6 Tips for Installing Holiday Roofing Decorations

By Annie Crawford 12-15-2021
Tag Icon

Whether you opt to make your home sparkle during the festive season with subtle snowflakes or an elaborate display of lights and animatronics, what's important is that your roof still looks as good as ever after your holiday roofing decorations come down.

Follow these six simple safety strategies as you decorate to avoid roof damage and save time, money, and hassle during the holidays.

1. Say No to Nail Holes

Avoid the temptation to nail or staple holiday decorations to your shingles, fascia or siding. The minuscule holes they create can draw in moisture, which may lead to roof leaks and rot.

Instead, use plastic gutter clips to safely hang holiday lights from your gutters or eaves. Stick with lightweight decorations so that your gutters don't sag under all that holiday cheer.

2. Send the Sleigh Down

Inflatables, statues, and holiday scenes are better left grounded. Securing heavy or oversized holiday decorations to a rooftop can damage shingles and potentially affect roof warranties. Plus, strong winds may rip off holiday roofing decorations, possibly tearing shingles.

Instead, park Frosty and Santa on the front lawn—and think of all the potential photo ops!

3. Raise Your Ladder

Use an extension ladder to hang holiday lights rather than walking on the roof. Shingles are strong and watertight, but scrambling on them can lead to granule loss and damage. Leave walking on rooftops to professionals and Santa's magical reindeer.

However, only use a ladder if it's safe for you to do so and there's a buddy present.

4. Plug In Properly

Elaborate holiday roofing decorations and lawn decor can require serious voltage, so set up with care to prevent holiday electrical fires.

  • Ensure lights are safety rated and made for outdoor use, and opt for low-heat LED bulbs.

  • Use plastic clips to hang lights. Not only do staples and nails damage roofs, but they can also pierce the protective insulation on electrical cords, leading to potential sparks.

  • Unplug holiday decor when you're away from home or sleeping.

  • Always use a GFCI outlet and follow holiday fire prevention tips.

5. Resist the Rip

As satisfying as it may be to rip down lights, it isn't worth the potential roof damage—grabbing one end and yanking can tear shingles and pull down gutters.

Instead, grab a friend and an extension ladder. Remove the light clips the same way they went up: one at a time. Carefully coil the lights as you go to make storage and next year's installation even easier.

6. Style with Safety in Mind

Be smart and play it safe when decorating for the winter season.

  • Grab a buddy to hold your ladder and spot you.

  • Skip the ladder and roof lights altogether; instead, string holiday lights around the door frame and front lawn foliage.

  • Hire a pro to install lights and holiday decorations if it's not safe for you to do so.

  • Follow electricity safety protocols for plug-in decor.

With these simple roof decoration strategies, you can celebrate while protecting what matters most.

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
To get a firsthand account of what it's like to be a roofer, GAF spoke with Trenton Wisecup, president of Arrow Roofing Services in Michigan, and David Laurain, Arrow Roofing's vice president, to learn about their experiences in the roofing industry.
Historically, commercial skylights have gotten a bad rap. "The old joke was: 'if it's not leaking now, it will be soon,'" says Brian Grohe, a 13-year vet of the skylight industry and a commercial sales manager at industry leader VELUX. Fortunately, technology has changed that old tune for the better, turning commercial skylights into a golden opportunity for roofing contractors.
Around the globe, excess heat collects in urban areas and can contribute to increased heat-related death and illness, diminished quality of life, and reduced economic opportunities. Such areas are known as "urban heat islands." Fortunately, cooling strategies are now available and being used in initiatives like the GAF Cool Community project to help mitigate urban heat island effects. Such cooling strategies are supported by products such as such as GAF StreetBond® pavement coatings with Invisible Shade™ — named by TIME magazine as one of its Best Inventions of 2022.
The GAF manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama sits just a half mile away from Stillman College, a historically Black university with a rich history in the area. The school was first formed as the Tuscaloosa Institute in 1875 by the Presbyterian Church to serve as a ministerial training academy for Black men. It was renamed in 1899 — after the director whose idea it was to found the academy — Rev. Dr. Charles Allen Stillman.
Critically acclaimed actor — with a roofing industry background — Anthony Mackie has teamed up with GAF and their Community Matters initiative to help rebuild Gulf Region roofs hit by extreme weather.
It's easy to think that there are as many roof types as there are buildings. In truth, there are only a few standard kinds and variations are made by combinations of these. The type of roof you select for your home or addition will influence a lot of other factors, including overall cost, what materials you can use, and how much of the roof is visible from the street.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.