How To Decorate Your Roof Without Damaging It

With yet another Christmas come and gone, you might or might not be chomping at the bit to get your decorations down and packed away for next year. If you’re like most homeowners, chances are you played it safe and steered away from decorating your roof. While that decision may have greatly reduced the likelihood of Christmas-borne injuries, you undeniably missed out on an opportunity to really “Wow” the neighbours by displaying your above average aptitude for Griswold-esque decorating.

Fortunately, there are ways for you and other like you safely decorate your roof – and when we say safely, we don’t simply mean for you, but also, for your roof.

1. Know Where to Hang Your Lights

When it comes to hanging your Christmas lights, your shingles should never enter the equation. While lights do need to be secured properly to be able to endure the rigours of the Canadian winter, making even the tiniest hole in your shingles to attach them is a big no-no. Innocent though it may seem, even a small hole can allow moisture to permeate your roof, leading to things like rot, mold, and material decomposition. To avoid this, adhere your lights to your gutter or eavestroughs using easy to remove clips.

2. When it Comes Time to Take Them Down, Don’t be Hasty

Though the temptation might be there to get the job done right quick, common sense dictates that it’s not a good idea to remove your lights by pulling on the extension cord. Doing so can unnecessarily damage your gutter or eaves – take the extra few minutes, grab your ladder and remove them one clip at a time.

3. Have a Plan Before You Even Get On the Roof

While diligently planning out your roof decorating strategy ahead of time might seem like it’ll take out all the fun and spontaneity of decorating, doing so is definitely advised. The longer you spend walking around on your roof, the greater the chance that you might accidentally knock a shingle or two loose or worse, the greater the chance that you might get hurt.

Here are a few things to remember before you get up on your roof:

  • Dress accordingly. If you dress warmly enough the first time, you’re less likely to need to stop what you’re doing to throw on another layer.
  • Plug in your decorations before you get on the roof. There’s nothing worse than getting everything installed only to find out that the decoration no longer lights up, moves, etc. Make sure all of the components that you’re installing on your roof work properly before lugging it up there.
  • Have a buddy help you out. Not only does having an extra set of hands make the work go faster, it also means less time spent going up and down on your ladder. In the event of an accident, having a friend close by might not be a bad idea.

4. Use Quality, Outdoor Rated Electrical Cords

Though it might seem unlikely to occur, using cheap or indoor specific electrical cords could very well result in electrical problems or even a fire. If the cords are several years old, be sure to inspect them thoroughly for any deterioration of the cable’s insulation and make sure that the prongs are in good working order. Consider using a voltage detector to check for cord breaks prior to use.

5. Use Your Roof’s Fixtures and Other Methods to Secure Larger Decorations

Installing a plywood snowman at your roof’s peak? Generally, these large fixtures don’t pose a problem. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that they aren’t particularly heavy, and you’ll want to make sure that you have an appropriate anchor point for you to you use, like a chimney. Secure the fixture with rope, zip ties, and sand bags to make sure that it doesn’t come loose in high winds.

If your decorations aren’t secure, they could come loose and crack or dislodge a tile. These shifts can be subtle; meaning you might not notice this has occurred until a considerable amount of water has already gained a foothold in your roof.

6. While Your Up There, Inspect Your Roof

Before you start decorating, take a few minutes and inspect the condition of your roof. If you notice and chipped, cracked, or curbing shingles, or if you notice a substantial number of shingle granules in your gutter, it might be a sign to call in a qualified roofing contractor for a more thorough inspection.

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