You need to hang Christmas lights but you don’t have gutters along a portion of your roof. No worries. There are multiple options to hang lights on just about every roof type when you don’t have gutters to clip them onto.
Standard Safety disclaimer: exercise proper ladder and roof safety at all times. If you aren’t sure about how to safely get to the height or you’re uncomfortable doing so, get professional help. Related article: Can you lean a ladder against a gutter?
(Some of the below links are affiliate links which means I get paid a bit if you click through and buy something — it doesn’t add anything to your cost! Just helps keep the lights on.)
How to Hang Christmas Lights on Gutters with Gutter Guards
Can I staple Christmas lights to my roof?
Do not ever staple anything through your shingles. While you can staple lights to a wall under your roof or under an overhang, you should only be stapling into wood and NEVER on or through shingles.
The whole point of shingles is to keep water out – which they can’t do if you start stapling holes into them. You should also avoid stapling to the fascia board (that’s the vertical board right under the roofline where gutters are attached).
Can you put Christmas light clips under shingles?
Yes, shingles are designed to be able to be pulled up a bit. There are multiple designs and many options of clips. Some clips are hybrid and work on both shingles and gutters while others are only for shingles.
NOTE: Only lift the shingles just enough to wedge the clips in – if you pull it up too far you might break the sealant that is attaching the shingle to the roof.
That said, if you CAN attach your lights to gutters or eaves, it’s probably better to do that instead given the small risk of damage. The less wear you cause on your shingles the better, but really it’s not much of a worry. Just if you have a choice between gutters and eaves vs shingles, go for gutters/eaves.
Hanging Christmas Lights from a Shingle Roof
The most likely solution is to use plastic clips and there are an array of clip options: hooks, clips that clip on to individual bulbs, clips that clip on to the cord, roof peak, etc.
This is an omni clip – it works across shingles and gutters – and it’s a very budget-friendly option. This one fits C5, C6, C7, C9, mini, and icicle lights and comes in either packs of 400 or 100. Just lift the shingle up slightly and slide the flat part underneath. Note that if lights will point in different directions depending on if you attach it to a gutter or a shingle: up if it’s on a shingle, out (parallel to the ground) if on a gutter.
When they’re attached to the shingle it’s really easy to uninstall by just pulling them straight out from the roof.
This is another very similar option.
Key considerations when buying Christmas Light clips
- Match the type of clip to the type of bulb you have (common ones being incandescent which might be C9, C6, icicle, LED, etc)
- Match the type of clip to the location they will be attached and the method of attachment
- Put a clip on every bulb whenever possible
- After calculating how much of everything you’ll need, add an extra 10% to your order. These clips are generally quite inexpensive so having a little extra won’t hurt. Some might break, you might need a few more than you thought or they’ll wear out in the future if you use them across multiple years. This goes for the light strands, extension cords, and bulbs as well.
Other options for attaching Christmas lights to various surfaces
As a last resort if you’ve got a wood surface, you can use a staple gun, but make sure it’s not commercial quality so that it doesn’t damage the wood, and use half-inch staples so they don’t go too far into the wood. You’ll want to have some pliers on hand to remove any badly placed staples – it’s easy to tug them out. Here’s one light-duty staple gun option.
Magnetic Christmas lights. I’ve never tried these myself, but https://litenetics.com/ makes Christmas light strands that have magnets built-in on all of the lights which makes for easy attachment to metal surfaces and rooves.
Or you can try these magnetic clips.
Here is another more DIY option for attaching to metal using magnetic clips:
Due to the cost of these, it might get a bit steep to hang a lot of lights directly off of bricks, but if you have a few key spots where you’d like to hang lights off of brick, this clip could be a good option. Note: your bricks have to be either 2 and ⅛ or 2.5 Inches high in order for these clips to work AND they have to stick out at least ⅛ of an inch out from the mortar.
Decks, Eaves or Fascia board:
These clips work to attach to boards that are between ½ and inch and 2 inches: Clips for wood boards.
Clay tile roof
These clips for clay tile roofs have a wider space on the clip to accommodate a thick tile while also having teeth on the clip that latch on to clay and cement tile roofs.
Clips for peak/ridge of roof
If you want to run your lights directly down the peak of your roof and you have shingles, these will do the trick. Your lights will stick straight up – perpendicular to the ground.
Hanging under soffits
This is a pretty innovative and reusable way to hang your lights under soffits – assuming you can get through the pretty time-consuming and somewhat difficult build process:
If you are going to hang lights, I highly recommend watching this video first which gives a great overview of the entire process: