Living Smart: How to hang Christmas lights on your garage door

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

When hanging holiday lights around your garage door, stay safe and protect your home by using hooks and clips designed for the task. Follow basic safety tips for a worry-free holiday.

Donít staple or nail to the trim

If you plan to attach lights directly to the trim, avoid using metal fasteners like staples or nails. They can damage insulation around the wiring, which can cause lights to fail and pose a fire and electrocution hazard.

Instead of attaching lights to the trim, use hooks and clips where the lights will hang. Gutter and roof clips that are either pressed or nailed to the exterior of the home, not the trim, have a hook at the bottom that holds the string.

Clips for vertical lights

For lights hung vertically ó along the sides of garage doors, for instance ó look for trim clips that wrap around the cord and hold it in place. You can nail them in or attach them with an adhesive. Nailed clips are usually more secure.

Space the clips about one foot apart. If you have an elaborate design above the garage, consider hanging lights from the top down. Otherwise, begin on one side of the garage and work your way around.

Safety ideas for Christmas lights

Enlist a helper to hold the string of lights and keep it untangled. Place the cord in the hook or clip securely, making sure thereís no potential for damaging the insulation or bulbs. Experts recommend connecting no more than three strings of lights end-to-end.

Once the lights are hung, plug them in and enjoy your hard work. If a string does not work, check the bulbs again and make sure strings are connected securely.

Donít use nail-in hooks on garage door

Donít try to attach nail-in hooks to the garage door panels. This will damage the panel and wonít hold the lights very well. If you do damage a panel while hanging lights, look for a company that repairs single panels.

Consider a professional or handyman

Too much work? Consider hiring a professional holiday decorator to make you garage door, entryway and other areas of your home more festive. Or look into having a handyman put up your decorations.