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How to Properly Tarp a Roof

June 1, 2022
Residential Roofs , Storm Damage

During busy storm seasons, homeowners, property owners, and roofers are left with storm damage resulting in roof leaks. Emergency roof repairs are needed urgently to protect the interior of the home and diminish co-occurring damages due to the roof leak. Tarping is a common method used by roofers to create a barrier for water entry into the interior of the home until a permanent solution is found. Tarping seems simple enough to a DIY homeowner or inexperienced roofer, but there is a method to how to properly tarp a roof to ensure your home is protected from rain. How to properly tarp a roof includes: 

  1. Finding the leak source on the roof 
  2. Choosing the right material to create the barrier and seal the water from entry into the home
  3. Securing the tarp around the perimeter of the problem area
  4. Finding permanent solutions to the leak or storm damage on the roof

Finding the Leak Source on the Roof

Roof leaks can be tricky to find if there is not an obvious area (tree branch puncture, busted skylight, etc.). One way to find the source of the leak is a thorough attic inspection to find where the source of water is coming from. Sometimes homeowners can suspect the source of water entry is coming from the roof, but instead can be a leak in the hot water heater, or air conditioning unit in the attic of their home. These sources must be ruled out to ensure that the roof is the source of the leak and can be done through a thorough inspection of the attic of the home.  Common sources of leaks are roof penetrations that are not sealed such as pipe jacks, turbines, rain caps, rotted decking underneath the shingles, nail pops or missing shingles, sometimes chimneys without flashing in the back (cricket flashing), or roofs that don’t have enough pitch and were shingled over rather than the appropriate flat roof materials. 

Choosing the Right Material

Tarps can be made out of synthetic felt or standard tarping. Felt pins, 2x4s, lath boards, bricks or stones can be used depending on the size and pitch of the area on the roof that requires tarping.

How to Secure a Tarp on the Roof

Our roofers use felt pins to safely secure the tarp and in windy areas it is necessary to place 2x4s or lath boards around the perimeter to ensure the tarp stays secure. On a flat roof, it may be best to place bricks or stones around the perimeter of the tarp to avoid hole punctures or penetration on the flat roof. Another key to prevent water entry in specific leak areas is to tarp 2-4 feet above where the leak is and also tuck the tarp under the shingles above or go over the ridge to the other side to ensure that water doesn’t run down the tarp straight into the area. When the tarp is not secured by pins on a shingled roof with pitch, it is susceptible to being blown off by the wind and continued leaks. 

What is a permanent solution to repair a leak?

Depending on the source of the leak and how extensive the damage, options that homeowners have are to repair the problem area on the roof or replace the roof entirely to resolve the problem. Emergency roof repair can solve the leak issue when the roof is in good condition and there is a restricted  problem area. Some homeowners choose to fully replace the roof if larger issues occur on an aging or improperly installed roof.

How much does a tarp cost?

The cost for a professional roofer to install a tarp ranges from $300 to $2000 or more depending depending on the size of the area that needs to be repaired and cost of materials,

Does my insurance company cover a tarp?

Most homeowner’s insurance companies will cover the cost of a tarp if  the damage is from a recent storm. Homeowners have 1 year from the date of the storm to file an insurance claim to claim damage from a wind or hail storm. Depending on the cost of the homeowner’s deductible on their specific homeowner’s insurance policy, the cost of the tarp and repair could be less than the cost of the deductible which would result in a lower cost to pay out of pocket than file an insurance claim on the homeowner’s policy. If the homeowner files a claim and it is approved, the roofing company can add the cost of the tarp onto the insurance claim. 

Local Roofer in Shreveport/Bossier

Our team of roofers in Shreveport/Bossier are experienced in tarping, repairing, and replacing roofs following damage from storms. If you are asking how to properly tarp a roof, call us at 318.202.2123 today to make sure that the job is done correctly the first time. Our roofers offer free roof inspections and free roof estimates.

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