A storm can wreak havoc on your roof, leaving you with missing shingles or even worse, a hole. Holes typically occur either because a vent stack is torn from the roof, or a branch or other object punctures the roof. If you can't get a roofer out to fix the damage immediately, then you will need to put together a temporary patch. The following can help.

Gather your supplies

The best materials for a temporary patch is a sturdy tarp, a couple of 1-by-3-inch boards, and some roofing nails. Since you will likely want a more attractive and permanent patch later, skip things that can't easily be removed, like roofing tar. For a hole, a piece of thin plywood larger than the hole, along with a drill and screws, is also needed.

Also, don't overlook safety equipment. This includes work gloves, shoes that grip well, and eye protection. You should also have someone on the ground spotting you.

Size your tarp

The tarp needs to be long enough to stretch a foot below the hole and over the ridge of the roof and down the other side by a foot. It should be wider than the damaged area by several inches on each side. You can use any type of tarp, but those that are UV-resistant and made for extended outdoor use are best.

Patch the hole

Begin by patching over the hole. Lay the plywood over the hole and secure it in place with the screws. This simple patch won't keep out water, but it will help prevent the loss of hot or cool air in the house. It also provides protection from leaks in the tarp, since a tarp stretched over an uncovered hole is more likely to become pierced.

Lay down the tarp

Secure the tarp on the side opposite the hole, on the other side of the ridge. Wrap the edge of the tarp twice around a 1-by-3-inch board. Secure the board to the roof with roofing nails. The reason you want this edge on the other side of the ridge is so it is on a downward slope – if you place it right above the hole on the upward slope, water could leak beneath the tarp.

Now, stretch the tarp taut to the other side of the roof. Wrap the edge around a board and secure it to the roof. Now repeat the process on the sides of the tarp until the entire thing is anchored down. Don't be tempted to skip the 1-by-3 boards, either. These are what holds the tarp securely so it doesn't flap or come loose in the wind.

For more information, contact Homestreet Roofing Inc or a similar company.