The very best of holidays to you and yours! Infinite Roofing, as your local roofing contractors, want you and your family to be safe and sound this year and we offer this disclaimer: No one should try to attempt hanging Christmas lights when snow or ice is visible on the ground or on the roof, or during wet weather conditions.
Homeowners should follow all local roofing and safety codes, and ensure their own safety whenever they go up on a rooftop this year. We strongly advise that no homeowner should stand or walk on a roof without taking the proper precautions. If you really have to walk and stand on the roof this Christmas, take care to avoid damaging to your roof and shingles. We recommend that you always have someone assist you during the entire installation process, even just to keep a watchful eye.
The holiday is fast approaching and people are getting into the Christmas spirit, which means many Capital Region homeowners are thinking about all those amazing lights and eye-catching decorations. Fantastic, large-scale displays featuring holiday lights and decorations are more popular now than ever before. Neighborhoods are lighting up with outdoor lights, from yard displays to festooned trees, to lights all over the house exterior. However, please remember that if installed incorrectly, these electric lights and decorations can also be dangerous and it is important to address any safety issues so that your decorations are able to hold up during the extreme local winter conditions we may receive.
When dealing with your holiday decorations, it is very important that you set everything up in a way that does not damage your roof and put you or anyone else in harm’s way. Rooftop holiday decorations and lights can add a special touch to your roof. However, installing these decorations, especially electric lights, and moving apparatus can be very dangerous.
Before you start any roof lighting projects, any experienced local roofing contractor will remind you to always put safety first. No matter what your roof safety plan is, it’s important to have someone on hand while you work. They can manage your tools and hand you supplies and decorations so that you’re completely focused on the task at hand. They can help you use the ladder safely by holding the ladder to steady it. Unless you are decorating the chimney or the ridge at the top of your roof, you really should not need to walk on your roof, which can be very dangerous and needs some knowledge as well as additional safety equipment. Great displays are ones people see from the street level, so it’s not really necessary to go above the eave line to have a beautifully decorated roof.
If you do have to step on any portion of the roof surface, or even just in general for working from a ladder, wear sturdy gym shoes that have a good grip and are easy on the roof surface. You really don’t want to have to call in your local roofing contractors prematurely in the New Year, but even worse would be if you or a loved one ended up requiring medical attention for not taking appropriate precautions.
Check your Holiday Lights and Equipment
Another top Infinite Roofing tip for the best roofing safety practice with your Christmas lights is to make sure that all your lighting strands are in good working order and that you have enough of them to cover the area you plan to illuminate. Of course, you must check and make sure they are all rated for outdoor use. Draw up a thorough plan to best install any holiday lights you have on hand. Lay the strands of lights out in your home a few days before you plan to install them. Look for any frayed wires that could be a fire hazard. Now’s a good time to replace broken or missing strands of bulbs. Promptly get rid of any strands that aren’t up to par, it’s not worth the risk!
Protect your Roof & Shingles
Before installing your lights on the roof, be sure to stock up on plastic clips or hooks on hand for attaching the lights to the eaves or gutters. Plastic clips have a far less damaging effect on your roof compared to nails or metal hooks. Having outdoor extension cords where you need them to be is important and makes it easier for you to get everything lit up when it’s time. You can attach the light strands to shingles, eaves or gutters. One really important thing is to not hang anything heavy along with the lights because this can cause damage to the components of your roof. If you find extremely loose gutters or fixtures, get them repaired before hanging lights on them, as they may further loosen or fall down during harsh winter weather, taking all your decorations with them. Using nails that would put a hole in your roof is a huge no! The structure of your roof is vital and any little hole can eventually lead to a much larger hole and allow moisture to seep into the roof. Plastic lighting clips are very simple and inexpensive. Most hardware stores carry these clips around their lighting and tree displays. You can also use plastic zip ties which will not harm your roof fixtures. If you plan to put heavy displays on the roof be sure they are secured with something that doesn’t pierce the roof so they don’t fall down and damage the roof in a high wind.
Types of Christmas Light Roof Clips & Roof Fasteners
When you’re hanging Christmas lights on a roof, you shouldn’t use any fasteners that would be able to puncture the shingle or any other part of the roof, such as nails, staples or screws. Even small holes in the shingles can create leaks. Small holes in gutters may allow water to leak where it shouldn’t and holes in the fascia board may cause it to rot. This could later cause you to require a roof repair or even a replacement. No one wants to spend their Christmas money on a whole new roof when using fasteners that will not create holes could have been used instead. If you’re unfamiliar with roofs, now is a good time for you to learn about all the parts of your roof and the roof edge before you put up your Christmas lights.
So, if you shouldn’t puncture holes in the shingles, how do you secure Christmas lights to your roof? The solution is to use specialized plastic clips that can hug the gutters and they won’t leave a lasting mark. By using these clips you can have a huge display, with as many fasteners as you need, without worrying about leaving a bunch of holes in your roof.
On areas of the roof that do not have gutters, attach the clips to the drip edge or the shingles, but be careful to avoid lifting the shingles in a way that breaks the sealant bond to the shingle below it. Avoid puncturing holes in your shingles or siding. Alternatively, you can use adhesive strips to attach the clips to the vertical face of your home. Just be sure you don’t puncture the surface!
How Can I Hang Christmas Lights Without Making Holes Step by Step
- Locate an electrical outlet. Plan to run heavy-duty extension cords on a working 120-volt electrical outlet protected by a ground-fault circuit breaker. Ideally, you should use a switch-controlled outlet, or plug the lights into an automatic timer. Both the outlet’s circuit and the timer must be rated to handle the combined amperes of all light strings that will be connected. Do not use an indoor timer outdoors.
- Measure the lengths. Using a long measuring tape, measure the length of your house along the ground. Also, measure its height and the height of any bushes or trees you intend to light. Then measure the lengths of the light strings you will need to outline doors or windows. Figure out the number of 50-foot light strings it will take for all of these measurements.
- Test the lights. Before you plug them in, visually inspect the light string, looking for broken or missing bulbs and worn or defective wiring. If you discover faulty wires, replace the string entirely as this could present a fire hazard. If any bulbs are broken or missing, you should definitely replace them.
To extract a broken bulb, wear gloves and use long-nose pliers. Once a light string is complete, plug it in and check for burnt-out bulbs. Unplug the string before replacing faulty bulbs and then retest it to be sure all the lights work. If the string doesn’t work at all, check it for a blown fuse, per the manufacturer’s directions. If the fuse has blown, replace it; if it blows again, replace the entire string.
- Set up a ladder. If your home’s eaves are low, you may be able to use a stepladder; otherwise, plan to use an extension ladder. Place it firmly on flat ground and, extending it well above the eaves, lean it against the eaves at an angle that will be comfortable and safe to climb; neither too steep nor too flat. If you must lean the ladder against the gutter, place a short piece of 2 by 4 inside the gutter to reinforce it.
- Hang the lights along the eaves. Your objective is to hang lights as easily and safely as possible without marring your home’s trim or walls. For attaching lights along gutters or the roof, use plastic clips made for the job. These clips grip shingles or gutters and have a lower hook that holds a light strand or extension cord.
- Attach the lights to the trim. For attaching lights to window trim and similar vertical surfaces, use rope clips, adhesive or nail-on plastic string light clips; readily available online or at home improvement centers. Space them about 12 inches apart or as recommended. Do not use staples or nails to hang light strings they can pierce or wear away the protective insulation, creating a serious electrical hazard.
How do you hang Christmas lights without a ladder?
The way that you would hang Christmas lights without a ladder is by taking a clip and putting your wire inside, then popping the clip in the pincher end of the pole. Raise it up to the edge of your roof or you can pop the clip in first and then pick up the wire. Then you would slide the clip under the shingles. Pull the release trigger and very gently remove them from the clip. Now, there is a little bit of a difference when it comes to hanging lights on your gutters. Looking at the instructions that come with the pole to see the best way to hang your lights is also a really good idea.
As local roofing contractors, we know that hundreds of roofing accidents occur from hanging Christmas lights and decorations each and every year. We hear all the horror stories! To avoid looking like the guy from Christmas with the Kranks where Tim Allen is stuck hanging from his rooftop, always have someone with you ready to assist. Never hang lights if there is visible snow or ice on the ground or roof, or during wet weather conditions— we do not want any slip and falls! Good home improvement stores carry accessories for personal ladder safety as well as accessories to prevent the ladder from damaging your home. When taking down the lights, you shouldn’t just pull on the string. While it saves you time, it may pull down your gutters and otherwise damage your asphalt shingled roof. Instead, take down your lights the same way you put them up; carefully, safely and one clip at a time. Be conscious about how you wrap and pack away your light strings. If they twist, they may become damaged or get kinks and look odd next year. Especially if you use clips that hook to the line instead of to the bulb.
Stay safe! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from your local roofing contractors at Infinite Roofing!