Now that Halloween is over, the crazy Christmas people skip right over November and Thanksgiving to begin the winter holiday festivities. Yes, I am absolutely included in this population. Attention is now focused on Christmas trees and lights, shopping and wrapping, and of course the timeless, tacky tunes that takeover our radio stations on the commute to work.

So, what does roofing have to do with Christmas? Well… where do you hang your outdoor lights?

Many people hang their lights on trees and shrubbery, but if you hang them from your roof or gutters- are you doing it correctly? Did you even know there was a correct or incorrect way? I didn’t even think about it until I started working for a roofer!

Now it might seem obvious to say, but something to take into consideration before even beginning this project of stringing lights is making sure that your roof and/or gutters are actually strong enough to do the job. There could be storm damage just waiting to capture the legs of someone walking along with Christmas lights tangled around them. Consider a roof inspection by a professional before starting your holiday decorating.

Once that is taken care of and your clear for decorating, please consider the following before beginning.

Safety. Make sure that you have a reliable ladder and a reliable friend to hold the ladder still for you. Try to avoid actually walking on the roof. If you didn’t get that inspection I recommended, you’ll never know where there is a weak spot that will engulf you with one step. Even if you did get the inspection, the less you walk on your roof, the less likely chance you will get hurt or even cause actual damage your roof.

Next is making sure you use the correct material to adhere the lights to the roof or gutter. So, let’s grab some nails and a hammer and get going!

Agreed? Absolutely not! You DO NOT want to use nails when hanging Christmas lights. Would you want me putting a bunch of toothpicks through your umbrella? Any hole you create in your roof can open your home up to leaking or other weather related issues that may come your way. It can also add further damage your roof, increasing the likelihood that you’ll have issues in the future.

For safe hanging, we recommend plastic clips or even magnetic clips. There are so many options available that diminish the need to even think about using a hammer. There are also special clips for along the ridge of your roof, but again, be careful to ensure that there isn’t damage to your roof. Loose shingles can be jarred more, making your roof more susceptible to weather damage, such as strong winds.

Magnetic lights or clips can affix to gutters, for example. Be sure that they are not too heavy and that the weight is distributed properly so as not to tear down your gutters. During the inspection you get before starting, you can also ask that the gutters be checked, making sure that they are attached correctly and well before hanging weight from them.

For those people who choose to hang lights from trees around your yard, there are still things to consider regarding your roof. Do the lights weigh down the branches so that they are scratching across your roof? Are the branches now drooping and hitting the siding of your house or resting on one of your gutters? Any of these scenarios can cause damage to your home, again making it more susceptible to leaks and other problems.

If for some reason, the inspection on your roof turns up potential problems or if leaking has been an issue for you, we definitely recommend holding off on those exterior Christmas lights until that is fixed to prevent any further damage to your roof!