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How to Properly Hang Christmas Lights on a Shingle Roof

hang lights without damagingIt’s the holiday season, and it’s time to hang those Christmas lights. The trick to keeping the holiday season bright is to hang the lights without damaging your shingle roof. Here’s how.


Choose the Right Lights


When hanging Christmas lights, be sure you choose the right lights. In the old days, there was only one option. Now you can choose from several different light types. Choosing the right ones will make it safe to hang lights from the roof.


  • Incandescent lights – less expensive to buy than LED lights, incandescent strings are the old standard. However, they use more energy and burn hotter, leading to more energy use and higher utility bills after the holidays. They are also a fire hazard because they get hot.
  • Battery-powered lights – no outlet by your light display? No problem! Choose battery-powered holiday lights. Be sure the battery pack is out of the elements to prevent damage and loss of power.
  • LED light strings – these are the lights of choice for energy-conscious homeowners. You’ll use less energy with these cooler bulbs and take away the fire risk of the incandescent strings, and they come in a wide choice of colors and programming options. Additionally, you can plug quite a few strings, up to 25, into the same outlet because of their lower energy use.


Use the Right Tools


No matter what type you choose, when you’re decorating for Christmas and want to know if it’s safe to hang lights from the roof, the answer is yes. However, using the right tools is critical, and we don’t mean a drill or a hammer. It’s never a good idea to put holes in your shingle roof or the flashing. It just opens the potential for leaks and roof damage. And Christmas decorating damage to gutters is something roofing professionals are very familiar with. Instead, there are some fantastic ways to hang lights without damaging the roof or the gutters.


  • Roof tabs are small plastic clips that slide under your shingles at the edge of your roof to hold lights in place. They won’t damage your roof, and allow for creative light hanging without drilling any holes.
  • Gutter light clips are an option if your gutters block the edges of your roof and make light hanging challenging. Like the roof tabs, the gutter clips slide over the edge of the gutter without causing damage to the gutter material.


Caution When Removing the Lights


When the holidays are over, and it’s time to take down the lights, it can be tempting to just give them a tug. Don’t do it. Tugging down the lights is a great way to negate the caution you’ve taken with your holiday lights this year. A good pull on the light strings can damage the roof and gutter if the clips hang on instead of letting go, leaving behind popped-up shingles and bent gutters. Remove the lights carefully and leave the clips attached to the lights, so they’re ready to go next year.


‘Tis the season for holiday lights! If you’re worried about damage to your roof or gutters from light installation in years past, don’t hang your lights until you’ve had your roof assessed by a professional. Contact the roofing experts at Premiere Roofing to schedule a roof inspection before Santa comes down the chimney.

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