How Much Does It Cost To Tarp A Roof? A Must-Read 

by Mario Garcia
How Much Does It Cost To Tarp a Roof

Why aren’t many homeowners securing their roofs via tarping? Some whose roofs are already damaged prefer changing them immediately. They also don’t mind managing the leaking roof until the contractor comes around. 

Roof tarping can help protect your roof from the impact of the elements of weather. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re noticing a possible roof leak, or perhaps there’s a leak already, or you want to improve your home a bit; tarping is a great idea. 

Tarping can help ensure your damaged or leaking roof doesn’t get any worse before a contractor arrives. It will protect your leaking roof from water damage. 

Most people don’t find roof tarping attractive because of the acclaimed cost of getting such done. But the reverse is the case, so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.   

Before we start discussing other things, let’s answer the question. 

How much does it cost to tarp a roof?

The cost of installing a tarp on a roof varies and depends on the tarp’s length and quality. It also depends on if you’ll hire a professional. But then, don’t forget the cost of wood and other materials needed to install the tarp.

Roofing contractors can charge as low as $200 or as high as $800. The charge depends on the timing. Is it during work hours or emergency service? Again, a 20×20 roof tarp can cost anywhere from $20 to $80 in hardware stores like Walmart. 

Installing a tarp to your roof is a temporary measure to prevent leaks and further damage on it before the permanent repair. So, you can consider doing it yourself, and save money, instead of hiring a professional. 

How To Tarp A Roof

You can tarp your roof yourself. All you have to do is obtain knowledge of how to get it done, including the right set of tools. Follow the steps below. 

You’ll need:

  • A ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Safety equipment
  • Drill   
  • Long screws
  • Several cap nails
  • Hammer

Step#1: Check the level of damage

Firstly, check the extent of the damage. It may be easy to find the areas that have leaks through water stains under the roof sheathing. You’ll find it easily in your attic. If you don’t have one, check for it directly on your roof.

Climb onto the roof with a ladder to assess the level of damage. However, don’t climb on the top if it’s steep. Instead, stand on the ladder and inspect the area. You can take a picture from there with your phone to assess the level of damage. You can even use it as evidence for your home insurance.

Step#2: Measure the dimension

Measuring the dimension will help you know the length of tarp you’ll need. Take precise and accurate measurements. You don’t want your work to be harder to round off. Also, add extra inches above and below the damaged areas when you take the measurements. 

You need to also measure above the roof ridgeline. It’ll ensure that water won’t get under the tarp.

Step# 3: Buy a suitable roof tarp

The measurement you got will come in handy when you want to buy a roof tarp. You can purchase it from a hardware store. It’s better to buy one that’s a bit bigger than the size of the damaged area. 

Be sure to choose a suitable tarp. It should have UV protection, so it can withstand the impact of sun rays and last long. Also, it should be able to prevent other adverse conditions.

Step#4: Purchase proper safety equipment

If you don’t have the proper equipment, buy them along with the tarp. It’s not safe to go up the roof without the appropriate safety equipment. So buy thick gloves, a hamlet, non-slip boots, and protective glasses.

Step#5: Place the tarp

It’s time to place the tarp. But then, you can’t do it all by yourself. Ask a friend to help you place the tarp on the roof. Unroll the tarp on the roof over the damaged area. Make sure it goes past the ridge of the roof. And let the other end of the tarp hang over the eave.

Furthermore, it’ll help if you clean off dirt or debris from the roof. You can use a brush or roof rake to remove leaves and other debris, so you don’t place the tarp over them. Also, ensure you set it when the weather is favorable for you to finish the installation.

Step#6: Secure and attach the tarp 

Attach the tarp to the roof. Now, lay a 2×4 board at the edge of the tarp that goes over the ridge. Next, roll the tarp a few times around the 2×4 such that it covers all sides. Let about 2 feet of the board extend beyond the tarp at the sides. Then, attach the 2×4 or anchor boards (boards that attach the tarp to the roof) to the tarp with cap nails. 

Next, screw the wrapped board to the roof using a drill. Make use of long screws (about 2 inches long). Repeat the same procedure for the rest ends of the tarp.

Place a 2×4 board on the tarp at a right angle to the anchor board (don’t roll with a tarp), and screw it to the roof.

Next, bring up the end of the tarp that’s over the eave. Attach a 2×4 to the side and roll the tarp around it to cover it. Make sure you leave out about 2 feet of the 2×4 when you wrap it. Then tack it with cap nails. Now place it back under the eave and screw it in with a drill.

Finally, attach more 2×4 boards at the side of the tarp that’s at a right angle to the eave. Also, attach 2x4s on top of the anchor boards, so they don’t tear. 

You can screw more 2x4s wherever you think it’s needed.

How To Pick The Perfect Tarp For Your Roof

Consider the weight:

You have to decide the right weight for your tarp, as all tarps are not the same weight. A standard tarp can be about five mils thick, but some heavy-duty tarps are about twelve mils thick. 

A tarp that has more weight has more chance of withstanding weather conditions. So, a tarp that has more weight is more suitable for roofing. 

However, a lightweight tarp still has its place in roofing. If the damage is not severe or you’ve called for a permanent repair, you can quickly use a light tarp before the permanent roofing. It’s straightforward to install it than a heavy-weight tarp.

Therefore, the weight of the tarp will determine how long it’ll last before a more permanent repair.

Consider if it’s waterproof:

Not all tarps are waterproof. If you’re trying to keep out rainwater or heavy storms, make sure the tarp is waterproof. You don’t want to buy a very light tarp that can easily let in the rain. 

It’s best to go for a tarp that’s smooth and slippery enough to let rainwater run down and not leak into it. A poly tarp suits this aspect perfectly.

Ability to withstand mildew:

It’s not enough for the tarp you’re using to be waterproof; it has to be mildew-proof too. You don’t want a mold culture in your roof. It can make your family get sick, which is not a situation you’ll like. It’s also dangerous to your roof structure.

A heavy-duty tarp can be resistant to mildew, so you’ll be able to keep your home and family safe.

Level of rust resistance:

You have to ensure that the grommets or fasteners you use for the tarp are rust-resistant. If they’re not, you’ll have to remove the tarps sooner than you’d expect.  

A waterproof tarp will be ineffective if it has grommets that are not rust-resistant. The rain or storm will make it rust faster. So, install the tarps with rust-resistant grommets.

Safety Measures When Installing Tarp To A Roof

  • Don’t use a metal ladder to go up the roof near power lines or electrical equipment. Make sure the ladder is about three feet above the top when you lean it. Also, place the ladder on a flat surface or dig a hole on the ground if it’s slippery to make the ladder balance well.
  • Check the strength of the roof before you step on it to take measurements. Also, don’t step on the roof tarp when you’re working. It’s better to stay on the ladder, especially if you can do the task from it. Only go on the roof when needed.
  • Don’t install the tarp during unfavorable weather. Avoid installations during a stormy or rainy day. Also, be very careful when you work on a wet roof.
  • Use fall protection devices like safety harnesses or nets. Place them well, especially when you’re working on a steep roof.
  • Look out for attachments like satellite dishes, cables, and lightning arrests. So you don’t trip on them.
  • Wear the proper boots. You can use non-slip shoes or boots that can easily grip the roof surface even when it’s wet.
  • Don’t overwork yourself. Take breaks when you’re tired. It’ll help if you concentrate, as it’ll be dangerous to lose your grip or footing.
  • Call a professional if you don’t feel up to the task. It’s okay to feel that way, but never install it yourself when you’re in doubt.


Adding a roof tarp depends mainly on the price of the tarp and the charge for installing it. However, you can reduce the cost if you install it yourself.

You can tarp your roof with ease by following the steps and safety measures highlighted in this post. And remember, you will need help at some point. So, inform your friend beforehand to be available to help you mount your tarp. 

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