How Do You Hang Christmas Lights Around Garage Doors?

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In our neighborhood, nobody wants to be the homeowner with the sad-looking house during Christmas.

No matter which way your garage faces, it’s a perfect place to add a little flair to your holiday decorations.

But how do you hang Christmas lights around garage doors without damaging your house?

You need to use the right hooks and clips to hang Christmas lights on a garage door to make the process as easy as possible while ensuring you don’t damage your garage door.

The rest of the article will discuss the process in more detail.

How to hang Christmas lights on your garage

How to Hang Christmas Lights Around Garage Doors

To get started hanging your Christmas lights, it depends on whether you’re re-using old lights or starting from scratch with a new set.

Unpack Your Old Christmas Lights

The secret to making installing garage door Christmas lights easy is storing your Christmas lights properly the previous year. 

Nothing is worse than unpacking your lights and decorations and spending an hour trying to untangle them. 

Assuming you’ve stored them properly, it’s a good idea to stretch them out on your garage floor and plug them in to confirm that all the bulbs still work. 

I can’t tell you how often I’ve strung up lights on my house or Christmas tree only to find that one section didn’t work. Lesson learned.

If you do find a faulty strand of lights, replace it immediately. 

Frayed, cut, or burnt wires are a fire hazard. If you have a strand of lights with individual burnt bulbs, you can replace them with LED lights. 

LED lights work in temperatures well below freezing, so they’re perfect in most climates.

You should also avoid attaching too many lights together. Instead, arrange the lights so that only three strands are connected.

Buy a New Set of Christmas Lights

If you still need to get garage door Christmas lights, I like to shop for Christmas lights about mid-way through the holiday season for the following year. Usually, I’ll cruise through the Christmas section at my local Target to see what’s on sale.

Major retailers often start putting Christmas decorations on clearance early to clear out the stock and have less to store for the following year.

String lights are the most common option, but you can experiment with novelty or silhouettes. 

No matter what else you do, you need to make sure you’re using Christmas lights designed for outdoor use.

If you use lights made for indoor use on your garage door, they’ll get damaged easily and can blow a fuse.


How to Connect Power to Your Lights

Christmas lights can be powered in two ways: by connecting a cable to a wall outlet or by battery.

Plug-In Christmas Lights

Most Christmas lights plug into an empty outlet and get powered by your home’s electrical supply. They’re easy and convenient, and you don’t need to worry whether they have enough battery to turn on.

As with anything electrical in your home, you need to be careful.

Make sure that the outlets work correctly. Both the cables and connections should be completely waterproof to avoid electricity mishaps that may be caused by melting snow.

Use an outlet with a weather cover to help. If moisture gets into your home’s electric circuits, it could cause damage.

Solar or Battery-Powered Lights

Recently, I’ve noticed more and more garage door Christmas lights that are either battery-powered or solar-powered.

Battery-powered lights usually only require simple AA batteries to run. They’re not as bright as the lights connected to your home’s electrical supply and come in fewer styles.

However, they are safer in a house with children or in the garage, where it can be tough to keep moisture out.

Many battery-powered lights come with built-in timers to save power. This way, you can set when you want the lights to turn on and off, thus extending the lifespan of your batteries.

Solar-powered Christmas lights are similar, but instead of having a replaceable battery pack, they come with a small solar panel. During the day, the solar panel collects energy to charge the internal battery. At night, that battery powers the lights.

If your garage has existing solar panels, there may be a way to hook your lights directly into them.


A Better Method Than Nails or Staples

Never use staples, nails, or hot glue when hanging your Christmas lights around garage doors.

No matter how careful you may be, these can damage the protective casing around your wires, creating a fire hazard. Instead, use plastic hooks, clips, or screw eyes to hang your Christmas lights around your garage door.

I have some stainless steel screw eyes that are permanently mounted around the trim on my house.

It’s easy to hang up my Christmas decorations because everything is already in place to hang them.

For the rest of the year, the eye hooks are small enough not to be noticed.

Your local hardware or home improvement store should have these. Look for options that can attract safely and securely to your gutters, shingles or screw into the stucco.


Clips for Vertical Lights

Do you want to hang your garage door Christmas lights vertically?

Depending on your house, your garage door might not have anywhere to permanently mount fasteners for your lights. If not, consider buying trim clips that can wrap around the light cords. 3M makes an entire line of Command hooks for nearly every possible use.

The clips attach to your garage with some adhesive. They’re not a permanent solution, but they should last through the holidays.

Space the clips approximately one foot apart, and definitely have them mounted before you start hanging the lights. Otherwise, the weight of the wire as you’re hanging it could tear them from the wall.

If your garage has elaborate molding or other designs above it, start from the top and work your way down. Alternatively, you can begin the installation process from one side and gradually move to the other side until you are done.


Never Attach Clips or Hooks Directly to Your Garage Door

Your garage door is usually made up of steel or fiberglass. It may have a layer of insulation in the middle.

Attaching clips or hooks directly to the door (especially if you’re screwing directly into the door) will damage the door.

Not only will this damage the door’s surface, but it may also hurt the door’s durability or ruin how it opens and closes.

You’ll also likely damage a panel or more in the garage door if you use nail-in hooks and clips.

Although you can easily find a garage door replacement panels, it is an expense you can avoid and still enjoy your Christmas lights.


Hiring a Professional Is OK

Finally, there’s no shame in having someone else hang your Christmas lights around your home and garage.

You can find professional handymen online through services like Angie’s List. Your community Facebook groups are also a great way to find reputable people in your area.

Working with a professional can save you money and time if you intend to decorate other parts of your home with lights.


Safety Tips

Electric lights can be a fire hazard, so keep reading for some safety tips to help you and your family stay safe during the holidays.

  • Get some help. Even if you can complete the installation on your own, you’ll need someone to untangle the lights and help you hold the opposite ends when it is time to hang the lights. This helps avoid accidents or damaging bulbs.
  • Test the lights often. This will allow you to find any strings or lights that are not working while you are still hanging the lights. You don’t want to find out that a string doesn’t work long after you’ve dropped your tools. If you find a string that isn’t working, confirm that it is connected properly.

Wrapping It Up

Hanging Christmas lights around garage doors can be easy, but there’s a lot involved with it as well. You need to pay attention when you’re putting up the lights.

Apart from choosing lights with a power option that is safest for your family, use clips and hooks to hold the strings in place perfectly.

Remember to avoid using nail-in hooks on your garage door panels. Apart from not holding the lights correctly, they can permanently damage your garage door panels.

Test it on the spot to ensure everything works fine when you are done with your installation.

For other holiday decorating ideas, check out our article on how to get some scary results decorating your garage door for Halloween!

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.

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