Don’t you just love it when you get an unexpected surprise? Unless, of course, it’s like the surprise I got this weekend. It was one of those cold, gray, dull, rainy weekends that make you want to just stay in bed. That’s kind of hard for me to do, though. You see, I’ve always been a bit of a morning person. In fact, sleeping in to me means 6:30 a.m.

Nonetheless, my daughter and I made the best of the wet weekend that we could. We went out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant . . . we played games on the computer . . . we even went to see the new Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. In spite of the weather, it actually had the makings of a decent weekend. Until I heard . . .

Daddy, why is there water on the counter?

I looked over and water was dripping out of the wall cabinets. I walked into the kitchen, turned on the light, looked up at the ceiling and noticed it was turning into a leopard with spots all over. Somewhere, somehow the roof was leaking.

Of course by this time there was very little I could do. Nighttime had set in and it was still raining. So I did what I could to mop up the water and strategically place pots and pans where I could to catch the drips, and I knew that by the next day I would be missing a block of time at work to be up on my roof making repairs, especially since the next day showed an 80% chance of rain during the day and the evening, and another 70% the next day.

Did I happen to mention that we’re in the midst of the Christmas season and on top of the TV episodes were trying to put together, we’ve also got a Christmas trivia radio show to do? On top of all that, we had to make a run to Detroit, plus shoot three days with Joe Truini prior to that. In other words, December is an extremely busy month. This could not have happened at a worse time, but I can guarantee you that my insurance company would not accept any excuses if I did not get up on the roof to mitigate any further damage. So, like it or not, today I was a temporary roofer.

If you ever run into this type of situation where you need to make temporary repairs to your roof in order to keep the water from pouring in and ruining a ceiling — or worse, several thousand dollars worth of expensive furniture, electronics, flooring or whatever else you may have in your home — here are a couple of friendly tips.

Make sure you have all of your tools and materials before you ever go up on the roof. Making as few trips as possible up and down the ladder is just common sense. Plus, if you’re a klutz like me, the fewer times you go up and down a ladder, the less likely the chances are of a disaster happening.

Materials are pretty easy. You’ll need some tarps (I purchased two 9 x 12 blue tarps), some treated one by two’s, a handful of eight penny nails and a tube of 100% silicone.

Your tools will include a ladder that reaches at least 2 to 3 feet above the eave of the roof, a broom or rake to help remove any debris, hammer, caulking gun, nail apron, a small saw to cut the 1 x 2’s to length (I like using a coping saw for something this simple) and, for me, the most important tool of all . . . my Cougar Paws. That happens to be the brand name of the shoes I wear any time I get on a roof. This isn’t meant to be a commercial, but . . . Cougar Paws makes an excellent shoe that practically guarantees that even someone as clumsy as me won’t fall off the roof due to a slick surface.

The tarps, 1 x 2’s and the broom and/or rake can be tossed up on the roof from the ground. The remaining tools can easily be carried in the nail apron, which means you should only have to make one trip up. Installing the tarp is as easy as laying it out on the roof and attaching it with the 1 x 2’s on top. They need to be running vertical with the roof, nailed down securely and then place a dab of silicone on top of each nail head to seal off any chance of moisture seeping through the nail holes.

If you have to use more than one tarp, be sure to lay the lower level first and let the next tarp overlap the lower one by at least a foot. The top of the tarp should roll over the ridge to prevent water from running underneath and making any efforts totally worthless.

Here’s result of my frantic race against more oncoming thunderstorms. You can see that I have five rows of 1 x 2’s holding the tarp down. During the evening, the gulley-washers came down again and I crawled up into the attic twice to check for leaks, but not a drop was found.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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