’Tis the season to bring out the holiday decorations! Although decorating your home for Christmas each year can be an exciting tradition, it’s essential to keep the potential risks in mind.
Christmas lights, for instance, can damage your roof and gutters if they’re not installed wisely. At the end of the holiday season, the last thing you want is to be faced with expensive roofing repairs—repairs that could have been avoided if you correctly hung your Christmas lights.
So, don’t rush to get all your lights strung up. Instead, make sure to go about the process carefully and with the following pieces of advice in mind.
1. Don’t use nails or staples-
Sometimes, it can be tempting to use nails or staples to keep Christmas lights in place. This makes sense, on the surface—it is a secure option, and you can remain confident that your lights aren’t going to plummet to the ground when you least expect it. But, this sense of security isn’t worth it—especially as nails and staples aren’t the only way to securely fasten Christmas lights to your roof. Consider putting aside the staple gun and nails this holiday season. It can be easy to accidentally staple or nail into your shingles if you have asphalt shingles on your roof. Whenever you puncture your shingles in this way, the holes you create can lead to severe problems in the future.
For instance, these holes can welcome water or moisture into your home. This can be an especially serious risk during the winter months—after a snowstorm, you don’t want the melted snow to flood directly into your home. This water can eventually damage the structure of your home. It could also lead to the development of mold or rot, which will cause a significant health hazard to the inhabitants of your home—especially if these inhabitants have sensitivities or allergies.
Well, then what can you do instead? Rather than busting out the nails or staple gun, you can instead turn to clips that are specifically designed to hang Christmas lights. These aren’t difficult to get your hands on, cheaper than you’d think and they allow homeowners to easily hang their lights while posing minimal risk to their roof’s integrity. There’s no reason to put holes in your roofing system!
2. Choose the perfect clips to use-
There’s more than just one kind of plastic clip for you to choose from. Be sure to review each of the possibilities to ensure that you choose the best type for your particular roof and lighting style.
-All in one clips-
Generally, all-in-one clips are the best option if you’re hanging lights from your shingles or gutters. That being said, it’s generally not a good idea to hang any lights directly from your shingles if this can be avoided. Shingles are a lightweight, often cheaper material, meaning that they’re more likely to be damaged or pulled out of place by your lights. Instead, try to position most (if not all) of your lights around the eaves and gutters of your home.
-Clay tile roof clips-
As the name would imply, this is a clip designed for those with a clay tile roof. This way, you can minimize the risk of damage with a clip designed especially for your unique roofing material—even if it’s not the most common type.
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to hang Christmas lights from the eaves of your home rather than directly from the asphalt shingles. You can even purchase special clips that are designed specifically for this purpose.
-clips for the ridge of roof-
You can also purchase another variety of clips explicitly designed for the ridge (or peak) of your roof.
3. Where should I install my lights? Shingles or gutters?
Rather than hanging your Christmas lights haphazardly across your home, be sure to put some serious consideration into the process. In particular, you can break the arrangement into two distinct sections: Lights that are best hung from the gutters and lights that you should be hanging from the shingles. Different kinds of lights can fall into one of these two categories, and it is vital to be aware of their ideal placement. Otherwise, you could be putting the safety of your roof at an increased risk.
However, if you don’t have gutters on your home, you can instead consider hanging lights from the shingles located along your roofline.
But what if you do have gutters? If that’s the case, then try picking up some icicle-style Christmas lights. You can break out the all-purpose clips and begin installing these lights along the gutters of your home.
Once you’ve sorted out where your lights will be hung, you can begin considering the arrangement and kinds of lights that look best on your home. Of course, every roof and home are different, so try working with whatever suits your property the best—as long as it is safely secured to your roof, of course.
4. Before you hang your lights clean your gutters!
As you know it’s generally a good idea to clean out your gutters quarterly, it is especially important to take care of cleaning before hanging up your Christmas lights. While this is an important step to take, it is also one that is often overlooked, as not everyone realizes how it relates to roof safety and hanging Christmas lights. In reality, they go hand in hand with one another.
Like most kinds of lights, Christmas lights are going to warm up. As the areas surrounding your lights grow warmer, this can cause debris to begin drying up. For example, if you have a large number of leaves piled up in your gutters, these can be dried out by your lights.
These dried-up leaves can create a preventable fire hazard. If the lights come into direct contact with the dried-up leaves, a fire can begin.
So, before you begin putting up Christmas lights remember to clean out your gutters, getting rid of any fallen leaves or debris. It’s also worth noting that cleaning out your gutters can offer other benefits to your roof and home, especially at this time of year. For example, if you are hit by snowstorms this winter, the melting snow will lead to a large quantity of water. Your gutters will then be responsible for diverting this water away from your home to prevent flooding or water damage.
However, leftover debris can lead your gutters to become clogged. If the water can’t flow freely away from the structure, it will build up in your gutters and leak or overflow. To minimize the chances of water damage during the winter, make sure to give your gutters a thorough cleaning before the start of the season.
5. Be careful!
It is often feasible to hang up all the Christmas lights you desire without actually having to step on the surface of your roof. Of course, this is the ideal scenario if you’re looking to prevent damage during the hanging process. But what if getting onto your roof can’t be avoided?
If that’s the case, you will need to remain as careful as possible—not only to ensure your safety but to protect the safety of your roof. Make sure that you are moving carefully across the surface to avoid loosening the granules that coat the surface of your shingles. These granules are there for a good reason—they help ensure the durability of your roof. Without them, your asphalt shingles will become far more susceptible to damage. Unfortunately, this can also decrease their overall longevity, leading you to need a replacement earlier than expected.
Still, be sure to prioritize your own safety. For example, if you aren’t confident climbing on top of your roof to hang Christmas lights, don’t do it. Instead, you could consider hiring a professional to hang your lights in your place—you don’t even need to sacrifice the arrangement or design you’d initially planned.
6. Protect, prepare and repair your roof-
Before you begin hanging your Christmas lights this holiday season, consider having your roof inspected by one of the professionals here at Mills Roofing, LLC of Fredericksburg, VA. We can ensure that there’s no existing damage to your asphalt shingles. If your roof has experienced damage, Mills Roofing is prepared to take care of the repairs. If you need to have your entire roof replaced, we are also ready to take on the job with ease and efficiency!