How to Tarp a Roof

You will need to tarp a roof if it is in need of repair or if you have a broken skylight you cannot repair quickly. This will protect the interior of your home and save the roof from further damage. When you tarp a roof, it will give you as long as 90-days protection from rain, depending on the weather conditions. If you know how to attach a tarp to a roof, it will allow you to make the repairs you need to make while protecting your home.


  1. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 1.png
    Identify the damaged section of the roof. Check the interior of the house for leaks and then check the exterior for damaged tiles.
  2. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 2.png
    Unfold the tarp just enough to cover up the part of the roof that is leaking. Go from the eave of the roof, leaving 4 feet (1.22 m) of tarp on the end, all the way up to the peak of the roof. Leave 4 feet (1.22 m) of tarp on this end, as well, and cut the tarp to fit with a utility knife.
  3. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 3.png
    Measure the width of the tarp and add 2 feet (.61 m) to this measurement. Cut 4 2 x 4s (38 x 89 mm) to this length with a hand or electric saw.
  4. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 4.png
    Wrap the end of the tarp near the eaves around one of the boards and nail or staple the tarp to the board so it is secure. Make sure that the board lays flat against the roof with the folded side down to prevent water and leaves from collecting. You will want the tarp flush with the eaves.
  5. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 5.png
    Take a second board and place it on top of the wrapped board. Use 3 1/4 nails to nail them together.
  6. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 6.png
    Stretch the other side of the tarp over the roof's peak.
  7. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 7.png
    Wrap this end of the tarp around one of the other boards. Nail it so that the rolled side is down and goes through to the roof sheathing.
  8. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 8.png
    Lay the fourth board on top of the wrapped board and nail them together.
  9. Image titled Tarp a Roof Step 9.png
    Use as many 2 x 4 (38 x 89 mm) boards as you need to nail along the length of both sides of the tarp. Make sure they are no more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) apart.


  • Placing a tarp on a roof can be dangerous work. If you can, hire a professional to do this or get some assistance from an experienced roofer.


  • Do not attempt this project alone in case of injury.
  • Never stand on a tarp on a roof, especially if the tarp is wet.
  • Do not climb up onto a roof during bad weather.
  • Never stand on a steep-pitched roof.
  • Do not walk on a damaged roof until you can pinpoint where the damage is. Do not walk on the damaged area. It could be unstable.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 x 4 (38 x 89 mm) boards
  • Electric or hand saw
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 3 1/4 nails

Article Info

Categories: Exterior Walls and Roof