Whether Christmas is coming up, Halloween is on the horizon or some other holiday is about to happen, you’re completely into dressing up your house. And that includes decorating the roof with lights, lights and more lights.
Even though hanging lights (and other holiday décor) is something that plenty of homeowners do, it is possible to cause damage to your roof or gutter system. Understanding your roof, the materials that it’s made from and the proper way to hang holiday décor can make a major difference.
What do you need to know about holiday decorating and roof safety? Take a look at some of the top tips for making sure that your festive décor doesn’t interfere with how your roofing system works or give you a major pain – literally.
Going up on a roof isn’t for everyone. If you have a steep slope, a tall roof or it’s wet, icy or otherwise slippery, you’re putting yourself in danger. Unlike professional roofers, who have the necessary safety equipment and expert knowledge, your rooftop adventure is far from secure.
Instead of trying to hang the lights from the roof, use a stable ladder to attach them from below the roofline. Make sure that an adult family member or friend is nearby to make sure that the ladder is secure and provide help as needed.
Make sure to untangle your lights before taking them up on the ladder. The top of your home is not the place to try to unroll yards and yards of twinkle light strands.
Attaching Lights to the Roof
Eighty-six percent of people in the U.S. decorate for the holidays, according to an Electrical Safety Foundation International survey. Of those who say they do decorate, roughly two-thirds hang lights. Even though your holiday lights might add a sparkle to your home, what they can leave behind isn’t as special.
While it’s tempting to nail your light strands into the roof, that can cause major damage. The holes the nails leave behind can destroy the shingles and cause leaks.
Some homeowners attempt to glue their lights onto the shingles. Using a hot glue gun or a ‘crazy glue’ type of product can also cause damage to your roof. If the glue pulls when it’s windy or when you remove the lights, it can chip or peel the shingles.
Instead of nailing your lights onto the roof, choose a specially-made clip. Holiday lighting manufacturers make special clips that are meant to slide under the shingle bed.
Like your roof, your gutter is also susceptible to damage caused by holiday lighting issues. Nailing lights to the gutter will destroy the material they’re made from and can cause them to fail.
Again, specially-made lighting clips are the best way to go here. Like roof clips. Gutter clips attach onto the gutter, without leaving behind any lasting damage. These are typically made from plastic, are easy to use and don’t require any tools for installation.
Make sure that your lights are all in proper working order. This includes the wire strands in between each bulb. A frayed strand or lights with pinched wires can potential start fires. Obviously, a fire that starts on your roof will damage it (as well as the rest of your home).
Only use lights that are specifically designated for outdoor use. The same goes with extension cords. Choose products with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Intertek) symbols on them. These are tested for safety in a certified lab.
If you have holiday light damage to your roof, you need a professional to repair it. C & W Roofing, Siding & Window Co. can help.