Although roof tarping can be dangerous and is best left to professionals, should you decide to tarp your damaged roof yourself, we’d like to provide you with a few tips to help you do it effectively—and safely. We recommend tarping your own roof only if a professional contractor is not available and your situation requires immediate attention to prevent further damage. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Wet rooftops can be treacherous, and wet tarps are even worse – When tarping your roof, it is important that you be very careful with your footing, especially when the rooftop is wet. Walking on a wet roof can be dangerous and is not recommended if your roof has a very steep pitch.
- Before tarping, identify the roof leak’s origination – Sometimes this is obvious. If a tree branch crashes through your roof, the roof leak origin is easy to find, but often this can be more difficult. Check the underside of the roof sheathing for water stains. This is usually easily seen by going into the attic. If you do not have an attic, or do not have access to it, look for torn or missing shingles.
- Measure the area that needs to be covered – be precise when taking your measurements. Tarping the roof yourself is challenging enough—no need to complicate it by having to do the same work twice.
- Give yourself one foot over the ridge of your roof and one and a half to two feet below the leak area for the tarp length – the tarp must cross the ridgeline of the roof to prevent water from getting underneath the tarp as it runs down the roof.
- Properly secure your tarp – center your tarp over the damaged area. Roll three two-inch rolls of plastic to create a nail line. This will keep your tarp from tearing in high winds better than if you were to simply nail one layer of tarp in place. Pull the tarp tight and nail in place, placing nails two to three feet apart around the perimeter.