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Thanksgiving is officially over, December 1st has come and gone, and there’s Christmas music playing on the radio non-stop. That means it’s time to decorate, right?

Right!

If you’re planning on putting up lights and decorations on the outside of your home, there are a few things to know before you start. Installing them incorrectly can damage your roof and gutters and, in turn, put a serious damper on your holiday festivities.

First things first– just say NO to nails!

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to try and make things “stay” by securing them to their roof with nails. Nailing things to your roof ensures one thing and one thing only; you’ll have holes in your shingles that can allow water to seep in and potentially cause serious damage. Instead, there are special clips that are made specifically for hanging lights on your roof. It might be an added expense you weren’t planning on, but we’re relatively certain that the cost of lighting clips is less than that of a new roof.

In regards to the clips, it’s important to make sure you’re using them correctly.

Most of the time, these clips are designed to attach to your gutters. This is totally fine unless you’re adding to much weight to them, which can potentially damage your gutters. Read the instructions so that you know how to use them correctly.

Have a chimney? Be extra careful around it!

Over the last decade, there has been an uptick in the amount of inflatable decorations that people use on their roofs. These types of decorations are A-OK as long as you’re not getting them too close to your chimney or flue. The last thing you want is a big gust of wind coming along and toppling your larger-than-life blow-up Santa right into your chimney and catching fire.

Also, be on the lookout for other roof-level items that your decorations could possibly come into contact with, like satellite dishes, antennae, and power lines. Never place decorations over roof vents. Those vents are there for a reason…do not block them!

When everything is all said and done and it’s time to take all the decorations down, do so with extreme care. Although it might be tempting to simply grab and end and pull, doing so can cause damage. If it took your four hours to put the decorations up, remember it’s quite possible that it will take the same amount of time to take them down.