While we are busy making our homes look like a winter wonderland, we often overlook the potential damage our Christmas decorations can cause to our roofs. Here are some common causes of roof damage due to holiday decorations and, more importantly, how to prevent them.
Common Cause of Roof Damage
The Weight of Decorations
Every year, I am amazed at the creativity of some of my neighbor’s holiday displays. But with every additional strand of lights or oversized inflatable Santa, there is added weight on the roof. Overburdening the roof can lead to structural issues, especially if your roof already has underlying problems. It is easy to forget that our roofs have a weight limit, and while they are designed to handle a good amount, they are not meant for the extra load of heavy decorations.
Walking on the Roof
I must admit, there is something special about being on my roof, setting up decorations, and looking at the world from a different perspective. But every step we take can potentially damage shingles or other roofing materials. Even if we are careful, repeated pressure and movement can weaken the roof’s structure, which can lead to leaks or damage in the future.
Nails, Staples, and Holes
I have been guilty of this one. To ensure that my holiday decorations stay in place, I have used nails or staples to secure them. But each hole I make is a potential entry point for water. Over time, even the tiniest of holes can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural issues. It is a mistake I had to learn the hard way. I now use different methods to hang Christmas lights on the roof peak.
Water Traps from Decorations
Some decorations, especially the larger ones, can trap water against the roof. This water can seep into cracks, freeze, and expand, causing even more damage. I remember one year when a giant inflatable snowman caused a mini pool on my roof. It was a nightmare to fix the damage, and it taught me always to consider where water might collect when placing decorations.
Preventing the Damage
Now that we I have looked at some potential pitfalls, let’s focus on prevention because the holiday season should be about joy, not roof repairs.
Choose Lightweight Decorations
Lightweight decorations are easy to set up and reduce the strain on the roof. LED lights, for instance, are a fantastic alternative to traditional heavy lights. They are brighter, consume less energy, and are much lighter.
Limit Roof Traffic
If possible, set up your decorations from a ladder or use tools to reach the roof without stepping on it. The less we walk on our roofs, the better. And always remember, safety first. If you must get on the roof, wear appropriate footwear and be cautious.
Use Damage-Free Hanging Methods
There are plenty of alternatives to nails and staples. I have found these self-adhesive light clips and plastic hooks to be lifesavers. They are strong enough to hold decorations in place and don’t damage the roof. It is a win-win in my book.
Regular Roof Maintenance
This might sound like a no-brainer, but regular roof check-ups, especially before the decorating season, can save a lot of headaches. By ensuring that our roofs are in good condition, we reduce the risk of decorations exacerbating existing issues.