Christmas Lights Installation Safety Tips

December 8, 2014 4:26 pm

It’s that time of year – most of your neighbors have probably started installing their Christmas lights. If you haven’t installed yours already, we wanted to pass along a few safety tips before you get on your roof. Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation is a perfect example of what not to do when installing lights.

Watch this video to see what he did wrong:

Keep Weather Conditions in Mind

Though it seems somewhat obvious, make sure the weather conditions are safe before getting onto your roof. Check the shingles for slick spots during any precipitation and definitely avoid installing lights during freezing temperatures. Otherwise, you may end up like Griswold, sliding off the roof and into the bushes.

Don’t Use Nails or Staples

Another thing Clark Griswold did wrong is use a staple gun to attach his lights. Never use a staple gun, nail gun, or anything that would puncture your shingles in general. This will damage the integrity of your roof, and can cause leaks. Even though staples don’t go very deep into the shingles, it can cause them to break off because of the brittle nature of shingles during cold weather. Try to use plastic shingle/gutter clips to hang lights instead.

Keep Your Ladder Below the Roofline

A common practice among roofers is to rest your ladder below your roof, leaning against the side of your home. This will prevent your ladder from slipping out from underneath you. Griswold also had ladder issues, which you can witness here:


Another way you can secure your ladder is to stake it into the ground. Most ladders have stake holes on the feet, or you can tie rope from the stakes to your ladder’s legs.

Stay on the Ridges and Hips

As your roofing experts, we highly recommend taking extreme caution when climbing onto your roof. If you can avoid being on your roof by installing your lights with a ladder, this is the safest option. However, if you are absolutely set on getting lights onto the higher pitches, only walk on the ridges and hips of your roof. These are the angles that lie at the top of each pitch, and are the sturdiest for roof-walking. Clark Griswold started walking on the ridges, but his fall occurred when he stepped out onto the field of his roof.

Be Aware of Your Steps

Keep in mind, while shingles are meant to be weatherproof, they are not indestructible. Avoid pivoting when you are walking on your roof to keep from breaking or warping shingles. Wear soft, rubber-soled sneakers to help you grip and prevent damage. If you have a metal, tile, or slate roof, be extra cautious about slippage.

Once your lights have been safely installed, hopefully your reaction will be like this:

Happy Clark Griswold