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You heard it here on Rosie on the House. You know what wreaks havoc on roofs? Reindeer. Kidding aside there is a lot of activity happening on your roof these days. With Christmas just a few short weeks away, now is the time to start hanging up holiday lights all around your home. Why not knock out two birds with one stone and also look for some telltale signs of a potential roof problem while you are up there? Even the best maintained rooftops need some maintenance and help now and then.

Here are a few things to look for while hanging your Christmas lights:

Missing shingles:

The shingles on your residential roof should be uniform and in a predictable pattern. While hanging your Christmas lights, look for a break in the pattern that catches your eye, which could prove to be a missing shingle. Just one missing shingle could be a problem, especially if it indicates where your roof has been damaged, perhaps in a windstorm.

Cracked tiles:

Heavy blows from something tossed by the wind can easily crack the tiles of your rooftop. In the deserts of Arizona, strong windstorms are not uncommon during certain seasons. A bad crack could cause a leak whenever it rains, further damaging your home. Keep an eye open for cracks while working on holiday decorations.

Exposed foam:

Many flat-topped homes are using sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) as roofing material. It provides an energy efficient option for insulation and ample protection from the weather and powerful sunlight. However, no roofing material is perfect. The foam of your roof should not be openly exposed but instead covered by strong top coats. If you see some foam sticking out of your roof while working on Christmas lights, it is a problem.

Damaged ventilation:

Rooftops of any kind will often have some sort of ventilation system. It could be simple rectangular grates at the end of vents, or possible spinning metal turbines. Damage should be easy to see on ventilation, as it often comes in the form of dents and bent grating.


Your rooftop should not have any unexplained dips and indentations. If you see one while working on holiday lights, make a note of it but try to steer clear of it. The dent could be where the roof has weakened, which could possibly break under foot.

Five smart hints for Christmas light hanging that is roof-friendly:

1 | Secure hang points:

A surefire way to damage your roof is trying to secure and hang Christmas lights off spots that are not rated to hold any weight or take the force of a hammer driving in a nail. Do not try to use shingles or tiling to hang lights, and test out the durability of any wood before you really get to work on it. If you are not putting up too much lighting, you might be able to get away with just using a staple gun, which should be relatively safe for use on wood trimming.

2 | Tread softly:

When or if you need to actually walk atop your roof, please do so carefully, do not rush, and do not take heavy steps. Some rooftops are not boot-friendly at all, especially pitched residential roofs, and could be crushed or damaged readily when you walk up there. When you are not sure if it is safe to walk on your roof, then it is not. Find an alternative method to hang your lights that does not require endangering your health.

3 | Ladder safety:

The right ladder height for your Christmas light hanging job is crucial. Trying to overextend yourself to hang up lights will not only risk a fall but could also mean you are grabbing onto the roof for balance. This may possibly lead to roof damage if you slip or put too much weight on one spot. You should also always have a friend or family member hold onto any ladder that is leaning against a building.

4 | Careful removal:

As tempting as it might be to just yank your Christmas lights down by a loose end when the holiday season passes, do not. Forcing your light string down can rip tiles, shingles, and chunks of wood right out of place. When it comes time to remove your decorations, do so with as much carefulness as you used to put them up.

5 | If you find roof damage while hanging lights:

Call the roofing experts at Lyons Roofing. Lyons Roofing has been providing award winning service to Arizona home and business owners since 1993.


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