How to Get on a Roof to Hang Christmas Lights With a Safety Harness

Christmas is a magical time rich with traditions. Decking out your yard and home with colorful Christmas lights is one of the most common of those traditions. For the full effect, consider hanging lights from your roof line as well as wrapping them around trees and bushes. If your roof is particularly high, steep, or you simply want to be safe, consider using a roof safety harness when hanging your lights.

Things You'll Need

  • Extension ladder
  • 20d nails
  • Roof brackets
  • 2-feet by 6-feet timber
  • Electric drill
  • Screws
  • Safety harness
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    • 1

      Set up your extension ladder. Your ladder should be sturdy, made of aluminum or fiberglass, and extend at least 3 feet above the edge of the roof. Place the ladder on level ground or use plywood under the feet until the ladder is level. Secure the ladder at the top with rope or wire tied to an anchor. If nothing is available to anchor the ladder, nail a 20d nail into the rafter as an anchor.

    • 2

      Install roof brackets 18 inches up from the roof edge and approximately 4 feet apart. The brackets must be nailed into a roof rafter or truss. Lift a shingle up and slide the bracket under it for each bracket. Once in place, nail the bracket in place using 20d nails.

    • 3

      Place your 2-feet by 6-feet timber along your roof brackets once they are in place. Attach the timber to the brackets using screws and an electric drill.

    • 4

      Put on the safety harness. Read the manufacturer's instructions first and strap it on accordingly. Tighten the harness until it is snug but comfortable.

    • 5

      Attach the roof anchor to the peak of your roof according to the manufacturer's instructions. Attach the anchor directly above where you plan to hang the Christmas lights. The anchor will need to be moved as you move along the roof to hang the lights.

    • 6

      Connect the harness to the anchor by clipping the end of the safety rope to the ring found on the anchor. Then clip the lanyard to the D-ring located on the back of the harness.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rafters and trusses are typically 16 inches or 24 inches apart. Look for the exposed rafters along the roof edge or use a hammer to tap along the roof to find the first rafter or truss.

  • Roof brackets are not required when using a safety harness; however, for the ultimate in safety, the two should be used together. In the event the harness fails, the brackets may prevent you from sliding off the roof.

  • You can only safely move about 4 feet to either side of the roof anchor. Since you need to be able to access the entire roof line, you will either need to install additional roof anchors or move the anchor as you hang the lights.

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