• Bob Schisler

10 Roofing Rules of Holiday Decorating

Are you decorating your home with holiday lights this year? Each year, we get calls from homeowners who have started to experience leaks in January or February and haven’t had any issues with their roof before. What’s the common denominator? Holiday decorating!


Most of the time, the Christmas-spirit caused them to use screws or nails to hang their holiday lights. (Ouch! PLEASE don’t do that to your shingles!)


You can avoid any roof issues by decorating the trees on your property or using lawn ornaments. But sometimes, we want that extra pizzazz. When you go to hang lights on your roof, consider these tips from a true roofing expert.


  1. Safety First. If you’re getting up on your roof, do it when the roof is dry and debris-free. You want to ensure you have a good grip under your feet.

  2. Tie-off the Ladder. You’ll likely put the ladder against the gutter. To tie it off, take a rope or bungee cord and secure the ladder to a gutter spike. Have someone with you to hold the ladder if available.

  3. Stay on the Ladder. Whenever possible, stay on the ladder. This avoids potential scuffing of your shingles and other damage and is the safest way to hang your holiday décor.

  4. Do NOT bend over the side of the roof. If you get off your ladder, you might end up having to bend over the side of the roof in order to hang lights. This is extremely dangerous! See rule #3.

  5. Do NOT use anything that penetrates the surface of the roof. At removal, you could have leaks. That means definitely no screws or nails. We recommend using clips that attach to the gutter. They come with most holiday lights and you’ll probably want to purchase extra ones if you see them.

  6. Secure Larger Items. Use ropes or supplied supports that attach either to the gutter or the chimney. The wind could end up lifting any items on your roof and causing serious damage. [Read More: 5 Signs the Wind has Damaged Your Roof.]

  7. Stick to the First Story. Once you start going higher than the first story of your house, it becomes incredibly dangerous. Call an experienced roofer if you have something in mind for a higher level of your home.

  8. Honor Manufacturer Guidelines. Be careful not to exceed the electrical wattage or voltage that the manufacturer recommends. Additionally, only hang lights and ornaments outside that are rated and intended to be outdoors.

  9. Keep Cords Under Control. Extension cords or electrical cords can easily become a tripping hazard. To minimize the issue, wrap chords around downspouts and then use tape and weights to keep it in place along the ground.

  10. Clean the Gutters. While you’re up there, you might as well clean the gutters! Leaves and other debris can create a clog that causes rainwater or melting snow to find another way down. That could mean through your ceiling, so let’s just clean the gutters. (Also recommended in the Fall Roof Maintenance Checklist)

Did you know that we offer holiday lights services? It’s true. We’re happy to answer any questions you have or provide a quote for the installation and removal of your holiday lights. Give us a call at 301-662-0533 or contact us.

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