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How To Hang Christmas Lights On A Metal Roof

Lights laid out for holiday decorating, which has led a homeowner to wonder how to hang Christmas lights on a metal roof

Homeowners with a metal roof don’t have to worry when the holiday season comes around. Even though many outdoor lighting systems are designed for typical shingles or gutters, it’s still possible to hang Christmas lights on a metal roof if you do your research and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Before you get started, you’ll need to gather all the tools you’ll need to hang your lights, so you can avoid having to constantly stop and restart to find another essential item. Here are the main steps involved in getting your home adorned with festive holiday lighting:

  • Gather your strands of lights, as well as other electronic items you might need, such as extension cords and timers.
  • Test each string of lights to make sure they’re working before you start hanging them. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours putting up lights, only to find that a bulb is out in the middle of your roof.
  • Inspect your lights and other electrical devices to make sure they’re in good condition. If you spot broken bulbs, frayed wires, rusting or other damage, you may need to get replacement strands and recycle your old Christmas lights.
  • Double check to make sure that your lights and equipment are labeled for outdoor use, since indoor-only lights might not be able to withstand rain, wind, ice or other outdoor conditions. Also, check for a symbol with the letters “UL” inside a circle. This seal indicates that your Christmas lights meet safety standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Get out, borrow or purchase a sturdy ladder that will allow you to reach the areas of your home and landscaping that you want to light up that you can’t reach from the ground. To reduce the chance of shock or exposure to electrical currents, it’s typically safest to use a fiberglass or wood ladder instead of a metal one when dealing with Christmas lights and other electrical projects.
  • Decide how you’d like to hang your lights. If you already own strands of Christmas lights that you’d like to use on your metal roof, the easiest way to attach them is to buy magnetic clips or hooks that you can affix directly to your metal roof. You can also use magnetic clips or hooks on metal fences, siding, gates and other areas around your home. The benefit of using magnets is that you reduce the chance that you might damage your roof.
  • To use magnetic clips, fasten each clip along your string of lights and then attach the magnetic side of the clips to your roof. For magnetic hooks, it’s often easiest to start by attaching the magnetic side of the hooks to the places on your roof where you’d like the lights to hang and then attach the lights by wrapping the cord around the hooks.
  • If you decide to purchase new lights, select from a range of solutions specifically designed for metal roofs. Magnetic Christmas lights are one of the primary products available for this type of roof. They come with strong magnetic strips, so you can attach the lights directly to the roof instead of having to use another kind of fastener.

No matter what kind of lights you use, safety is a number one priority. Injuries caused by falling from ladders, roofs and other tall surfaces are not uncommon and can result in a trip to the emergency room. Christmas lighting decorations also produce powerful currents that can cause electrocution if they aren’t handled properly.

Following some basic safety tips while installing lights can help reduce the chance of one of these devastating accidents ruining your holiday:

  • Avoid using ladders or climbing on the roof by yourself. If you work with a buddy, you can have an extra set of hands to hold your ladder to help keep it secure and hand you items while you’re on the ladder. As an added bonus, you have someone who can help if anything goes wrong.
  • Check weather conditions before you start hanging your lighting. Autumn and winter seasons can include everything from hot sunny days to ice, high winds and flash floods that can lead to tragic falls and devastating electrical accidents. Waiting until conditions are dry and calm can make the work go faster and help you avoid any complications.
  • Don’t string too many strands of lights together or overload your outlet or power strip. These actions can fry your electrical system, expose your family to dangerous electrical currents or spark a fire in your home.

As you can see, there are a number of things to keep in mind when installing Christmas lights on a metal roof. The good news? You don’t have to do all of this on your own. If you now realize you don’t really have the time to deal with Christmas lighting installation or you don’t feel comfortable dealing with electricity or heights, you can enlist the aid of a lighting professional. These experts can take care of every detail of your lighting project, so you don’t have to deal with it.

These pros will listen to your vision for your Christmas decorations, help answer any questions you have and handle everything from correctly installing the lights to taking them down at the end of the season and helping store them properly. If you’d like, many companies can even supply the lights and other related equipment, like clips.

Additionally, if you run into a problem with your lights, such as if a bulb goes out or the timer stops working, skilled lighting professionals can come to your home and make any necessary adjustments or make any needed repairs for you.

Hanging holiday lights on your roof is is just one small part of getting ready for the holidays. If you want to decorate your home for the holidays, get your holiday playlist ready and keep reading for tips on how to hang your Christmas lights on your roof peak and how to store your lights at the end of the season.

A home with roof peaks which makes a homeowner wonder how to hang lights on a roof peak

How to Hang Christmas Lights on Your Roof Peak

Attaching Christmas lights on a roof peak is often a challenge for homeowners, since it usually involves working with awkward angles far above the ground. The easiest way to tackle this task is to hire a lighting professional who can take care of the job for you. These pros have the equipment and training needed to safely install Christmas lights in tall and difficult areas like roof peaks, while you stay safely on the ground.

If you have a metal roof, you’d hang your lights the same way on the highest point of your roof as you would elsewhere: using magnetic clips or hooks. Homeowners with shingles can attach their Christmas lights near a roof peak by slipping a plastic Christmas lights clip or hook onto a shingle that’s the closest to this point. Then, you would secure the light strand into place, arranging your lights so that they hang in a way that they outline your roof’s drip edge. When you are working on your roof, be sure to move slowly, attaching each clip to your shingles so that there is no slack in your light strands so that you don’t end up with lights that are not in a straight line. Also, check to make sure that the clips and lighting are secure so that they don’t come loose in case of inclement weather.

If you decide to go the DIY route and install your own lights at the peak of a steep roof, it’s critical to keep the following installation and safety tips in mind:

  • Never try to climb on a roof with a pitch of over 30 degrees. For steeper roofs, it’s best to hire a company that uses a boom lift instead of trying to access the peak with a ladder.
  • Make sure your ladder reaches high enough for you to access the roof safely, even with a roof that has an angle less than 30 degrees. Your ladder should extend at least three feet past the roof’s edge.
  • Orient your lights so the plug is towards the ground instead of near the highest point of your roof.
  • Avoid working with live electricity on the roof by waiting until you have finished installing your lights to plug them in.
  • Start attaching your lights at the highest point on your roof and then work your way down the peak until you reach the bottom. You can then climb down your ladder, move it to the other side of your house and begin this process again on the other side of your roof.

One of the best ways to ensure you won’t have any issues with your Christmas lights is to make sure that your lights are stored properly at the end of the holiday season. Fortunately, if you do decide to hire a company to decorate your home with lights for the holidays, many will safely pack away your lights at the end of the season. Keep reading to learn more about how to protect your holiday decorations so that they last for years to come.

Tangled holiday lights in a box which has led a homeowner to wonder the best way to store christmas lights

How To Store Christmas Lights

Storing your lights properly when Christmas is over can save you a lot of stress at the start of next year’s holiday season. Some storage methods that homeowners might consider when the holidays are over include:

  • The original packaging your lighting came in. Trying to fit lights back into the original packaging can be a headache, but it is the easiest option, assuming you didn’t already put these materials in the trash or recycling. The downside is that the light strands are more likely to get tangled unless you take the time to arrange your lights in a coil pattern and carefully ease this bundle back into the box.
  • Cord reels. While you may have only considered using cord reels for extension cords, they can also be useful for Christmas lights. You can either buy a reel from the local hardware store or make something similar at home using cardboard cutouts.
  • Plastic clothes hangers. You may not have realized you can use plastic hangers to prevent your lights from becoming a tangled mess. Stick one end of the strand through one of the strap holders on either side of your hanger, then wind the entire light strand around the remainder of the outside of the hanger. When you reach the other end of the strand, loop the plug through the other strap holder. This can be an easy holiday hack, as most of us have extra plastic clothes hangers in our home.
  • Plastic sheeting. Wrapping your net or icicle lights in sheets of plastic can keep them from tangling. To do so, lay the lights out on a sheet of plastic that’s a little longer than your decorations, and then roll your lights up as you might a rug.

If thinking about doing all this makes you feel more Grinch-like than jolly, you may consider hiring a professional service that can take care of all of this for you, so you don’t have to. A pro can take down your lights for you, help ensure they’re stored correctly and handle all aspects of setting up your Christmas lighting.

ABC Can Make Your Home Beautiful This Holiday Season

While decorating your Christmas tree is a treasured tradition in many households, few homeowners look forward to putting up their Christmas lights. The truth is, many of us would much rather spend time with friends and family or spend time in the kitchen on favorite holiday recipes than up on a ladder. If this sounds like you, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our pros can set up your holiday lights just how you want them, and then put the lights away at the end of the season so you can focus on making memories this during this special time of year.

J Zambo

J Zambo joined ABC in 2023 with over 20 years of experience. He is the Lawn & Tree Division Manager, overseeing Lawn Maintenance and Care, Landscaping, Tree and Holiday Lighting for all ABC Austin branches. Before ABC, he was the Vice President of Aloha Arbor Care and Hawaii Landscape Services. J is an ISA Certified Arborist and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. His favorite quote is “So shines a good deed in a weary world” by Willie Wonka.

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