It’s that time of year again, time to deck the halls, raise a glass of eggnog, tuck into some pumpkin pie, and hang those Christmas lights! But this can be a dangerous endeavor, both for you and your home.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorating every November and December. And not to mention the roofs, eaves, and siding that get damaged due to haphazard holiday decorating and post-holiday clean up!
Before your holiday cheer gets you excited about decorating your home’s exterior with Christmas lights, make sure your roof and its adjacent trimmings are ready for the added pressure.
Do a simple roof inspection.
Inspect for missing shingles
Ensure the gutter system is tightly secured
Check your eaves and flashing condition
Once you’ve ensured your roof is ready to take the weight of the lights, then it’s time to get hanging.
Here are a few tips to keep you—and your home’s exterior—safe this holiday season.
Three Tips to Preserve Your Home While Hanging Christmas Lights
1. Avoid creating holes in your roof.
Using a staple gun might seem like the most convenient way to hang Christmas lights, but avoid putting staples, nails or screws into your shingles. They leave holes when taken out and will be allow water to intrude on your roof decking, making it a prime candidate for rotting.
It’s okay to staple lights to wooden parts around your roof’s perimeter (the eaves), but take every precaution to ensure you don’t staple directly through the lighting strands or electrical cords, or you could be risking malfunctioning lights or even worse, fire.
NEVER staple or nail anything into your James Hardie fiber cement siding or trim.
2. Whenever possible, use plastic clips when hanging Christmas lights.
There are a variety of plastic clips that work by clipping onto the gutters, shingles or eaves of your home without damaging your roof. There are clips available for specific roof systems and Christmas lights.
Here are a few examples:
PRO TIP: We advise not attaching your Christmas lights to the actual shingles. It is better to attach them to your gutters or eaves.
We suggest using Parrot Clips if you have a flat-roofed home. They go over the wall that juts up over a flat roof. And they have small holes for placing the Christmas lights.
3. Avoid walking on your roof.
It’s always best to avoid getting on the roof and keep your decorations limited to the places you can reach with a ladder. However, if you absolutely need to brave the rooftop, make sure to follow these tips to avoid damaging it:
Wear soft-soled shoes like sneakers, and walk gently.
Don't walk on roof shingles under direct sunlight.
If you have a tile roof, wear soft shoes and put your foot on 2 peaks (the bump), not in between the tiles on the valleys.
Taking Down the Christmas Lights After the Holidays
It can be easier to just pull down or yank on the lights to remove them from their clips, but a lack of caution in removing the strands will spell damage to both your home and the expensive Christmas lights. Make the extra effort to remove each clip carefully so you don’t have to deal with the damages later on.
And that’s it! With just a little bit of extra care and time, you can have a beautiful light display this holiday season without risking damage to your home.