'Tis the season of bright lights and joyous times, and what could be a better way to spread holiday cheer than decorating your home for all to admire. Nothing says festive like Clark Griswold’s light extravaganza in Christmas Vacation, but I think we can all agree to go about hanging our lights in a different manner. Yes, a dazzling display of Christmas lights is an essential tradition. But for all our sakes, let’s leave the staple guns to their intended purpose—paper.
Hanging your Christmas lights should be a magical experience, but for those less fortunate, it’s remembered as the time they mistakenly damaged their roof. With that being said, let’s explore a few safety tips that are roof friendly.
Before climbing your ladder, make sure the lights work properly (we don’t want frustrations leading to hospital visits). Look for broken and exposed wire that could lead to a fire hazard. Lastly, check the manufacturers safety instructions and take note of installation instructions and placement near other decorations.
Having the right ladder height for your Christmas light hanging job is critical. Trying to overextend yourself is not worth the risk of falling, or even attempting to prevent a fall by grabbing onto your roof and damaging it in the process. Let’s just skip the risky business altogether.
Secure Hang Points
Contrary to popular belief, the best place to hang lights is your gutters. We cannot stress the importance of avoiding your shingles at all costs. If your home is without gutters, aim for the eaves (the wood part around the perimeter of your home). But be sure to check the durability of the wood prior to installing your lights.
Be sure to clear out your gutters prior to hanging your lights. Lights get warm and dry leaves in your gutters could lead to a fire hazard. So as a precaution, it is always best to play it safe rather than to be sorry.
Avoid Staples & Nails
With growing technologies, it is no wonder that they’ve created better ways to hang your Christmas lights aside from staples or nails. Plastic clips make for the perfect instrument to secure your lights. Clips are inexpensive compared to repairing or replacing your damaged roof, not to mention easier to reuse and remove. Rest assured, there are different clips for gutters, shingles, eaves, and even different roof types!
We cannot stress enough the importance to avoid stapling or nailing directly into the shingles on your roof. Once removed, both tools will leave holes in your shingles—allowing water to enter and cause widespread damage to your roof and decking over time. Not to mention, lead to mold and other mildew issues.
When or if your decorations require walking atop your roof, please do so carefully and tread lightly. Too much pressure on your shingles could cause minor damage or increase loss of granulation. If your plans include figures or inflatables on the roof surface, secure them properly. Avoid using nails, as this would harm your roof’s integrity. Explore alternate means of attachment, such as ties or sandbags.
But above all, use extreme caution and safety if getting on top of your roof to hang lights. If this is not something you are comfortable doing, we recommend finding an alternative method to hang your lights that does not require endangering your well-being—such as hiring a professional who specializes in Christmas light installation.
While you are up there, take a few minutes to look at your roof. This is a great opportunity to inspect for potential problems that can be repaired before they cause damage to the structure and interior of the home. If it has been sometime since you have had your roof assessed, consider hiring a professional to ensure your roof is in tip top shape. At the very least, this will give you peace of mind knowing nothing stands in your way of having the best Christmas house on the block.
Know that if you happen to damage your roof while installing your lights, MRN Contracting is always here to help. Merry Christmas to all, and to all – be safe!