How to Hang Lights Without Damaging Your Roof

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How to Hang Lights Without Damaging Your Roof
Article Excerpt

Maybe it's your first time attempting to hang Christmas lights at home. What are the different ways to do so without harming your roof? Read on!

As December approaches, many homeowners are thinking about hanging Christmas lights. A good light display on your home can impress passers-by and add a little joy to the neighborhood. If you’re feeling especially competitive, a truly epic light display can make you the envy of all your neighbors. Here are some tips on how to hang lights without damaging parts of your home that you’ll need during the rest of the year.

» READ MORE: Where to See Drive-Thru Light Displays in Texas

Where should I install lights?

When a light display is in full effect, it can be difficult to tell how a homeowner actually attached the lights to their house. Many homeowners will wrap light strands around trees in their front yards or columns on their front porches. Hanging lights from the edge of the roof is also common. Several options might be available to hang lights, depending on the setup of your roof.

Couple hanging lights outside in city.


Hanging lights directly from the eaves is usually the best option. Your eaves are the outermost part of your roof. If your roof is in good condition, the eaves should be sturdy enough to hold Christmas lights for as long as you want.


You might not be able to hang lights directly from the eaves because you have gutters in the way. You can hang lights from the gutters, but you should take care not to put too much weight on them.


It is also possible to hang lights from your shingles, although that should be your last option. Asphalt shingles are not particularly sturdy, nor are they designed to hold any sort of weight. Clay or slate shingles may appear sturdier, but they can be quite delicate if not handled carefully.


You can place lights along the uppermost part of your roof, commonly called the ridge or peak. Be extremely careful if you do this, both to protect yourself from injury and to protect your roof from damage.

What's the best way to hang Christmas lights?

The simplest ways to hang Christmas lights can also do the most damage to your roof. If you use staples or nails, you create holes in the wood or shingles. This can let water seep into the roofing materials, which is the last thing you want to happen. Over time, you can get mold, wood rot, and other damage.

A wide variety of light clips are available that allow you to hang lights without making any permanent alterations to your home, The clips attach to various parts of the roof and hold the light strands in place. At the end of the holiday season, you can remove the clips and it’ll be like they were never there. Types of clips include the following:

  • Eave clips: These attach directly to the eaves. They are generally recommended since they put the least amount of strain on your shingles and other parts of the roof.

  • All-in-one clips: This type of clip can attach to most parts of the edge of the roof, including gutters and shingles. Hanging lights from the gutters is usually preferable to using the shingles.

  • Tile clips: If you have shingles made from clay, slate, or similar material, you can get clips that are specially designed to attach to them.

  • Ridge clips: These can attach lights to the peak of your roof without damaging any of the roof components.

Outdoor Christmas light set up with snowmen in the back, and reindeer in the front.

How do you hang Christmas lights?

Once you know where the lights are going it is a fairly straightforward process. It takes practice to do it quickly and to make all of the lights look even. You can DIY it, or you can hire professionals. Here are a couple of tips if you go the DIY route.

Christmas lights wrapped around trees along the street.

Clean your gutters and eaves.

Keeping your gutters clean is good advice year-round, but it’s especially important if you’re going to have electric lights hanging from them. You should also make sure your eaves are clean. Christmas lights can get warm once they’ve been on for a bit of time, although LED technology cuts down on heat significantly. The warmth can dry out any debris in the gutter or on your eaves, which can create a fire hazard.

Be careful on the roof!

You might be able to do the entire job with just a ladder. That’s dangerous enough, but if your holiday light plan requires you to get on the roof, be even more careful. You risk falling and injuring yourself, obviously, but you also risk damaging your roof. Shingles are designed to block water and moisture from getting into your home. They are not designed for foot traffic. Step as gently as possible to avoid damaging the coating on your shingles or the shingles themselves.

Hang lights on your OWN home!

You can enjoy putting Christmas lights up at a place you rent. But when you own a home to yourself, there’s not as much worry about leaving holes behind, when you need to take them down, or how elaborate your display can be.

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