Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights on a Steep Roof

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Don't let having a steep roof stop you from hanging Christmas lights on your home. Before adding electric accents to the outdoor festivities, you will need to have the right ladder on hand. With a good plan of how to hang Christmas lights on a steep roof, your house could be the envy of the neighborhood during the next holiday season.


Getting Up There

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Use a ladder to install your lights rather than climbing onto the roof. Your work will be in front of you and not below, and climbing from the ladder to the roof can be difficult. Step ladders are the easiest, if you can find one that will reach. They are more stable and will be less likely to cause damage to the siding, trim or gutters than extension ladders.

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Extenision ladders can help you reach the places too high for the step ladder.Always extend the ladder well past the roofline and lean it on the edge of the roof. If you must lean it on the gutter, place a piece of 2-by-4 in the gutter to help prevent gutter collapse.

Hardware stores carry both step and extension ladders. If you're not ready to buy, tool rental companies rent many kinds of ladder by the day or week. Whatever ladder you choose, finding someone to hold it will make the job easier and safer.


Light Installation Hardware

Using specially made exterior light hangers, such as shingle edge clips or gutter clips, to mount Christmas lights. They can be mounted without tools. Attach all of the clips on one section before hanging the lights makes the job easier. Buy light hangers wherever holiday decorations are sold.


If shingle clips won't work, the electrical department of your hardware store offers a variety of hardware for hanging electrical cables. Plastic clip hangers that attach with a single nail work well in wood trim and siding around doors and windows.

It's best not to use nails or staples to attach lighting. They can cut or wear through the wire, which will increase the danger of an electrical short. At best, this will spoil your display; at worst, it could start a fire.


Prepping the Lights

Knowing what you will do before hauling lights to the roof will help limit the number of trips and make the job quicker and safer. Always measure the roofline to let you know how many light strings you will need in each area.


Unravel and test every string you plan to hang before taking them up to the roof. Conduct a visual inspection for bare wire and broken bulbs before plugging them in, then replace any strings that appear damaged to avoid fire risk.

Connect all the light strings you need for a section and coil them neatly for installation. Make sure you can support the string and attach them to your clips with one hand, because you'll need the other for the ladder. Hanging the coiled lights over a shoulder works well and keeps hands free.



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