Tarping a Damaged Roof

A leaking roof is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Whether it is the result of bad weather or wear and tear, this situation calls for immediate action, and failure to address the situation properly can compromise the structural integrity of your roof. It can also cause serious damage to the interior of your home.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to find a professional repairer on time. If you’ve found this article before it is too late, we suggest you call your local roofing company. In such cases, simply slapping some plastic over the damaged area is not enough. It is imperative that you use the right materials and take appropriate measures to prevent further damage. That’s where tarping comes in to play.

Installing a tarp is not only effective but also affordable. When installed properly, a good-quality tarp can protect you from the rain for up to 90 days so that you have enough time to get a professional to restore your roof back to its original state.

But how do you install a tarp? Tarping a damaged roof is a surprisingly easy process and requires just a few steps. Here’s what you need to know.

What You Need:

  • High-quality woven poly tarp
  • 2×4 wooden planks/boards (4-5 pieces)
  • Hammer
  • Nails about 3 1/4 inches long
  • Utility knife (for cutting the tarp)
  • Screw gun
  • Safety goggles, ladder, hand gloves

Step-by-Step Instructions for Tarping a Damaged Roof:

  1. Clean the debris.

To begin, you need to get rid of all debris on your roof so that you have an easier time finding the source of the leak. Look out for broken panels, missing or torn shingles, misplaced tiles, and dented vents.

  1. Take Measurement of the Area You Need to Cover with a Tarp

The size of the damaged area will determine the size of the tarp you should use. Tarps are available in a range of sizes to suit your needs.

Once you get the right size tarp, unroll it to cover the damaged the area. Allow about 4-foot overhang past the peak. Leave the rest to hang off the eave.

  1. Construct an Anchor Board

Attach the peak end of your tarp to a 2×4 with cap nails. To ensure the 2×4 doesn’t collect water or debris, place it against the roof.

Make sure the board is at least 2 feet longer than the tarp’s width. Afterward, wrap the tarp around the board. Using a screw, secure the board to the roof to act as the anchor. Consider attaching another 2×4 on top of the anchor board to prevent tearing.

  1. Sandwich Your Tarp

Get 2×4 boards and attach them to both edges of the tarp. This should be just on the peak side vertical to your anchor board. You want to keep the water out by ensuring the tarp is held tight to the roof.

  1. Stretch the Top Edge of Your Tarp over the Roof’s Ride

If necessary, trim off the excess tarp from the other end. Be sure to leave about a 4-foot overhang. As you did on the other side, attach the tarp to a 2×4 using nails. The nails should be at least 10 inches apart. Pulling the tarp tight against the roof, wrap it around the board before attaching it under the eave using a screw gun.

  1. Secure All Ends

Finish by attaching 2×4 boards down below the sides of your tarp. This not only secures the tarp but also helps to keep the water out.


After a natural disaster, such as a severe storm or hurricane, accessing the damage to your home and determining a repair plan are necessary. The roof is normally the most damaged as it is the most exposed part of your home. In such situations, it can be difficult to find a professional who can repair the roof immediately. The quickest and most effective solution is tarping, and you can do it easily by following the instructions above.