The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that holiday decorating may in fact be hazardous to your health, with over 15,000 people per year being injured in accidents related to holiday decorating. What many people may not realize is that improperly installing holiday lights on your roof and around your gutters may also be bad for the health and longevity of your roof. Before you climb up on that ladder to create this year’s Yuletide spectacular, you may want to read these tips on decorating for the season.
Hang Holiday Lights with Care
The main thing to remember when decorating up on your roof is that you should never purposefully put a hole in any part of your home’s structure. This means that you should avoid stapling or nailing your decorations to the shingles, or affixing them in any way that requires puncturing the materials – no matter how small the hole may be. Any vulnerability in your roofing materials has the capability of allowing water in and creating leaks, and water doesn’t need much access to wreak havoc. Using nails or staples also may damage the wiring for your holiday lights, turning the entire holiday display into a possible electrical hazard.
The safest and most prudent way to hang holiday lights is to utilize easily available plastic clips which may be attached to your shingles, gutters and eaves. These affordable clips are specifically designed for holiday light installation. They are easy to both install and take down and are available at virtually any home improvement or home goods store at this time of year.
We have warned about the damage you can do by walking on your roof, but doing so once or twice a year shouldn’t do much damage. It is best to work from a ladder which is steadied by another person on the ground. However, if you must climb on the roof, be sure to wait until the surface is dry, wear soft shoes with a good tread, and avoid working in the heat of the day as materials are more prone to cracking. (For those who may be confused with that last statement, we Floridians often enjoy very warm weather well into the “winter” months!)
What About Santa and Rudolph? If your holiday décor includes rooftop decorations such as a Santa sleigh with 8 tiny reindeer, install these pieces securely with zip ties and sand bags. You may also wish to tie to the chimney, or secure to a tree growing close to the roof. Remember, we never want to puncture the roof shingles or tiles; but a large decoration falling over on the roof may damage it as well. Thankfully in the Venice and Sarasota area, we typically do not experience storms or winds over the mild winter months.
After the Season
Many area HOAs have rules as to how long your holiday lights can remain up on your home. But regardless if you are taking them down a week after the holiday, or you like to keep them installed until spring – eventually they need to come down. When uninstalling the lights, avoid simply pulling on the string of bulbs to get them down. Climb up on the ladder (once again, with someone spotting you!) and remove each section from the clips. Being too rough can cause damage to the shingles, as well as the eaves or gutters. You also want to make sure that you don’t damage the lights themselves, as you want to be able to install them again next year – and we all know how frustrating it is to have non-functioning Christmas bulbs.
If it is time to hang holiday lights, or you simply want to clean your roof – safety and caution should always be implemented. If your roof does experience any damage and needs repair, don’t delay. Call Kingdom Roofing and make sure your home is ready for the spring rains.