How to Hang Holiday Lights Without Damaging Your Roof or Yourself

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorating occur every November and December. That translates to 250 injuries per day during the holiday season!

Not only can you hurt yourself, but you can also damage your roof. Here are a few tips to help you decorate for the holidays and minimize roof damage.

Avoid Getting on the Roof

Climbing on your roof yourself is never a good idea because things can go terribly wrong in the blink of an eye. Instead, use a ladder that is in good condition or a light-hanging pole that extends from the ground to the roofline. Make sure the ground is level when using an extension ladder and, if possible, have another person hold the bottom of the ladder steady.

Double Check all Bulbs, Wires and Extension Cords

Before hanging your lights outdoors, untangle the strands of lights to save you time while outside. Be sure to check the labels that the lights have been certified for outdoor use. Outdoor lights and other electric decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections, and throw away any that are damaged. Always replace burned-out bulbs with the same wattage.

Use no more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is heavy duty and rated for the intended use. Look at the cords, and if they have frayed or have exposed wires, throw them away and get new ones. The last thing you want is to have an electrical fire on your roof.

Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights and your home from wind damage.

Use Plastic Light Clips

You can find plastic clips, hooks and hangers that are designed for outdoor use at your local hardware store. These clips secure the lights without harming the roof trim or surface in the process. Clips are easy to use – just attach them to gutters or the edge of shingles.

Never Use Staples, Nails, Screws or Tacks

Staples, screws, nails and tacks put stress on your roofing material like shingles — possibly tearing or ripping them. If not removed, they stay in place and corrode. And if removed, they leave permanent holes. These holes, even very small ones, can allow moisture to seep in and potentially damage the roof. If undetected, leaks could result in serious long-term damage such as mold and damaged insulation.

Contact Storm Guard if You Notice Damage

If you should see old roof damage while hanging your lights, be sure to have your roof inspected right away from the specialists at Storm Guard Roofing & Construction of Chantilly. We offer a FREE, no-obligation roof inspection that addresses issues needing immediate attention and the overall condition of your roof. Contact us today at 703-421-7340 or email us at