How to Hang Christmas Lights Without Gutters (Safely!)
It’s tricky and even dangerous to hang Christmas lights without gutters. But with the right information, it’s possible to create beautiful displays on any exterior roofline. If your home lacks gutters, don’t worry. Follow our tips to safely decorate with holiday lights.
Table of Contents
- Why Hang Christmas Lights Without Gutters?
- How to Decorate Your Roofline Without Gutters
- How to Hang Christmas Lights Without Gutters Safely!
- Avoid Damaging Your Roof
- Final Thoughts
- Related Resources
- Need More Help?
Why Hang Christmas Lights Without Gutters?
Attaching light strands along the roofline and gutters is the most common way to decorate the exterior of a home. Outlining the roof and illuminating the gutters creates a beautiful display.
However, not every home actually has gutters installed. Some newer homes utilize alternative drainage systems that don’t require gutters. Other households have gutters that are too difficult to access or aren’t sturdy enough to hold lights.
If you don’t have usable gutters but still want to festively decorate with exterior Christmas lights, there are great alternatives. With a little ingenuity and effort, you can design stunning light displays without relying on gutters.
How to Decorate Your Roofline Without Gutters
When gutters aren’t an option, here are some of the best and safest ways to hang exterior holiday lights:
1. Use Clips, Hooks, or Cable Ties
There are now many types of clips, hooks, and plastic cable ties designed specifically for attaching lights along a roofline or under eaves. These allow you to securely hang lights from the fascia or underside of the roof itself without gutters.
- Clips: These plastic or metal clips wrap around the roof edge or fascia board. They have a hook or channel to hang lights from and clip tightly without damaging the trim. There are even some that attach using magnets or get screwed in.
- Hooks: Adhesive hooks or hooks that screw into the fascia board create attachment points for hanging light strands. Look for hooks made specifically for Christmas lights.
- Cable ties: Heavy duty plastic zip ties can wrap around fascia boards or roof edges to hold strings of lights in place.
Pro Tip: Only use clips, hooks, and ties that are rated for outdoor use. Make sure they are the proper size and strength for the weight of your lights.
2. Rope Lighting
Rope lights are ideal for outlining rooflines and eaves. The flexible, string light strands can contour along any architectural detail. Use clips or hooks to attach rope lighting neatly along the roof. For lighter strands, Command-brand strip clips (from 3M) can attach rope lights without nails or screws.
3. Wrap Trees, Plants, Railings, and Columns
Instead of decorating an inaccessible roofline, put lights on other exterior features. Wrapping trees, railing posts, columns, and other decorative elements creates a beautiful glittering display. Also consider wrapping ground-level architectural features.
Make sure to use sturdy clips, ties, or hooks to safely attach stringed or individual lights regardless of where they’re placed.
4. Use Light Projectors
Of course, there’s no need to hang lights if you can project holiday images onto your house. Projectors placed in strategic spots can blast light displays onto exterior walls, fences, or garage doors.
Just be careful of what you buy; many of these systems just end up looking tacky and lack the tradition your neighbors and passers-by love.
5. Illuminate Walkways and Gardens
Light up pathways, landscape features and gardens to add twinkling ambiance. Lining walkways with spotlights guides guests. Wrapping trees, bushes, and flower beds with string lights adds magical charm. Place decorative illuminated features throughout the yard.
How to Hang Christmas Lights Without Gutters Safely!
According to data from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Christmas decorations sent over 14,000 people to the emergency room in 2017 alone. In fact, during the 10-year period between 2008 and 2017, it is estimated that more than 134,000 patients were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to holiday decorating accidents.
Here are some useful tips to safely and effectively hang Christmas lights along your roofline without gutters:
- Check that roof edges, fascias, eaves and mounting surfaces are in good condition and able to support light strands. Look for any weak points.
- Use plastic clips with extended hooks to hang lights well below roof edges and clear of overhangs. This prevents lights from pulling loose.
- Allow extra length for rope light strands to account for twisting around roof curves and angles.
- Position clips, hooks, or ties close together – no more than 12 inches apart – to prevent sagging or loose lights.
- Ensure all electrical cords remain securely clear of roof edges. Use plastic cord clips as needed to attach cords tightly.
- Follow all local regulations regarding exterior lighting and displays, especially for multi-residence buildings.
- Check that all clips, hooks, ties, and lights are rated for outdoor use and wintery weather. Use quality materials.
- Make sure roof edges, overhangs, and gutters are free of debris. Clean them so lights can hang smoothly.
- Use a sturdy ladder and enlist help to safely access high or hard to reach roof areas. Prioritize safety.
Avoid Damaging Your Roof
When decorating your home’s exterior with Christmas lights, it’s important to avoid causing any damage to the roof. Here are some tips:
- Only use attachment devices like clips and hooks that are designed for hanging lights and will not penetrate or scratch the roof surface. Adhesive hooks often work well.
- Check for any cracked or missing shingles and avoid attaching lights over those areas.
- Distribute the light strands evenly over attachment points. Do not concentrate too much weight in one area.
- Place a piece of plywood over attachment points along the roof to disperse the pressure before stepping on the roof.
- Wear soft-soled shoes to avoid denting or scratching the roof if you need to climb onto it.
- Do not puncture electrical cords or decoration power cables into the roof surface. Run cords safely down to electrical outlets.
- Check that your roof is in good overall condition before installing lights yourself. Fix any issues ahead of time.
- Consider hiring a professional installer who is experienced at safely decorating rooflines with lights. They have the right equipment to safely access and work on roofs.
When it comes to uplighting your house, the expertise, creativity, and technical skills that a professional offers will make a significant difference. And the liability for any safety issues or damages will be on them!
If you decide to hang lights yourself, make sure to strictly follow our safety tips. And while you’re at it, make sure your health insurance is up to date.
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Need More Help?
Need an expert to safely, and without damage, hang and remove your lights this Christmas? Just contact American Landscapes here for a free, no-obligation estimate. Or call us at (513) 947-8727.
You can also learn more about our lawn care applications and treatments, landscaping, and outdoor lighting services by reading our blog. In addition to fertilizer and weed control, we provide mosquito control, lawn aeration, lawn seeding, and much more.