means your tarp will be more likely to stay put.

If your roof has sustained extensive damage, you might need several anchor boards to make sure your tarp doesn’t move.

You should also avoid positioning your boards horizontally, as this may cause water dams. Make one end of each board lower on your roof to allow water to run off the roof.

8. Screw or Nail Your Boards Down

Finally, secure your boards to your roof with screws or nails. Drive the screws or nails into your shingles.

Keep in mind you’ll need to replace all of these shingles when your roofer repairs your damaged roof. However, it’s worth doing to prevent additional water intrusion, which can lead to even more expensive damage.

Important Roof Tarping Tips

Be sure to get your tarp on the roof right away after severe weather has stopped. This will help ensure your roof is covered before another storm arrives.

Also, schedule your roof repairs right away. Don’t leave your tarp on the roof for a long period. Over time, the elements will weaken the tarp, which means your roof may experience additional damage.

How We Can Help With Your Roof

As part of the emergency roof tarping process, you’ll need to choose a tarp that is large enough to cover your roof’s damaged area. Wrap the tarp to the boards, and drive screws or nails through the boards to the roof to secure the tarp.

At Buckworth, we take pride in offering high-quality roofing services, including roof installation and repairs. Our other services include gutters, screened-in porches, siding, carports, doors, and exterior windows.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our services, explore our customer reviews, and schedule an appointment today!

Quicker Service. Bigger Discounts. Fewer Hassles. Buckworth.

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