If your version of decking the halls includes using your roof for lights or displays, then it’s not only time to start thinking about twinkling lights, it’s time to think about protecting yourself and your roof. Any time a project includes working on your roof, it contains an element of risk. You want to protect what is probably your most significant investment and yourself.

Roof Safety First

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), putting up and taking down Christmas lights is the most common cause of holiday-related injuries. That means before you go up on your roof you should make sure that you have a ladder that is in tiptop condition. You should also make certain that the weather conditions are favorable, and you can properly anchor yourself to protect from falling. There are temporary anchor kits and products available for purchase or you can have a permanent roof anchor installed.

Further, if someone else is available, work as a team. That way you’ll have a backup should something not quite go as planned.

Plan Ahead

Before ever making it up to the roof you should have a plan for where your lights and other items will be located and how you will secure them. In other words, decisions should be made while you are on the ground, not while you are walking around on the roof. Have your tools and supplies ready and placed in strategic locations.

Use the Proper Supplies

You never want to attach lights or other objects directly to a shingle. Use clips for the lights and anchor inflatable or other large items to the chimney or another permeable spot. Punctures in shingles can lead to leaks and other long-term problems. Take care with your gutters as well. When it comes to taking the lights down, be sure to take your time. Don’t try to speed things up by tugging them down by the wire. Remove the clips by hand.

Don’t Overload / Watch for Power Lines

Unless you are going solar, your holiday display will depend on electricity to get its dazzle. If you have power lines in your sight, then take extra caution. You also want to avoid overloading circuits and loading too much into your extension cords. Be sure to use cords that are rated for outdoor use and can handle the load you intend to put on them. This applies to both indoor and outdoor use.

Hire A Professional

One surefire way to make sure that you stay safe and avoid roof damage is to hire a professional. If you’re not particularly inclined to do-it-yourself projects, this may have particular appeal.

Creating roof lighting and holiday displays require careful planning and good execution. If you create a lighting plan, make sure that you have a comprehensive plan for safety as well; if you take your time, you’ll make it through in one piece. While you may not create a Griswold size achievement, you’ll end up with a festive look and a roof that remains in good shape.