This time of year many of our homeowners decorating for the holidays it is important to remember climbing up on a ladder always comes with risks. Any emergency room worker will be able to tell you when the holiday season starts by how many ladder injuries hobble through their automatic doors.
We wanted to put together some tips to make sure you are safe this holiday season and to make sure you don’t need to call us to repair any damage decorating causes your roof or gutters.
Preparing for Holiday Decorating
Before heading up a ladder it is important to check the strands of lights to make sure there are no punctures in any of the wires, or missing bulbs. Plug in the lights on the ground to see if you need to replace any bulbs. Unplug lights before hanging, it is much easier for the lights to snag when attached to your house. It is vital that you never use indoor lights outdoors, only hang outdoor lights on the exterior of your home.
Measure out the area you want decorated to be sure that you have enough lights for the job and that your outdoor outlet can handle the wattage needed. This blog has a great string light calculator, the wattage of your lights and the limit of how many strands can be strung together should be listed on the box. If you need to use an extension cord, please do so safely, do not attach multiple extension cords and always use an outdoor extension cord for your outdoor lights.
Here’s a link to a ladder safety blog we made to help you choose which type of ladder is best for the height of decorating you are doing. If you are using gutter or shingle hooks for lights we can’t recommend enough using a tool belt or a ladder tray to hold them, trying to get the hooks out of a pocket, having someone hand you them from the ground, or bringing a handful up the ladder with you is not recommended. No one wants an emergency room bill especially near the holidays.
It is important to never puncture your roof shingles, no matter how small, this could damage the membrane underneath and expose your underlayer to water damage that might not be noticeable until spring. The same applies to puncturing or denting your gutters, debris can backup in dented gutters causing water seepage into the roof or down the side of your house.
The best way to attach lights to roof shingles without causing damage is to use shingle hooks, this blog from IKO goes through different types of light hanging hooks available. Same applies for gutters, there are different types of gutter hooks depending on what type of lights you are using and the overall look you are going for. Stay away from power lines and do not place lights on vents or your chimney.
What Does Roof Damage Look Like?
While you are up at your roof line, it is a great time to spot any damage to your roof or gutters.
The easiest trouble spots to identify are missing or damaged shingles, or damaged flashing. Flashing is the metal around any vents, skylights or chimney. If the flashing looks curled, rusted or corroded, that’s a sign of damage.
Harder to spot roof damage can include darker or sagging sections of your roof, do not put any weight on these areas as they can give way. If you notice any damage call a roofing company, any reputable roofing company will come out and do an inspection for free. You do not want any of these signs of damage to go unchecked for the winter.
What Does Gutter Damage Look Like?
If there is any standing water in the gutters, even if it is just in one section, this means water is not properly moving along your gutters. Any sagging, pulling away from the house or loose gutters are a sign that they need to be repaired. If any noticeable cracking at the foundation could also be a sign that your gutters are not properly draining water away from your home.
How to Attach Inflatable Decorations to Your Roof
All inflatable decorations need to be weighed down and tied down with your local weather in mind. High winds or storms can easily blow the inflatable decorations off your roof and if secured to anything not properly attached to your house, could also remove the anchor you’ve tied them to. It is extremely important to keep inflatable decorations far away from powerlines because there is a longer range in which they can detach from your roof.