Hang Holiday Lights like a Professional

December 1, 2015

a house decorated with hanging holiday lights

With the holiday season fast approaching, you’ll likely start noticing neighbours and local shopfronts hanging lights and decorating their roofs and windows.

Have you always admired these bright and colourful displays but been a little unsure about exactly how to go about it? Rigging up hundreds of lights on your roof is no small feat when you think about it!

If you’re new to the light-hanging game, there are a number of secrets we can let you in on to help you out – consider it our Christmas gift to you.

Plan Ahead – Get Prepping

One of the best tips is to plan ahead – just because the lights go up in December doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to get organised. Doing some prep work before you actually start hanging will make the whole process much easier and less stressful.

You can get much of the preparation done, such as running extension cords, installing hooks and hangers, and so forth before the main event.

When buying your lights, opt for shorter rather than longer light strings. That way, if a string stops working, you can replace it more easily and affordably. Light strings that have a male plug at one end and a female plug at the other end are best for connecting together from end to end.

Check Your Lights – Testing 1,2,3…

It’s also smart to check your Christmas lights before it’s time to hang them. Pull them out of storage and check them to make sure they’re functional. This way you will have plenty of time to make repairs and a shopping list for replacements and other supplies.

Test the lights. Before you plug them in, visually inspect the light strings, looking for broken or missing bulbs and worn or defective wiring. If you discover faulty wires, replace the string entirely as this could present a fire hazard. If bulbs are broken or missing, replace them.

Map Out Your Plan of Attack

Map out where your lights will go and make sure you have enough working lights for that area. Use a long tape measure to figure the number of strands you will need. Remember, before hanging any lights, plug them in to make sure they work.

Get Hanging

Now you can start the actual hanging process.

Extension ladders are your best option for this. Place the ladder firmly on flat ground and, extending it well above the eaves, lean it against the eaves at an angle that will be comfortable and safe to climb.

A good safety tip - if you must lean the ladder against the gutter, place a short piece of 2 by 4 wood inside the gutter to reinforce it.

Hang the lights along the eaves. Your objective is to hang lights as easily and safely as possible without damaging anything. For attaching lights along gutters or the roof, use plastic clips specially made for the job, available at hardware stores or home centres – these grip onto your gutters and have a lower hook that holds a light strand or extension cord.

Don’t ever use nails to hang light strings - they can pierce or wear away the protective insulation, creating an electrical hazard.

Hopefully these tips make you feel more confident and comfortable about getting onto the roof and into the Christmas spirit. At least here in Perth, you won’t need to worry about slipping on a snowy roof – but you may want to add some fake snow of your own!