Holiday lights: hang 'em high!
November 5, 2009 2:58 PM   Subscribe

How can I conveniently and safely affix a string of Christmas lights to the edge of a second-story roof?

Halloween's over, and it's officially time to start planning holiday decorations, hurray! My challenge this year: to get a string of lights (preferably icicle, but standard C4s in a pinch) hung along the eave of a ~22'-high roof.

It sounds simple, but the roof is really too high and treacherous to go with the standard plastic light clips that have to be manually stuck on and pulled off the gutter every season. I think I could probably make it up there once, to install whatever hanging hardware may be necessary, but after that the lights will have to be hangable from the ground exclusively.

My current thought is to screw metal hooks into the underside of the eaves, then hoist a string of lights onto the hooks using a tall pole of some sort-- but without any way to close the hooks, I worry that the lights might blow down in a gusty wind. Ideally, there'd be some more secure way to make sure the lights stay attached, but can still be hung and removed easily by someone reaching out a window or standing on the ground.

So what might be some clever alternatives for hanging long strings of lights across high places? Has anyone had any success with pulley/clothesline-type apparatuses? Or with these dodgy-looking lighting tracks? Any other bright ideas?

--There's a small dormer in the middle of the roofline which it'd be nice to outline as well, although in theory the lights could be strung straight across that.
--The gutter is also accessible at wide intervals from second-story windows, as shown in this crude drawing.

Any and all suggestions welcome-- thanks!
posted by Bardolph to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I know someone who rents a scissor lift every year to do his lights. He does the neighbors' lights at the same time, and is consequently a really popular guy around that time of the year. :) If cost is a concern, maybe your neighbors would chip in a bit for the rental fee if you offered to help with theirs?
posted by brain at 3:41 PM on November 5, 2009

My dad was always up the ladder, then down the ladder. Move the ladder, up the ladder, ad nauseum. He is 6'5" and has really long arms, and I remember watching and being amazed at how many lights he could put up without moving the ladder.
posted by nosila at 4:11 PM on November 5, 2009

Best answer: We moved in and had hooks already up. They're simple, small metal hooks, like the kind you would barely hang keys off of. They're about 3 feet apart, and there's one at the top of the eave.

We have a very long pole, the type used for changing light-bulbs in vaulted ceilings. It extends to what has to be almost 25', and at the end of it, we attached this white piece of metal, flat but with a groove at the end of it, which is great for holding the lights just long enough to place them over the hook. The hooks aren't closed but that's never, ever a problem--the opening isn't terribly large and the lights are pulled rather taut.
posted by disillusioned at 4:59 PM on November 5, 2009

Best answer: I just saw a commercial for the Command adhesive line. They now have little clear hooks for hanging lights.

Short of leaving the lights up all year, there really isn't a device for stringing lights that I know of that doesn't involve climbing up and down a ladder.

But I do know a good patent attorney if you create one!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2009

Best answer: Cup hooks are the standard hardware for hanging Xmas lights.
posted by electroboy at 6:29 AM on November 6, 2009

Response by poster: Just popping back with an update: I did buy some cup hooks, but ultimately chickened out of the ladder-work that would have been required to install them. Instead, I got some industrial-strength Velcro with a sticky back, and used bits of that to hang the lights, with the aid of one of those 18-foot telescoping extension poles. It wasn't easy on my arms or on my marriage, but we did get the lights hung securely, and with everything in place I'm hoping the installation will be much easier next year. Just in case anyone else is crazy enough to try this method, do note that it's of critical importance to measure your Velcro intervals very carefully, so that the Velcro on the lightstring match up correctly with the Velcro on the eaves. Thanks for the advice, everyone!
posted by Bardolph at 7:58 PM on January 12, 2010

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