How to Hang Christmas Lights: 4 Essential Tips to Protect You and Your Roof

Published 11.01.2017

A house strung with Christmas lights and outdoor decorations is a clear sign of the holiday spirit in Miami, delighting the neighborhood with its dazzling sight. Yet, hanging lights along your roof or gutters can be a safety hazard if done incorrectly. But there’s no need to worry, if you take the right safety precautions, you can prevent harm to yourself and your roof.

Before you hang your Christmas lights on your roof in South Florida, be sure to follow these helpful tips to have a safe and holly jolly Christmas this year.

Tip #1: Do Not Walk on Roof Tiles or Shingles

We know it may be tempting to walk on your roof to hang your Christmas lights in Miami, but there are safer alternatives to this hazardous action. It’s not worth walking on shingle roofs when the granules are loose or the roof is steep, and risking a serious injury due to a fall. If there is a tarp on the roof, it’s hard to tell if the roof is secure under the tarp, so it’s safer to avoid stepping on that too. South Florida weather can be quite unpredictable, and you certainly want to avoid walking on a wet and slippery roof. By walking on your roof, you would also risk damaging your roofing material. The extra weight added to your roof along with movements, can easily cause your roof to break or shorten its lifespan.

Solution
To avoid the trouble that walking on a roof can cause, use a ladder to hang your Christmas roof decorations. Below, we will explain how to properly use a ladder to decorate your roof safely.


Tip #2: Use a Ladder Safely

When using a ladder to hang outdoor Christmas lights, we recommend you always have someone else working with you. Before climbing on, make sure the ladder is tied up, and placed on a non-slip surface, preferably the grass. Do not stand on the ladder’s top two rungs.

Solution
To reach a roof, extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the edge of the roof. Make sure to stay centered between the rails of the ladder. Do not overreach to hang lights or decorations—move the ladder instead.


Tip #3: Do Not Nail Directly into Roof Surface

Avoid hanging Christmas lights outside with screws, nails or a staple gun, directly into your roof surface, as this will cause leaks. The direct contact can puncture your roof surface (especially shingles and flat roofs), which can allow moisture to seep in and damage the roof.

Solution
To avoid puncturing your roof surface, you can nail lights directly into the Fascia board on the overhang of the house. The preferred method is to buy clips that can be installed onto the Drip Edge metal. There are clips designed specifically for hanging Christmas lights outside, and work by clipping onto gutters, or eaves of your home.


Tip #4: Do Not Place Any Fixtures or Decoration on Top of Roof

Avoid placing fixtures or decorations on top of the roof to prevent breaking the membrane or tiles. As we mentioned earlier, adding extra weight can be detrimental to your roofing material, causing damage or a shorter lifespan.

Solution
The best way to hang your Christmas lights is to place them along the eaves, or use the plastic clips to grip the drip edge or gutters. The plastic clips have a lower hook that can be used to hold a light strand or an extension cord.


Hanging Christmas lights on your house can be a challenge. With these helpful tips, you can be sure that your roof will not be damaged, and that you will have a safe decorating experience to enjoy your holiday in South Florida.