Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

by | Nov 7, 2022

After lighting a Christmas tree, lining a roofline is one of the first projects folks start with when decorating outdoors for Christmas.

There are 4 basic components required to outline a roofline.

  1. Christmas light cord
  2. Bulbs
  3. Clips
  4. Gilbert Plugs

1. Christmas Light Cord

C9 cord

This is a traditional cord that is constructed with stranded 18 AWG wire (also known as lampcord) that is rated for 10 amps with sockets spaced regularly along the line. These are the C7 or C9 light strings you might have been reading about.

C7 or C9 refers to the size of the bulbs. They have different-sized bases and use cords with different sizes of sockets.

C7 and C9 Christmas light cords are all listed starting at this category.

2. Christmas Bulbs

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

Search for your favorite bulb(s) at our bulbs page.

Choices to make regarding bulb choice include:

  1. C7 vs C9 (or possibly round! G30, G40, or G50 are also great choices for Christmas)
  2. Glass vs. LED
  3. Smooth, Faceted, Opaque, Twinkle
  4. Color!

3. Clips

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

After choosing a favorite bulb and cord combination, the right clip to use for installation is the next choice. Choose clips based on how the roofline is configured.

Many clips are designed to work by either sliding under the edge of the roof shingle or can be flipped to install the light sockets on a gutter.

Scan down this page of Christmas clips to choose the best match for your project. You’ll need a clip for every bulb installed on the cord to create a sharp, clean line.

The clip used in the featured image for this post is the All in One Clip. A classic, it has been a customer favorite for over 15 years.

4. Gilbert Plugs

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?

One of the best advantages of using 18 AWG wiring for a Christmas display is having the ability to cut the cords to fit. Once cut, the cords will need plugs. The easiest style of plug to use is the gilbert or vampire style plug. You’ll need a male plug for each place the cords are cut at the beginning of a line. Female connectors can be used to terminate a line or combined with bulk wire can be used to create custom cords without sockets to jump between windows or roof peaks.

Here is a handy post about how to determine how many plugs to purchase.

Additional tips:

  1. Regardless of the style of bulb used, never run more than 250 feet of 18 AWG Christmas cord (including any bulk wire jumpers) in a single circuit. This is the maximum light line specification for 18 AWG cord.
  2. Add the wattages of bulbs used per breaker to ensure that you don’t exceed 80% of the maximum current load. If you have questions about your electrical service and installation, be sure to reach out to a Master Electrician for professional assistance.
  3. Test cords and bulbs by building cords before installation. Where applicable, install clips on sockets before beginning installation.
  4. Power lights with outside rated surge protectors to protect your investment.

Q/A: What do I use to line my roof?
Pin and save for later!

Recent Posts

Why are half of my Christmas lights out?

Why are half of my Christmas lights out?

We hear this question from folks who are puzzled that their lights worked fine last season but are half out when they pull them out of storage. Or their lights suddenly half go out during installation.  What gives? Incandescent Christmas tree lights (aka mini...

read more
Measuring to hang Christmas lights – use your family!

Measuring to hang Christmas lights – use your family!

Any tips on measuring for how many feet of lights I'll need? After choosing the color and style of Christmas lights to install along your roofline, before purchasing, the next best step is measuing how many feet of light will be needed for the project. We'd like...

read more
Get this Look: A Gingerbread House She-Shed

Get this Look: A Gingerbread House She-Shed

After decorating the house and lawn for Christmas, why stop? Don't let she-sheds, workshops and storage buildings sit sad and dark for the holidays. Simple projects like this one might only require what is left over! For a project like this, you'll need about 50 feet...

read more

0 Comments

Related Blog Posts

Get this Look: White Lights and Snow

Get this Look: White Lights and Snow

Minnesota Christmas Lights Installation We love the Minnesota snow in this customer's photo. We also loved what he had to say: Classic look I have these C9 LEDs outlining the front roofline of my house. I was a little concerned they wouldn't be very bright being...

read more
Are C7 and C9 bulbs the same?

Are C7 and C9 bulbs the same?

Great question, and we hear it several times a season. Short Answer: No, they are very similar but are different sizes. Longer Answer: C7 bulbs are shorter with smaller diameters than C9s. Both are installed in 18 AWG traditional Christmas light cords. Many of us...

read more
Christmas Lights Lingo!

Christmas Lights Lingo!

Common Christmas Lights Terminology and Vocabulary 5mm This is a shape of LED lens that is about the shape of and slightly smaller than a pencil eraser. It has been referred to as "wide angle" and "conical" in the past since there is a cone shape molded into the lens...

read more
Get This Look: Icicle Lights and Bungalows

Get This Look: Icicle Lights and Bungalows

Warm white LED icicle lights make a cheerful statement on this 1910-era Craftsman bungalow. Fourteen sets were installed end to end to light the peak of the house and wrapped to accent the porte cochere. The small trees on either side of the steps are lit with...

read more
LED Bulbs: Comparing the Whites! 2022 Edition

LED Bulbs: Comparing the Whites! 2022 Edition

This year, we are releasing Natural Pure White, the third available color white in our LED product line. Commercial C9 LED bulbs with E17 bases and 5mm light strings have been released for the 2022 season. More versions will follow next year. Here is a photo comparing...

read more