When you think of holiday season decorations, twinkling outdoor lights come to mind. Before climbing up on the roof there are some important things to keep in mind when decorating your roofline Plan ahead!  

Planning your project is important to an appealing and safe display. After you decide on the look you want, measure carefully and be sure to get all the supplies you need to save time and hassle later. Check your lights before you get on the roof.  Make sure they work and look for broken lights and exposed wire as this could be a fire hazard. Choose light strings made for outdoor use. Plan how you will string the lights together and keep in mind that too many lights on one power source could also be a fire hazard. Check the manufacturer’s safety instructions and take note of installation instructions and placement near other decorations.

The best place to hang lights is your gutters, but if you have to attach them to your roof, there are good clips that can be purchased in most holiday decorating departments. These will allow you to attach the lights to your roof without damaging the shingles. Clips can attach to gutters or slide under the shingles and secure to the roof edge. NEVER staple or nail into your shingles!  This will leave a small hole where water will penetrate and cause damage to the roof and wood. Clips are inexpensive compared to repairing or replacing a roof damaged by nails or staples and are easily removed and reused.

Before you climb the ladder, check to be sure it is safe and secure to the ground. Avoid hanging lights in snowy or icy conditions when slipping on rungs or roofs could be possible. Look up and see if there are overhead power lines that you will need to stay away from.

Walking on the roof is not only dangerous but will damage the shingles. If you must, walk on the center of the shingles and not where they overlap. Pressure on the shingles can cause damage that will result in leaks.

If your plan includes figures or inflatables on the roof surface, secure them properly. Nailing them down will harm the roof’s integrity. Try securing them with ties or sandbags instead.

While you are up there, take a few minutes to look at your roof. This is a great opportunity to inspect for potential problems that can be repaired before they cause damage to the structure and interior of the home.

Now climb down, step back, flip the switch, and enjoy your display!

When the season ends, remove your decorations with the same care and safety as when you hung them. Carefully remove each clip one at a time.  Pulling them down by the strings is easier, but can break the shingle.

Whether you are hanging a few strands to add some spirit to your house or competing in the craziest neighborhood holiday lights contest, it is important to keep in mind these tips on maintaining the functionality of your roof.

Craig Gouker Roofing has been installing quality residential roofing in South East Pittsburgh since 1991 and is the expert in shingle roof replacement.