If your roof needs repair, or if you have a broken skylight that you cannot repair quickly, covering the affected area with a tarp can protect the inside of your home and prevent further damage to the roof. If you cover the area with a tarp, it can protect your home from rain for up to 90 days until you are able to make the necessary repairs.
First, identify the damaged part of the roof. Check for damaged tiles outside and leaks inside the house.
Unfold the tarp just enough to cover the leaky section of the roof. Leave four feet of tarp hanging off the eave, go over the peak of the roof, and leave four feet on the other end. Cut the tarp to fit with a utility knife.
Measure the width of the tarp and add two feet. Cut four 2-inch-by-4-inch boards to this length using a hand or electric saw.
Wrap the end of the tarp near the eaves around one of the boards and nail or staple it securely. Lay the board flush with the eaves with the folded side down to prevent water and leaves from collecting. Place a second board on top of the first and nail them together with 3 ¼-inch nails.
Stretch the other side of the tarp over the peak of the roof. Wrap that end around another board and nail it so the rolled side is down and the nails go through the roof sheathing. Place the fourth board on top of the wrapped board and nail them together. Nail additional 2-inch-by-4-inch boards along the sides of the tarp no more than 10 inches apart to secure it.
This work can be dangerous. If possible, hire a professional to do it or seek help from an experienced roofer.