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Christmas lights at night hung on the edge of a roofline

How to Put Up Holiday Lights Without Falling or Damaging Your Roof

If you are about to “deck the halls,” it’s important to keep safety in mind—particularly if you are hanging lights outdoors.

Lights and decorations are a festive part of the holidays, but if they are installed improperly, they can also damage your home exterior.

Here are some tips on how to install holiday décor without damaging your roof or ending up in the emergency room.

Personal Safety Tips for Hanging Holiday Lights

Over 500,000 people per year are treated for ladder-related injuries. So how do you hang your holiday lights and avoid accidents so you can enjoy this festive season?

Safeguard yourself from ladder accidents while hanging holiday lights

  • Get organized—Test your lights and accumulate all your decorating supplies before climbing the ladder. You will need a UL-approved extension cord specific for outdoor use and lights rated for outdoor use. Don’t use frayed or damaged cords, and make sure your light decorations all work together before hanging them. LED lights shouldn’t be connected to incandescent lights.
  • Locate your power source—New homes have an outlet outdoors while older homes don’t. You may need to plan ahead to run the power through a window. Your outlet’s location will impact your design, so be aware of that before climbing your ladder to install your lights.
  • Attach your light clips—Secure your light clips to your light strands while they are on the ground to make your installation go smoothly.
  • Be cautious—If you’re hanging incandescent bulbs, be careful not to allow the light strands to bump up against your home or against the ladder. If a bulb gets damaged, it can make the whole string go out.
  • Watch the weather—Plan ahead to put your lights up during the daytime and on a day that isn’t rainy, windy, icy, or snowy. 
  • Use the buddy system—Have another adult hold the ladder for you while you are on it. They can spot you and help as needed so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • Use wisdom when you get on your ladder—Ensure your ladder is designed to support your weight. Set it up on a flat, level surface like a driveway or walkway away from power lines, electrical equipment, and doors that could open near it. A fiberglass or wooden ladder is preferable to an aluminum one.
  • Implement ladder safety—Set your ladder at a 75-degree angle and extend it at least three feet over your roofline. Don’t stand on the top three rungs of your ladder, and don’t reach out too far when you are on your ladder. It’s best to just work in a small, easy-to-reach area and then move your ladder to do the next section.
  • Secure your decorations firmly—Ensure your holiday decorations won’t detach from your home and harm someone (or something) in your yard.
  • Consider using a quick-release tool—You won’t have to walk on your roof if you are comfortable using a quick-release tool. It’s on a pole that has a trigger mechanism for you to push, causing the end to open and close to grab and release light clips. Simply thread in the lights first and then use the quick release to hang the strand straight on your roof or gutters. This makes putting up your lights much safer for your roof and prevents shingle damage.

Protect Your Home from Damage While Hanging Holiday Lights

Your roof shingles form a barrier between the elements and your home interior, so it’s important that your holiday decorations don’t cut or damage the surface of your shingles.

Here are tips on protecting your roof as you install holiday lights.

  • Avoid using nails or staples— If moisture penetrates your shingles, mold and mildew can result and shorten your roof’s lifespan. Nails and staples can cause severe damage particularly if you puncture your roof shingles, so don’t use them.
  • Use plastic light clips that allow you to hang lights without causing damage or creating holes that would allow water to enter in. These handy clips are made to attach to your gutters or brick and hold a variety of different kinds of light strands. (Note: some light strands come with clips attached for your convenience.)
  • If you must walk on the roof, tread lightly—Walking on the roof can be dangerous, so we don’t recommend it. You should only do so if you are willing to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Investing in a safety harness is wise, and wearing appropriate footwear is essential. Soft rubber shoes work best. Working on a day that is dry can lower the possibility of slipping on your roof.

Realize that walking on your roof shingles can damage them. If you want lights on high peaks on your house, consider hiring a professional to install them.  

Protect your gutters while decorating your home

  • Clean your gutters—Before you install your holiday lights, make sure your gutters are clean. Remove any leaves, debris, or bird nests that found their way into your gutters.
  • Don’t lean your ladder on your gutters—It’s not safe for you or your gutters to prop your ladder up against them. If your gutter breaks, you go down with it.

Get Reliable Roof Repair or Replacement for Your Home

When you’re hanging your holiday lights, if you spot a problem with your roofing, reach out to our friendly staff. We’d be happy to inspect your roof and assess any damage as well as take a look at when it will need to be replaced.

At Best Choice Roofing, with over 60,000 roofing projects under our belt, you can invest in your new roof with confidence. You’ll love our precision installation and customer-first approach.

Take a moment to learn more about our roofing services.

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