Emergency Tarping: An Essential Protective Measure for Damaged Roofs


Introduction to Emergency Tarping:

Emergency tarping is a critical service that comes into play when a property’s roof is compromised due to various reasons like severe weather, fire, or structural damage. The objective of emergency tarping is to offer a temporary, but effective solution to prevent further damage to the property until professional repair or replacement can occur.  This is particularly useful in scenarios where widespread damage has occurred, for instance here’s a link that talks about emergency tarping from the Federal Emergency Management Agency

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When is Emergency Tarping Required?: 

There is a range of circumstances when emergency tarping might be required. Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and hail storms are among the leading causes of significant roof damage, necessitating immediate tarping. Furthermore, fires, whether caused by a natural disaster or an internal issue, can cause substantial structural damage to roofs, making them unstable and unsafe. Even less catastrophic events, such as a fallen tree limb, can lead to enough roof damage to warrant tarping.

Usage of Emergency Tarping Based on Weather Events: 

Statistics show that emergency tarping is used most frequently following severe weather events, especially in areas prone to such occurrences. For instance, the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states frequently experience hurricanes, leading to a higher demand for emergency tarping services. Similarly, the Midwestern states, known as Tornado Alley, and the hail-prone states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas also see frequent use of these services.

Factors Contributing to Roof Damage:

Primary factors contributing to roof damage vary from environmental to man-made elements. As stated, weather events play a significant role, with wind, rain, hail, and snow all possessing the ability to inflict serious damage. However, less immediate factors can also contribute. Aging and general wear and tear can degrade roofing materials over time, leading to a point where a strong wind or a heavy rainfall can cause significant damage. Other factors include improper installation, low-quality materials, or lack of regular maintenance.

Regions Most Affected by Severe Weather Events: 

While every region has its unique weather challenges contributing to roof damage, areas most frequently affected by severe weather events necessitating emergency tarping include the coastal regions of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the central plains region, and parts of the Rocky Mountains due to their heavy snowfall.

Importance of Emergency Tarping for Property Owners: 

By understanding the concept of emergency tarping, property owners can better appreciate its importance in protecting their investment. It can make the difference between an inconvenient temporary problem and long-term, high-cost damage. Recognizing when emergency tarping is necessary, and acting quickly, can help homeowners safeguard their properties effectively.

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Best Roofer in Gwinnett County

The Importance of Emergency Tarping:

Emergency tarping is akin to a quick fix, an indispensable stop-gap measure that can prevent various forms of damage to a property. Here are the key forms of damage that emergency tarping can prevent:

  1. Water Damage: Water intrusion is one of the most immediate and damaging effects of a compromised roof. If not tarped quickly, rain can seep into the building, damaging ceilings, walls, and floors, and can even lead to structural instability. This damage extends beyond physical destruction to include potential electrical issues if water infiltrates wiring systems.
  2. Structural Issues: Prolonged exposure to water can lead to the decay of wooden structural elements, including the roof’s rafters and joists, the building’s framework, and even 3. foundational elements. Once these components are compromised, the integrity of the entire structure is at risk, leading to potentially substantial repair costs.
  3. Mold Growth: Water intrusion creates the ideal conditions for mold growth. Mold can proliferate within 24-48 hours of water exposure, spreading throughout the structure via air vents, resulting in a hazardous living or working environment.

Financial Implications of Ignoring Damaged Roofs:

The cost of neglecting to tarp a damaged roof can be exponential, both financially and health-wise. The National Institute of Building Sciences reports that every dollar spent on hazard mitigation, including measures like emergency tarping, can save society six dollars in future disaster costs. Furthermore, as noted by Robert R. Solomon of the National Fire Protection Association, “An emergency tarp on a compromised roof…can be a lifesaver. By the time a roof starts leaking, there’s often a lot more damage than meets the eye.”

Case Study: 

This point is underscored by a case study of a family in Houston, Texas, whose home was damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The family quickly employed emergency tarping to protect their home from further water damage, ultimately preventing what could have been tens of thousands of dollars in additional damage.

Health Risks of Overlooking Roof Damage: 

Moreover, the health implications of neglecting to tarp can be severe. Mold exposure can cause a variety of health issues, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and allergic reactions. According to Dr. David Dyjack, Executive Director of the National Environmental Health Association, “Mold…can have immediate and long-term health effects. It’s critical to prevent its growth in the aftermath of water damage to a home or building.”

The Necessity of Emergency Tarping: 

In conclusion, the importance of emergency tarping cannot be understated. It acts as a necessary defense against further damage, saving property owners significant time, money, and potential health problems down the line. As part of a holistic disaster management strategy, it is a crucial first step towards a complete restoration.

Emergency Tarping

The Process of Emergency Tarping:

  1. Damage Assessment: Before any tarping can take place, a thorough assessment of the roof damage is essential. This involves determining the extent of the damage, the area that needs to be covered, and any structural weaknesses that might affect the tarping process. Roofers should consider the type of roof, whether flat or sloped, and the materials used, as these factors will affect the tarping process.
  2. Choose the Right Tarp: Tarps come in various sizes and materials. Polyethylene tarps are commonly used due to their durability and water resistance. The size of the tarp chosen should be sufficient to cover the damaged area with an overhang to secure it properly.
  3. Preparation: Once the tarp is chosen, it’s time to prepare the roof. Any debris on the roof should be cleared away, and any loose roofing material should be removed to ensure the tarp lies flat against the roof surface.
  4. Tarp Placement: Carefully roll out the tarp over the damaged area, ensuring that it extends over the roof peak and hangs evenly on both sides. This overhang is crucial to prevent water from seeping under the tarp.
  5. Securing the Tarp: There are different ways to secure a tarp, but commonly, 2x4s are used. Lay them across the tarp’s edge and secure them with roofing nails or screws. On the roof’s peak, secure the tarp with a strapping or batten down the center.
  6. Final Inspection: After the tarp is secured, a final inspection is done to ensure there are no loose ends that could allow water to seep in or the wind to blow the tarp off.


Safety is a crucial element when performing emergency tarping. Always ensure that the ladder used to reach the roof is sturdy and placed on a solid, even surface. Never attempt to carry out this procedure in stormy or windy conditions, as this could lead to accidents. If you are not comfortable performing this task, it is advisable to hire a professional to do it.

Choosing The Right Tarp: 

Choosing the right type of tarp and installing it properly can offer a temporary solution to roof damage. However, it’s essential to seek professional help for a long-term repair or replacement to prevent further damage.

Remember: Emergency tarping is a temporary solution. Always seek professional help for complete roof repair or replacement.

The Implications for Insurance Coverage:

Emergency tarping can be a critical first step after roof damage has occurred, but understanding how this procedure fits into the broader insurance landscape is crucial.

Insurance Coverage Scenarios

The specific scenarios in which emergency tarping is covered by insurance can differ widely depending on the policy and the circumstances of the damage. Generally, if a covered peril, such as wind or hail, has caused the damage, the cost of emergency tarping should be covered.

Let’s consider a few examples:

  1. Covered Peril Causing Damage: If a windstorm tears off a section of your roof, this is generally considered a covered peril, and the cost of tarping the roof to prevent further damage should be covered by your insurance.
  2. Neglect or Maintenance Issues: If your roof is damaged due to neglect or lack of maintenance, the damage might not be covered by your insurance, and neither would the cost of emergency tarping. Regular inspection and maintenance of the roof are homeowner responsibilities.
  3. Damage Caused by Excluded Perils: Some insurance policies specifically exclude certain perils, such as earthquakes or floods. If your roof is damaged due to an excluded peril, the cost of emergency tarping would not be covered.

Navigating the Claim Process

Understanding how to navigate the claim process can help to ensure you receive the maximum benefits from your insurance policy.

  1. Immediate Reporting: As soon as the damage occurs, report it to your insurance company. Many insurers have a stipulated time frame within which damage must be reported.
  2. Document Damage: Take pictures or videos of the damage before and after emergency tarping. This documentation can provide crucial evidence when filing your insurance claim.
  3. Estimates and Inspections: Your insurance company will likely send an adjuster to inspect the damage. You should also obtain estimates from professional roofing companies to ensure you understand the full extent and cost of the damage.
  4. Review and Negotiate Claim: Once the insurance company provides a claim amount, review it thoroughly. If you feel the amount is inadequate, don’t hesitate to negotiate. Having your estimates and inspections at hand will support your negotiation.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies

  1. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain a log of all communication with your insurance company. This documentation can be useful in case of disputes.
  2. Know Your Policy: Understanding the ins and outs of your policy is crucial. Know what is covered, what is not, and the amount of your deductible.
  3. Professional Assistance: If the claim process becomes overwhelming, consider hiring a public adjuster or an attorney who specializes in insurance claims to advocate on your behalf.

Remember, every insurance policy is different, and coverage can vary widely. Always check your specific policy to understand what is covered. In addition, working with a reputable roofing company like Good Shepherd Roofing can ensure your roof is repaired properly, minimizing future maintenance issues and potential conflicts with your insurance company.

Pricing Considerations:

The cost of emergency tarping can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors. These include the size and complexity of the job, the severity of the damage, regional pricing differences, and even the impact of widespread disasters.

Pricing Variables

  1. Size and Complexity: The larger or more complex a roofing structure, the more materials and labor will be required to adequately cover it, thus increasing costs.
  2. Severity of Damage: More severe damage may require more extensive work to secure a tarp, or possibly multiple tarps, further driving up costs.
  3. Regional Pricing Differences: Pricing for labor and materials can vary by region. Higher costs of living often correlate with higher labor costs, and availability of materials can also affect pricing.
  4. Widespread Disasters: In the aftermath of a widespread disaster such as a hurricane, demand for emergency tarping and other roofing services can spike, leading to potential price increases. Conversely, government programs may sometimes step in to regulate or subsidize costs in these situations.

Ensuring a Fair Price

Homeowners can employ several strategies to make sure they’re getting a fair price for emergency tarping.

  1. Multiple Quotes: It’s always a good idea to get quotes from several reputable roofing companies. This will provide a range of prices to compare. Beware of prices that seem too good to be true – they often are.
  2. Check References and Reviews: A well-established company should be able to provide references or have online reviews. Check these to ensure the company has a history of fair pricing and satisfied customers.   Even better, check and see if the company has a proper office where they do business.  We talk about the importance of that in this article from Good Shepherd Roofing.
  3. Understand What’s Included: When you receive a quote, make sure it includes all necessary services. Some companies may quote only for the tarping, with extra fees for services such as removal of debris.
  4. Emergency Premiums: Understand that roofing companies may charge an emergency premium for immediate service, especially in the wake of a widespread disaster. This is a standard practice, but the premium should be reasonable.
  5. Insurance Adjustment: Your insurance adjuster should be able to provide an estimate of the cost that can serve as a benchmark. Check out this article on the process of a roof replacement claim to learn more. 
  6. Beware of Scams: After a major disaster, beware of “storm chasers,” unlicensed contractors who go door-to-door offering cheap tarping or repair services. These operators often do shoddy work or disappear once paid.

Remember, the goal of emergency tarping is to prevent further damage to your home. Investing in a properly installed, high-quality tarp can save substantial money in the long run by avoiding more extensive damage. Always consult with a reputable company like Good Shepherd Roofing to ensure you’re getting fair prices and professional service.


Understanding Emergency Tarping

Emergency tarping is a crucial response to prevent further damage when a roof is compromised. It safeguards against water damage, structural instability, and mold proliferation, all of which have significant financial and health implications.

When is Emergency Tarping Required?

Various factors necessitate the use of emergency tarping, such as severe weather conditions, fallen trees, and fires. Locations with high frequency of storms or harsh weather conditions often require emergency tarping services more frequently.

The Process of Emergency Tarping

The process of emergency tarping begins with a thorough assessment of the damage, followed by the careful selection of a suitable tarp and the implementation of safety measures during its installation. The job must be done efficiently and correctly to ensure the tarp stays secure until proper repairs can be made.

Emergency Tarping and Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage typically includes tarping under its protection policy, but specifics depend on individual terms and conditions. Good preparation, clear communication, and detailed documentation are key when dealing with insurance claims related to roof damage and emergency tarping.

Cost Implications of Emergency Tarping

The cost of emergency tarping is influenced by factors such as the size and complexity of the job, the extent of the damage, regional pricing, and the impact of widespread disasters. Homeowners are advised to gather multiple quotes, check references and reviews, understand what’s included in the quote, and be aware of potential scams to ensure a fair price.

Preparedness Tips for Homeowners

Homeowners can be proactive in their emergency readiness by:

  1. Having a Tarp on Hand: Keep a high-quality tarp and some basic tools in your home. This allows for immediate action when needed, preventing further damage until professionals arrive.
  2. Knowing Basic Installation: Learn the basics of tarp installation. While it’s advisable to have professionals handle the process, understanding how it’s done can be helpful in emergencies.
  3. Regular Roof Maintenance and Inspection: Preventive measures like routine roof maintenance and inspections can mitigate the need for emergency tarping.
  4. Having a Trusted Roofing Company Contact: Build a relationship with a reputable roofing company. Having their contact handy helps speed up the process when you need emergency assistance.

Remember, the purpose of emergency tarping is to serve as a temporary solution to protect your home. Always seek professional help for proper roof repairs as soon as possible. Good Shepherd Roofing is always ready to assist, ensuring high-quality service and a fair price.