How to Make Amazing Christmas Rooftop Displays
With Christmas time soon upon us, you’ve probably considered putting up decorations or have at least seen some early outdoor displays in your local area. Despite requiring some effort and time, Christmas displays are a fun way of embracing the festive season and can be a rewarding endeavour - particularly if your display stops passers-by in their tracks. To ensure your display is the best it can be, we’ve compiled some examples and useful things to consider before getting underway.
Prepare and plan
Before bringing on the envy of your neighbours with a dazzling rooftop display, you’ll first need to make some basic preparations. Start by determining where you want to hang your decorations and also whether or not it is feasible, will you need roof restoration before going further? You don't want to damage your roof or your roof might already be damaged and putting up christmas decorations will further destroy its integrity leading to roof replacement. Lights may be strung from rooflines, gutters and tiles, but be wary that different surfaces require different light clips for attachments. Likewise, the width of your roof’s surfaces will also have a bearing on the size of the clips you’ll need. You’ll also need to determine where your available power sources are located, as this will have a significant bearing on where your displays will go and/or how many you can support. While many modern homes have outdoor power sources, older properties may need to utilise their indoor sources. You may also want to play your rooftop lights to co-ordinate with music. Plan the timing so it fits just right, this neighbourhood shows how music can make this difference to an amazing display:
Once your initial preparations are taken care of, start measuring the area your display will cover. Work around the perimeter of your house by rounding turns and corners as you go. If you wish to light doorframes, alcoves and windows, measure these separately as separate displays will look neater and generally be easier to hang, too. Moreover, if you plan on decorating a chimney or peaked areas of your rooftop, be sure that you can scale your rooftop safely and reliably, as a ladder alone might not get you to those harder-to-reach places. Lastly, remember to consider the distance from your power sources when calculating your final measurements. Here is a wonderful example of homes that incorporate other parts in their display:
Purchasing your display
Christmas lights come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, ranging from simple stringers to more complex imagery. If your display is in the likeness of something (for example, a snowman), then you’ll need to display it over a wide enough area and at an appropriate angle for it to be effectively seen. Choosing a display and colour scheme for your rooftop should be fun and expressive, so don’t be scared to get creative. A simple but effective choice could be alternating red and green lights to fit the Christmas vibe.
If you feel overwhelmed, C7 and C9 are the most common bulbs and thus are a good starting point. Also, be sure to purchase timers and controllers if you want your display to activate independently at pre-determined times.
Brad's Christmas Lights, located in Bracken Ridge right here in Brisbane, show how it can take hundreds of hours to plan & build elements:
Determine power output required
Whilst making your purchase, you must also determine how much power is needed to light your display, lest your risk shorting a circuit or blowing a fuse (not to mention undoing all the hard work that goes into hanging your decorations). To determine how much power is needed, multiply the wattage of each bulb per string, then divide by 120 to obtain the number of amps you’ll need overall. If the figure you obtain is lower than the rating of your wire, you’ll need to upgrade to a display with a higher wire rating.
Imagine how much it takes to power entire neighbourhoods' light displays:
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