If you have been through an intense weather event like a tornado or hail storm and you find
damage to your roof it is essential to install an emergency tarp right away before any water or
moisture can enter the home. If you notice a leak inside your home, it is still essential to install
an emergency tarp to the compromised part of the roof to help minimize the amount of
damage from the rain and moisture. The most common type of emergency tarp is a blue tarp
that can be purchased from a local hardware store or online. Blue tarps are relatively
inexpensive and can serve many purposes so as a homeowner you may want to keep a few on
hand just in case. Below is a list of steps for how to properly install an emergency tarp to your
Galvanized Roofing Nails
Tube of Black Roofing Tar
- Determine the size of the tarp or tarps you will need and how many furring strips
(furring strips are a piece of wood or other material 1x4x8-ft in length used in the
construction industry) you will need to hold the tarp in place. The most common tarp
used is a 20’x30′ tarp and will require 13 furring strips and 3″ galvanized roofing nails to
attach the tarp and furring strips in place.
- Unfold the tarp on the roof making sure to cover the roof’s ridgeline and overlapping it
by at least 2 feet to ensure that water does not run under the tarp.
- Once the tarp is in place, you can add the furring strips by starting at a corner. Place a
furring strip on top of the tarp and drive the galvanized roofing nails into the furring
strip through the tarp and into the roof, continue doing this applying nails 12″ apart
along the length of the ridgeline. Next, apply furring strips in the same manner on the
parallel bottom side of the tarp making sure you pull the tarp as tight as you can to
ensure no water can get under the tarp. Now repeat the process for the perpendicular
- To ensure that no water leaks through where you have nailed the furring strips seal
them with black roofing tar.
Working on your roof can be dangerous it is advised that you make sure you have help before
attempting any roof repairs. Below is a list of safety tips to ensure that you do not injure
yourself while trying to apply an emergency tarp to your roof:
Never try to install a tarp while it is raining, windy, or in the middle of a storm. You
could easily slip and fall from the roof and become injured.
Always wear proper protective equipment that includes eye protection and a hard hat.
When using a ladder to access your roof be sure to use the 4:1 ratio in which you lean
the ladder at an angle of 1 foot away from your home for every 4 feet of ladder length
to the roof eave. Always make sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the roof of the
When walking on your roof be sure to watch for tripping hazards including debris, vents,
skylights, cables, and satellite dishes.
While we understand how important it is to protect your home from water damage after a
storm has compromised your roof, it is not more important than your life so always heed the
safety first rule when attempting to tarp your roof.
Inclement weather can damage your roof, and if it is a weather event like a tornado, many
homes in your area may have roof damage so it may take a while to get a professional out to fix
your roof. To keep your home from sustaining additional damage when your roof is damaged,
you can apply an emergency blue tarp to create a temporary seal to prevent water and
moisture out until you can have it properly repaired. An emergency tarp is essential to prevent
additional roof damage, but it is vital to understand that this is only a temporary fix until you
can have a professional come out and fix the roof properly.