Roof and Deck Tarpaulin for Storm Protection

Canvas Heavy Duty tarpaulin

Using tarps for roof and deck protection during storms is a smart choice for several key reasons. Tarpaulins form an effective barrier that can prevent a variety of weather-related damage. Roof and deck tarps are surprisingly affordable given how much money and hassle they can save homeowners from potential repairs.

Why Use Roof and Deck Tarpaulin for Storm Protection?

Tarpaulins block rain, hail, and flying debris from directly striking roofing materials or saturated decks. This protecting these surfaces is crucial to prevent costly water damage inside the home.

Siding Damage

High winds may cause shingles, tiles, or siding to be torn loose without proper securing. Tarpaulin holds these materials in place during severe gusts.

Roof Leaks

Heavy rain or hail can sometimes penetrate existing roofing even if it’s in good shape, causing ceilings or walls inside to get wet. Tarpaulins create a secondary barrier to deflect precipitation.

Flooded Decks

Wood decks not covered by eaves or overhangs are highly susceptible to rain saturation, especially during prolonged downpours. Saturated wood can swell, crack, or rot quickly.

Roof and Deck Tarpaulin Materials

When selecting a tarp material, two important factors to consider are durability and weather resistance. The most common options include:


Though lightweight, polyethylene holds up well to sun, water, and occasional abrasion. Not as puncture-resistant as other options. Best for lower-traffic roof areas.

Reinforced Edges

Edges that are doubled or triple-thickness polyethylene, vinyl, or nylon wear much longer than standard single-ply edges. Reinforced edges better withstand abrasion from fixtures, foot traffic, and environmental elements like sun and wind.

UV Coatings

Plastic tarps like polyethylene and vinyl are susceptible to damage from ultraviolet light over time. Tarps with UV inhibitors integrated into the material will maintain strength and flexibility far longer when exposed to the sun. Look for Heavy Duty Tarpaulin labeled “UV resistant” or “UV protected” for maximum longevity.

Measuring and Installing Roof and Deck Tarpaulins

Proper measuring ensures the selected tarp size will fully cover the intended area with adequate overlap on all sides. This helps prevent leaks around the edges. To measure:

Prepare Early

Measure well in advance of rain so there’s time to purchase the right size and install it securely. Rushing leads to mistakes.

Measure Twice

Confirm dimensions are correct before cutting or buying a pre-cut tarp to avoid ending up with one that’s too small.

Roof Slope

On sloped roofs, place grommets or rope tie-downs working from the bottom up to prevent slippage.

Anchor Points

Use sturdy wood or metal fixtures like posts or hooks to distribute the tarp weight evenly. Avoid using weak structures like railings or gutters.

Special Shapes

On non-standard surfaces like dormers, posts, or chimneys, cut tarp pieces and seal seams with waterproof tape.

Initial Tension

Pull firmly on ropes during installation to eliminate wrinkles and slack that could cause leaks during rain. Overlapping edges should be tight.

Maintaining and Storing Roof and Deck Tarpaulins

With proper care, tarps can remain serviceable for many storm seasons. Basic maintenance includes:

Inspection Schedule

Check tarps twice yearly and before/after storms for issues. Address small problems before they spread.

Rotating Storage

To prolong all tarps’ useful lives, rotate which tarp is stored and which is installed on an annual basis.

Mold & Mildew

To prevent growth, allow tarps to air dry completely after cleaning before folding. Some tarps are treated with antimicrobial additives.

Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to direct UV light can degrade plastic tarps over time. Shade storage from the sun when possible.

Animal Proofing

Securely store tarps where rodents and insects cannot access, chew, or make homes in them. This prevents damage.

Weatherproof Bags

For outdoor or uncovered storage, tarps are best kept in sturdy, breathable bags designed to protect from sun, rain, and snow.


Use permanent markers to label each tarp with the installation location, material type, and purchase/cleaning dates for easy identification over the years.

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