Installing a roof tarp after hurricane Ian

What is the FEMA Blue Tarp Program and How Does it work?

Tarping a damaged roof after a hurricane or tropical storm is vital to prevent further damage from leaks and potential mold issues, while allowing you to remain in your home until a full repair can take place. There are three main options for installing a blue roof tarp on your home after a hurricane or major storm: DIY Roof Tarp Installation, Operation Blue Roof / FEMA, and hiring a professional roofing contractor.

Operation Blue Roof / FEMA Roof Tarps

Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Under this program, residents in designated disaster areas can apply free of charge to get “fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs.” The original mission for Operation Blue Roof in response to Hurricane Ian was scheduled to accept applications for 21 days, ending on Oct. 23, 2022. However, due to larger than expected demand, the application deadline was extended to Nov. 1, 2022. Here is a link for the program’s website

Eligibility Zones for Hurricane Ian Blue Roof Program:

  • Lee County (Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs, Sanibel)
  • Charlotte County (Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood, Grove City, Rotanda West, Placida)
  • Sarasota County (Englewood, Venice, South Venice, North Port, Nokomis, Laurel)
  • Collier County (Naple, North Naples, Marco Island, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, Goodland)
  • DeSoto County (Arcadia, Southeast Arcadia, Fort Ogden, Nocatee)

Hire a Professional Roofing Contractor

Once Operation Blue Roof no longer accepts applications, residents are left with two options for a roof tarp installation: hire a professional roofing contractor or DIY. A roofing contractor can provide a thorough inspection of your entire roofing system and document any and all damages that resulted from the hurricane. Additionally, many roofing contractors are well-versed in handling storm damage roofing insurance claims and will be able to get the roof tarp install reimbursed as part of the overall claim. In some cases, it may make sense to hire a roofing contractor to install a tarp on your roof, even if there are FEMA / USACE tarping programs available. The main reason is speed. Perhaps your home requires IMMEDIATE repairs after a storm. It may take a couple days for a FEMA tarp program to get up and running and then there is an application process and backlog. It could take several days before your home gets the FEMA blue tarp installed. Since the purpose of installing a tarp on your roof after a hurricane is to prevent further damage, waiting several days might not be an option for you. 

If you still need professional roof tarp installed on your home, call 813-252-1547.

DIY Roof Tarping

If you have the time and are reasonably handy, tarping a roof yourself can be a good option. Tarping a roof is not complicated and requires just a few materials that can be purchased at any local hardware store or building center. Just keep in mind that doing any type of work on a roof can be dangerous and you should take all necessary precautions to stay safe. What materials you need and how to tarp a roof depends on the type of roofing system that you have: asphalt shingle, tile, cedar, or slate. Below if a list of materials you will need to do a DIY roof tarp and some helpful video links that walk you through how to install a tarp on your roof.

What You’ll need (asphalt shingles and cedar shingles):

  • Tarp – Best to use a vinyl-coated polyester tarp. Sizes range from 5 x 7 to 20 x 30
  • Lumber – long wood boards – 1 x 2 firring strips or 2 x 4’s, plywood to cover holes
  • Nails – 1-inch plastic cap nails
  • Screws – 3-inch exterior wood or deck screws
  • Butyl Tape – if tarping around vents
  • Power Drill

What You’ll Need (tile roof or slate roof)

  • Tarp – Best to use a vinyl-coated polyester tarp. Sizes range from 5 x 7 to 20 x 30
  • Sandbags – pack of empty sandbags: woven polypropylene, heavy duty – sold in packs of 10-100
  • All Purpose Sand – usually sold in 50-60 lbs. bags
  • Zip Ties
  • Butyl Tape – if tarping around vents

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