How to Avoid Christmas Light Roof Damage

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Outside, the air is crisp as you begin your annual decorating of the house. After pulling out the Christmas light container, you begin the yearly battle of untangling and then finding that one light that is not working. Yes… it is that time of year that we all love.

With all the holiday spirit and effort to make your home have the feel and look of the season, has anyone ever explained the best way to prepare your home without damaging your home?

Will Christmas Lights Damage My Roof?

Don’t use Staples, Hammers, or Nails

When done correctly, hanging Christmas lights can be done without damaging your home. Many homeowners think that using staples or nails will hold the lights more securely, but it’s at the cost of the roof. You should never nail, staple, or puncture any part of your roof to hang Christmas lights. While staple holes may be small, they can cause significant (and expensive) damage down the road. Most homeowners use asphalt shingles, and puncturing them with staples or nails, will cause melting snow or rain to seep through and severely damage the decking (the plywood board beneath the shingles). Don’t use screw hooks on the gutters either, as these will leave holes when removed and cause drainage issues. Gutters and downspouts are designed to carry water off the roof and away from the home’s foundation. It will also damage the gutters’ appearance and reduce the home’s value. Using nails or staples anywhere on the home breaks any waterproof seal the manufacturer has installed and will allow water to seep in and cause damage.

Plastic Clips – The Better Christmas Light Shingle Clip Option

Plastic clips are a better option for hanging Christmas lights as they won’t puncture shingles, gutters, or other roof system parts. Be careful where you attach the clips, however.

Depending on how and where you install your clips, attaching them to shingles will remove granules that protect your underlayment of the shingles from ultraviolet rays that, over time, damage your shingle matting. In the installation process, you can tear the shingle, and the seal will break between the shingle, allowing moisture to get under and eventually damage your roof system. Don’t lift your shingles to attach lights under them, either. Shingles are designed to lie flat against the underlayment wood decking to provide a seal from wind and moisture.

Foot traffic damage on roof

Don’t Walk on Your Roof

Foot traffic is a major cause of roof damage. Not wearing the proper footwear causes considerable damage, called “footfall.” Asphalt shingle roofs make footfall damage easy to spot, typically on the edges of the shingles. More severe damage happens in the summertime and will cause the shingle to smear when foot pressure is applied. Footfall is not as significant on lower sloped roofs; however, those steeply sloped garage gables and front dormers on your home that many love to outline with lights get damaged very easily in winter or summer.

We are sure your insurance won’t cover reindeer damage; however, we think it’s crucial you are able to recognize the signs anyway. Typically, hoofprints will be scattered across the roof and leave easily recognizable marks. If you see this type of damage on your roof, we highly recommend asking Santa to send a gift through amazon or something.

Reindeer hoofprint damage to roof

Hiring Someone to Hang Your Lights?

You can hire many companies to install lights on your home. Take the time and question their installation techniques. Ask important questions about what steps they take to prevent damage from happening to your home. Are they wearing shoes or boots with soles designed to be on a roof? What type of clips are they using? Are they attached to your roof shingles, or are they attached to the rakes, eaves, or gutters?

Some Things to Watch Out For

Ice damming can be a direct result of the decorations and lights on a home. Ice dams form after heavy snowfall on the roof, and then as the temperature warms, the lights or garland on the roof stop the melting water from running off, creating a dam of ice. This can cause the water to pool and build up under the shingles until it penetrates your home.

Merry Christmas to All & Take it Easy on Your Roof!

We love the Christmas season and the sounds and smells, and lights. We also care about your home and getting the most from your investment. Remember to take careful steps this season to ensure your home stays safe while still being festive!

If you have concerns or questions, you can always schedule a free roof evaluation and let our experts ensure your home is safe and sound this Christmas season!