Is there anything quite like a gingerbread-esque home twinkling with a light display on a chilly December night? The holiday season is in full swing in New Jersey and many homeowners are untangling strands of lights and scaling ladders to deck their rooftops with shimmer and shine to celebrate.

New Jersey, Holiday Season, Ice Dams, Snow Removal

Whether you’re planning an elaborate light show or just hanging some simple icicle lights, following these 5 tips will be sure to keep your roof, your gutters, and you safe for the holidays and beyond.

1. But first, prepare.
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” We tend to agree! The first step to keeping your roof and the rest of your home safe from damage during your holiday decorating is properly preparing before you ever set foot on a ladder. Damaged lights, dirty gutters, and bad electrical can all present a fire hazard in both the short and long term, and mucking about with tangled cords on a snowy day is asking for frustration at best and a dangerous fall at worst. It’s always best to take some simple steps to prepare for your exterior holiday decorating before you end up in a dangerous situation.

  • Clean the gutters.
  • Untangle the lights.
  • Check the electrical.
  • Wait for a clear, bright day.

2. Let it snow? No, no, no!
You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but all that glistening snow can be a problem when it’s time to hang your decorations. If your roof and gutters already have snow on them you’ll want to remove as much as you safely can before you hang any lights or other decorations. You can grab a roof rake from the local hardware store to gently remove the snow from your roof. It’s a good idea to get into this habit even when you aren’t hanging decorations as it’s an excellent way to prevent ice dams and other winter roof damage.

On the other hand, if you had planned to hang your decorations and snow is falling – wait it out. Don’t try to climb a ladder or get on your roof while visibility is bad and snow is making things slippery. It’s not safe and one extra day of lights isn’t worth the risk to your health and well-being.

3. Using a hammer? Let it go!
You may feel inclined to grab your hammer to ensure your decorations are secured, but it’s better to take Elsa’s advice and just “let it go.” Hammering nails or staples directly into your shingles, fascia, or siding might seem harmless, but those tiny holes add up and create vulnerable points in your roof. Moisture will be drawn to these areas where it will infiltrate the lower layers of the roof eventually leading to roof leaks and rot which will be damaging not only to your roof and gutters but to the interior of your home as well.

Plastic gutter clips, self-adhesive hooks, brick/siding clips, and even clothes pins combined with lightweight decorations are the perfect way to frost your home without putting your gutters and roof at risk of damage.

4. Arose such a clatter? Nah, grab a ladder.
Avoid the temptation to hop on the roof and hang your decorations. While most roofing systems are more than capable of handling the weight of a person walking on them, the shuffling of feet and scrambling around with decorations can cause some major damage including bent or broken shingles and granule loss. Stick to climbing a ladder when you need to hang your lights and other decorations. Santa Claus and your local roofing experts from East Coast Roofing, Siding & Windows are the only people that should be walking around on your roof this holiday season.

5. Speaking of ladders, grab a partner.
Since you’re going to need to use a ladder for your decorating excursions – grab a partner while you’re at it. Your safety is paramount. A fall from a shaky ladder would put more than a minor damper on your holiday cheer. Whether you’re using a standard, 8-foot ladder to hang some lights on your porch or you’ve pulled out your extension ladder to reach the eaves on your second story you should always have a partner to keep the ladder steady and to be prepared in case something goes wrong.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that an average of 13,000 to 14,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to Christmas decoration-related injuries. Don’t let yourself be part of that statistic – take the steps to stay safe.

You don’t need to sacrifice your own safety or the safety of your roof and gutters to have a beautiful holiday display. Following the above tips will keep your New Jersey home awash in holiday splendor without causing damage to your roof.

If you find that you’re experiencing roof problems like missing or damaged shingles while you’re up on your ladder hanging your decorations, reach out to East Coast Roofing, Siding & Windows New Jersey. Our roofing specialists will be there with jingle bells on to give you a helping hand. Call to schedule your free consultation!