Holiday lights make the season feel more joyous, but that feeling will quickly dissipate if your light display causes expensive roof damage. Fortunately, you can have your lights and keep your roof safe at the same time.
1. Choose the Right Fasteners
The first things you need before all else are fasteners for the lights. Do not use nails or staple guns to attach lights to your eaves, as even these small holes will render your roof susceptible to decay and water leaks. Instead, look for plastic clips designed for safe lighting installation. Gutter clips are preferable as they do not come in direct contact with roofing. If you don't have gutters, shingle edge clips are an alternative, but be sure to use care so that the edge shingles aren't damaged.
2. Check the Gutters
For those using gutter clips, it's important to only attach them to clean gutters. You do not want to add the additional weight of holiday lights to the gutters that are already full of heavy, wet debris. Doing so runs the risk of the gutters pulling away from the eaves, thus causing roof damage. Further, make sure all gutter hardware is firmly attached before hanging up your lights.
3. Address Roofing Issues
Chances are you will be up on a ladder in order to put up your lights, so this is a good time to survey the roof for signs of damage. Look for issues like damaged shingles or eaves. If you notice issues, have a roofer out to fix them before hanging up your lights. Installing holiday lights on a damaged roof can lead to increased damage due to fasteners and the weight of the lights.
4. Avoid Roof Traffic
It's not a good idea to walk on your roof in order to install holiday lights because foot traffic increases the chances of shingle damage. Ideally, you can keep your display to the eaves of the roof so you can simply hang the lights while standing atop a ladder. Plan your light stringing routes before you climb the ladder so you can be assured that there are enough strings so you don't have to get on the roof to attach lengths together.
5. Keep It Light
Decorations meant to be anchored in the lawn have no place on your roof. They can be heavy and damaging to the shingles. If you want a rooftop display of Santa and his Reindeer or a similar scene, then stick to lightweight decor items that are meant to be displayed on the roof. Better yet, place lights along the eaves and save the big displays for the yard.
Contact a residential roofing service, such as Sunrise Roofing, if you have any concerns about your roof.