Thanksgiving is approaching quickly, and for many of us, that means it’s nearly time to haul those boxes of holiday lights from the attic. Before you get swept up in the excitement, though, here are a few tips on how to hang holiday outdoor lights safely and efficiently:
DECIDE WHERE TO PLACE LIGHTS
Before you purchase and hang your holiday lights, it’s a good idea to decide exactly where you’ll be putting them. A well-thought-out display will save you time and perhaps even money, as you’ll be less likely to buy too many (or too few) light strands.
Popular places for hanging festive lights include posts and pillars, around doors and windows, along the roofline, and adorning trees, bushes, and hedges.
CHOOSE A HANGING SURFACE
Holiday lights can be affixed to your home by attaching them to your gutters or roofing shingles. Check the thickness of your shingles and the design of your gutters before deciding which would better support your holiday lighting.
Consider using light clips instead of messy-looking staples or clothespins when you’re ready to hang your lights. Inexpensive and simple to use, light clips are easy to remove at the end of the season and can be reused.
CHOOSE A FOCAL POINT
Without a focal point to attract the eye, a holiday light display can end up looking haphazard and even messy. There’s no point investing your time and money in a display that’s visually overwhelming or hard to look at.
The more lights you use, the more important it is you choose a good focal point. A home’s front door makes an excellent focal point, as do pillars, trees, and shrubs.
Once you’ve chosen your focal point, begin decorating there first and work outward as you build your holiday light display.
Knowing how many strands of lights you’ll need to make your decorating project a reality isn’t always a simple matter. Holiday decorating isn’t an exact science, but measuring any straight lines you’ll be lighting can give you a good idea of how many lights you’ll need.
When it comes to decorating shrubs and trees, the number of lights to use is largely a matter of personal taste. Experts suggest using one hundred lights for every foot and one-half of a tree or shrub is a good rule of thumb.
Light Nets are another option to consider when decorating shrubs. Woven strands of holiday lights, Light Nets are designed to be draped over hedges, trees, or shrubs.
INSPECT YOUR LIGHTS
Now you’ve decided where to hang your lights, you’ve chosen a focal point for your holiday display, and you’ve measured to get an idea of how many strands of lights you’ll need. You’re almost there, but don’t go climbing any ladders just yet…
Before you begin hanging, be sure to inspect every strand of lights you’ll be using. Check for any fraying of the wires, especially near or around plugs. Keep in mind that a single faulty strand of lights can affect or even damage your entire holiday display.
Never use anything but UL-approved extension cords rated for outdoor use to power your display.
Once you’ve checked to make sure all your lights work and that the wiring is intact, you’ll want to double-check the color of your lights. The color of holiday lights can vary by manufacturer and also by the type of bulb used. For example, white LED holiday lights produce a slightly bluish tint, whereas traditional incandescent bulbs burn with an orange tint.
Choosing between incandescent and LED lights is largely a matter of preference, though LED lights are more energy-efficient and less likely to overheat.
There are many sizes and types of holiday lights, and part of the fun in creating a display is incorporating these different elements. To create beautiful, eye-catching displays, group like styles of lighting together.
HANGING YOUR HOLIDAY LIGHTS
Now that you’re done with the preliminaries, it’s time to hang those lights. Whether your goal is a tasteful, minimalist design or a holiday tableau that’ll be visible from the International Space Station, hanging out lights safely should always be your first consideration.
When it comes to hanging lights safely, a helper is always recommended. It’s never a bad idea to have someone handy to steady your ladder, hand up clips, and keep strands of lights from becoming tangled and even broken as you work.
Using light clips, attach your holiday lights to your roof or gutter. Remember, as you work, to begin at your focal point and build outward from there.
You’ve done all the work; now’s the time to gather the family, friends, and neighbors for the inaugural lighting.
Decorating your home and yard for the holiday season can be fun and rewarding. Savvy homeowners know that it’s also an excellent opportunity to check the condition of their gutters. While you’re right there hanging your lights, why not check the state of your gutters and clear them if necessary? Doing so can save a lot of wear and tear on your roof over the winter months and beyond.
To learn more about gutter and roof maintenance, or for more helpful tips on how to maintain your roof, contact a trusted roofing company like Southpaw Roofing, or visit Southpaw online now.