01 Dec Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights on Your Roof
Test your lights first.
The last thing you want to have happen is finding out that your lights aren’t working right after you’ve finished installing them. Test them on the ground beforehand to ensure your fuses are intact and that no bulbs need to be replaced.
You should also take measurements along the sides of your home to ensure that you’ll have enough lighting for your roof. Don’t forget to include the length needed for your lights to reach a power source.
Use plastic clips.
You’d be surprised at how many homeowners pin their Christmas lights directly onto their roofs using nails or staples à la Clark Griswold of Christmas Vacation. But this is very damaging for your roof. When you put nails and staples through your shingles, you create holes where water will penetrate and lead to rotten roof decking. Instead, opt for plastic clips, which will leave your roof damage-free. The type of clip you get will depend on the type of roof you have, and you’ll find clips for shingled roofs and tiled roofs alike. You can get clips that attach to your roof’s eaves (overhang), to the ridge (peak) of your roof, or to your gutters. Many clips feature an all-in-one design that makes them good for both shingles and gutters.
“What if my home has no eaves or gutters?” you ask. This is typical of stucco homes with flat roofs. In this case, you can usually opt for parrot clips, which clip onto the wall that juts over your flat roof.
Stay off of the roof.
To keep both you and your roof safe, it’s best to stay off of your roof as much as possible when installing your Christmas lights. Instead, use an extension ladder. You’ll need one that is at least 7 to 10 feet longer than the height of your roof’s edge (which would presumably be the contact point for your ladder). So, if the edge of your roof is 15 feet from the ground, you’ll want a ladder that is about 24 feet; this will allow for overlap within the ladder as it is leaning against your home. Always be sure to place your ladder on a flat, even surface and to extend your ladder so that at least 3 feet of ladder is extending above the edge of your roof. Move your roof as often as is needed to place your clips along the eaves and gutters.
Attach plastic clips to lights before climbing.
It’s usually safest to attach these plastic clips to your lights before making the trip up your ladder to attach the lights. Work with one light string at a time, and be sure not to let the bulbs hit the ladder as you climb.
Decide: LED or incandescent.
LED lighting gives off a bluish hue, while incandescent lighting gives off an orangeish hue. Decide beforehand whether your lighting will be LED or incandescent so that your lights won’t be mismatched.
Know the limits of your lights.
It’s important to know how many strings of lights you can connect before risking blowing a fuse. The packaging on your lights should tell you. LED lights might let you connect up to 25 strings together, while incandescent lights tend to be limited to 3 to 6 strands.
Match your strands.
Lights with white strands tend to look better on trim, while green strands are better for shrubbery. Keep this in mind as you select your lights.
Use an outdoor timer or light sensor.
To save on energy while not having to worry about turning your lights on and off, use a timer to have your lights turn on and off automatically.