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Help after a Natural Disaster: Using a Tarp to Cover a Damage Roof

Aug 31, 2008
When the dangers of a hurricane or other natural disaster have subsided and everyone is safe, it is time to cover any damage on your roof with a tarp. This will prevent further damage to your home from additional wind and rain until you can have the repairs made. If this is not done as soon as you can, the damage could spread to the point that you may not be able to repair your home and be forced to rebuild it.

Inspecting the Roof

After a storm, you will need to check the roof to see if it has been damaged. This isn't always as easy as it sounds. Damage such as rips, tears, large dents, and missing shingles can be seen easily, but smaller dips and sagging is a little harder to see and often causes the most damage.

First, check the underside of the roof by entering the attic. You are looking for gaps or hanging sheeting as well as water spots. Then, check the outside of the roof. Look for anything that is missing, water signs, broken roof vents or anything else that appears to have been affected by the storm.

Roof Safety

When affixing a tarp to the roof, there are a few important safety measures to keep in mind. First, never go out onto the roof until well after the storm passed. When you do head out, never look for damage by standing on the roof - if it has been damaged, you could easily fall through. Steep roofs, wet shingles and metal, and tarps can be extremely slippery and should be avoided as much as possible.

Covering the Roof

To cover your roof, you will need poly or vinyl tarps, 2x4 boards, staples, and large nails as well as equipment such as a ladder, gloves, a hammer, a stapler, and eye protection. The vinyl tarps will need to be large enough to cover the damaged portions of the roof from the peak to the eaves trough with at least eight feet extra. The boards will need to be at least two feet longer than the width of the tarp so that there is space to secure it down.

For each of the vinyl tarps needed, spread them out and add a 2x4 to the end of each one by wrapping it in the material. Staple the end to the board and set the wood so that it is underneath the tarp so that there is no edge to hold water and debris.

Next, set another board on top and nail everything together. You can then lay everything out past the ends of the roof, just be sure there is four feet extra on either end. One edge should be past the roof's peak and the other can be extended past the eaves trough. You can then prepare the other end the same way and nail it under the eaves trough. To secure the length of the vinyl tarp, nail down short segments of 2x4.

Covering a roof with tarps is by no means a permanent solution, but it will keep the roof from suffering further damage from the wind and water. It will work for up to three months while you are waiting for appraisers and professionals so you can get the roof repaired properly.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on tarps, visit www.mytarp.com.
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