Deck The Halls Without Damaging Your Roof And Gutters: A Quick Guide For Outdoor Holiday Decor

The general idea with holiday lights is that you want to deck the halls—not damage your roof. There are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind this holiday season in order to make sure that you don't end up needing Santa to deliver roofing supplies instead of presents this year.

1.) Watch where you put that ladder.

A poorly placed ladder and a lack of adequate ground support can end up leaving you hanging—literally. If the ladder starts to become unbalanced, your natural instinct will be to grab onto what's right in front of you. That means that you could end up pulling on your gutters, damaging the connecting fascia, and even pulling loose shingles. Make sure your ladder is firmly and safely planted each time you move it and, ideally, have someone there to steady it and hand you the lights as you go. 

2.) Do a quick check of your gutters and the shingles along the edge of your roof before you start.

Don't hang a single light until you do a quick inspection of your gutters and the edge of your roof. You should make sure that there's no clogs in the gutters or cracked shingles along the edge of your roof and make any necessary cleanouts or repairs before the lights go up.

3.) Leave the hammer, nails, and staple gun for rooftop repairs only.

Never use a hammer and nails or a staple gun to hang holiday lights. Even the small holes from a staple gun are sill holes, and they let water in to damage the materials on your roof. There are dozens of other products out there that don't require you to put tiny holes in your roofline to hang your lights, including plastic hooks that clip directly to your gutters. They're virtually invisible and don't rust, which means that you can even leave them up for next year if you want. 

4.) Consider leaving the inflatables down on the ground.

A lot of people put inflatables on their rooftops during the holiday season, which looks great—but can also really damage your shingles. Just walking around on your roof puts unnecessary pressure on your shingles and can cause damage, so having a heavy inflatable up there can leave you with problems like loose or cracked shingles that have to be fixed in the spring. In addition, you have to either weigh the inflatables down with heavy sandbags or tie them down some way in order to keep them in place. The first option leads to more unnecessary weight on your roof. The second option requires you to use something like bolts and wire, which again means putting unnecessary holes in your roofing. 

In addition, inflatables, no matter how secure, are going get knocked around by the winter winds a little, which can end up scraping your shingles and causing slippage. The potential damage isn't worth the temporary decor.

Once it comes time to remove your decorations, follow the same advice about the ladder and make sure that you give your roof, fascia, trim, and gutters another quick visual inspection to make sure that they've survived the season without major damage from the weather. If you note minor problems, you can get them fixed early in the spring. If you see major problems, like missing shingles after a winter storm, contact a roofing contractor right away. You might also consider getting roofing supplies from a company like American Building & Roofing, Inc. and replacing the shingles yourself.