How to Hang Christmas Lights Without Damaging Your Roof

A Christmas light display adds a little extra fun and excitement to the holiday season. All around our local area and beyond, you’ll find amazingly decorated holiday houses. Just check out this list of Orlando Christmas light displays, many of which will be repeated this year.

No matter whether you’re young or young at heart, a good light display is something special. Depending on what you have in mind, though, it can also be a pretty time-intensive DIY project. A little planning can help you avoid issues, especially when it comes to possibly damaging the roof.

While Florida shingle roofs are by no means fragile, there are some common practices that can give you trouble if you use them when you’re setting up your light display. Make a mistake and you might end up paying for roof repair come New Year’s.

Still, we all know it’s just not “holiday cheer” without a festive string of lights around your eaves. Once you get started, it can be tough to stop – and nobody wants to leave bald spots in their light display. So don’t let anything stop you from following your creative vision!

At Sheegog Contracting, we love Christmas lights. The key is to do them right.

Here’s how:

1. Avoid Putting Holes in Your Roof

The days of putting up Christmas lights with a staple gun went out the door with Christmas Vacation.

In that holiday classic from 1989, family patriarch Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) was seen stapling the Christmas lights. It didn’t go too well – and it shouldn’t be your go-to unless you’re also starring in a comedy of errors. Luckily, we have better (and easier!) approaches these days.

While you can probably get away with stapling lights to the eaves – the wooden perimeter of your roof – a standard staple gun leaves you at risk of penetrating your string of lights, which creates a fire hazard.

Plus, your roof will be in trouble if any fastener makes contact with your shingles. That’s true no matter if it’s nails, staples, or screws. They create the perfect opportunity for water infiltration, which usually begins before you even take them out. All of the affected shingles will have to be replaced.

2. Fill Your Christmas Stocking (and Your Roof) with Plastic Clips

Santa Claus might just visit a few days early this year to provide you with the secret of a great Christmas display: Plastic clips. These clips are safe, highly convenient, and easy to use. They avoid the whole issue of putting holes in your roof since they clip directly onto the gutters, eaves, or shingles.

There are several different types of clips out there, including a design just for clay tile roofs, and special clips for laying lights all the way up the ridge (peak) of the roof. This makes it easier to use your shingles without damaging them, but the eaves and gutters are still your best bet.

Avoid clipping shingles whenever possible, and check clipped shingles for signs of wear when it’s time to take the decorations down. Telltale issues indicating shingle damage include marks, dark or softened areas (outlining dents), and missing reflective granules.

3. Be Careful Walking on Your Roof

If you’ve read the Sheegog Contracting blog in the past, you know we usually advise against getting on the roof. In fact, you can even survey your roof for damage from the ground using binoculars. Climbing on the roof presents a whole new set of challenges.

Roofers have to move carefully to avoid damaging the roof, but it’s a skill you can learn with practice. Soft shoes are essential. You might consider sneakers, but a pair of sturdy roofing boots will help keep your balance without adding to the risk of harming the roof.

Roofing boots are different from other kinds of boots because they offer superior grip and traction.

The other thing to remember is that it could be 30 degrees warmer on your roof than it is at ground level, even during temperate weather. This is one reason why roofing teams generally work 12-hour days, getting started early in the morning and taking a break during the hottest part of the afternoon.

If you have a tile roof, be extra careful to put your feet on the peaks (that is, the rise), and not between the tiles (the valleys). Otherwise, you might end up with broken tiles on your hands (or feet) and those can be a lot pricier to replace than the average shingle.

Want personalized advice? Contact Sheegog Contracting today.


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