While we would be more than happy to replace your old, worn-out gutters with a new rain gutter installation, we would hate for you to need our services because you inadvertently damaged your gutters hanging up Christmas lights. Unfortunately, we see this sort of thing every year during late winter.
Gutters are a fantastic location for hanging Christmas lights. They are easy to access, offer a nice way to completely outline your home in lights, and can usually support the weight. But utilizing your gutters for Christmas decorations can be problematic if you don't know what you're doing. To head off any disasters, we have put together a list of safety tips below.
The first and more important tip is to not overload your gutters with too much weight. They were designed to handle the weight of anormal rainfall along with a little bit of debris and perhaps some rain gutter coverings. They were not intended to support the weight of the heaviest Christmas decorations.
Check your gutters to verify they are still attached firmly to the house. There should be no sagging. As long as that's the case, a single string of lights shouldn't be an issue. Do not ever hang heavy objects from the gutters. If you have anything heavy, put it on a steak or hang it from a tree.
In the old days, homeowners would attach Christmas lights to their gutters using screws and hooks. Don't do that. Drilling holes in the gutters can reduce their integrity. Screws exposed to the weather can rust, leaving unsightly stains. If the corrosion is significant enough, the screw scan even fall out.
Your best bet is to use plastic gutter clips. You can find them dirt cheap online or at your local DIY hardware store. The best thing about plastic clips is that they don't require any drilling or screws. They fit right over the top of the gutter.
There are certain types of plastic gutter clips that you can leave in place year-round. That means you only need to get up on the ladder once. You can use a pole with a notch on the end to take lights down at the end of the season, then use that same pole to put them back up the following year.
Whenever you get up on the ladder, be sure to practice proper ladder safety. Check the ladder's integrity before you set it up. Also make sure you have solid ground underneath you. If you can enlist a family member to hold the ladder while you work, all the better.
Finally, we always take the time to plan a new gutter installation before getting started. We recommend you do the same thing for your Christmas lights. Determine ahead of time what you will string and where you are going to string it. Make sure you have all the materials you need to do the job right.
Otherwise, you may discover that flying by the seat of your pants leaves you having to improvise. That's not good for either your Christmas light installation or your safety. Plan your installation first and you will be much better off for it.
Go ahead and use your rain gutters to hang Christmas lights. They might as well serve some purpose when it's not raining. Just go slow, take your time, and make sure to use the right materials. Your gutters should work just fine as Christmas light hosts, provided they are in good condition.