Holiday Safety

Christmas lights on roof: Is it a good idea? Is it a bad idea?

If you are wondering if it is safe to staple Christmas lights to the roof, then wonder no more and put down that staple gun. It’s not worth possibly causing damage to your roof or even potentially causing a fire hazard from puncturing an exposed electric cord.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year but installing festive lights on a home can be a headache and potentially cause damage to your roof. Here are some tips to avoid roof damage:

  • Don’t let your shingles jingle. Never hang Christmas lights from your shingles. To properly put up lights, they need to be secured to something (that’s why it’s so easy to wrap them around trees). Putting Christmas lights actually onto your roof can cause serious damage to the shingles. Making even the tiniest of holes in a shingle or roof component will let moisture or leaks in and potentially rot the roof and eventually the water can get into your home. Putting staples into asphalt or fiberglass laminate shingles is not a good idea. Shingles don’t work well with holes in them. The best way to put up lights is with clips that hang from the gutter or eaves.
  • Even if the holes from the staples don’t let water in, the staples can weaken the shingles making them more prone to damage during inclement weather as well. Most shingles are made to last anywhere from 20-30 years but if you start putting holes and staples in them you’ll find out that they won’t last even half that amount of time.
  • Putting small staples into thick cedar shingles is not quite as bad but it still is not good for your roof. With cedar shingles, as with any roof actually, it’s not good to be walking on them. It’s easy to crack cedar shingles, especially when they are older, just by walking on them.
  • On asphalt or fiberglass shingles the granules that protect the waterproof layer from the sun will get worn off by walking on them. Avoid walking on any type of roof if you don’t have to. The less anyone walks on a roof, the better. If you do have to walk on your roof for any reason, try to place your foot in the center off each shingle and not on the lower edge of the shingles where they overlap. This helps protect the shingles from damage and wear.
  • Another thing to consider before stapling your Christmas lights is causing damage to the cord on the lights as well. You would never want to put a metal staple anywhere near an exposed cord as this is a complete fire safety hazard.
  • Don’t let ‘er rip. We know you don’t want to be that house that leaves decorations up until summer, but don’t dissemble hastily either by pulling lights off the roof from the cord. This can cause damage to the gutter or potentially your shingle if you didn’t clip them correctly in the first place. Take the time to remove each clip individually. It’s cheaper than replacing gutters or shingles.
  • Avoid the shock. Make sure decorations, including inflatable items, are away from power lines and plugged into a portable outdoor circuit. In addition, don’t overload the breaker, which can be a potential fire risk.