How to Install LED Cove Lighting
Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jun 13th 2018
Considering LED cove lighting?
Did you know that replacing your homes traditional lights with LED lighting can increase its value? It can bump the value by up to 3%.
So why are you hesitating?
If it’s because you’re uncertain how to proceed, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we give you all the information you need to choose and install your cove lighting. Read on to learn more.
Best Lights for Your LED Cove Lighting
It’s imperative you choose compatible LED lights, transformers, and dimmer switch.
With transformers alone, you have a vast variety. Transformers come in 12-volt, 24-volt, nonmagnetic, magnetic, non-dimmable, and dimmable.
We recommend you choose the following setup:
- 12-volt dimmer switch
- 12-volt dimmable transformer
- 12-volt, high output, indoor LED lights
You may, of course, pick what you like. We’ve found this setup optimal for small to midsize rooms. In which type of room do you plan to install your LED cove lighting? In large rooms (or those with exceptionally high ceilings), you need a system pumping out more lumens.
Note: Make sure you buy light strips, not light ropes. Strips are more expensive, but they produce more lumens. You can also cut trim them down to fit properly.
The same can’t be said of light ropes.
Mark Reference Lines
Pull out your handy pencil and measuring tape. It’s time to mark up the wall. Your goal is to draw reference lines to indicate where the bottom of your light strip and your base will go.
At every corner, measure down from the ceiling. Place a mark where you want the bottom of your light strip and one where you want your base. Then move about two feet to your left or right and do the same thing.
Mark the entire section you intend to install your LED cove lighting.
Houses settle over time. This settling may create uneven angles or irregular lines. Don’t worry if your ceiling isn’t level.
Now take a long level or measuring stick and connect the dots you marked. The line doesn’t need to be precisely straight or level. It does, on the other hand, need to be a consistent distance from the ceiling.
That’s what human eyes will pick up on when they critique your work.
Install Your Lights
It’s easier to install the lights first, then the cove. So let’s begin with the lights.
The goal of this next step is to stick your LED lights to the wall. It’s a simple process.
Locate the spot where you will later install the transformer. Leave on the tape backer (the strip covering the adhesive) for the first few feet of the LED strip. You want it lose. You need room, so you can manipulate it when you install the transformer.
The adhesive on the light strip is super sticky. It’s tough to remove without peeling off the paint. That means that once it’s on the wall, it’s staying.
Be sure you put it where you want it.
Peel the adhesive cover off the tip of the light strip. Press the adhesive to the wall, and hold it there.
Now reveal a few more feet of adhesive. Move down the wall and attach the adhesive to the next point. Repeat this procedure twice more.
Check to make sure your lights are straight. If it’s crooked, adjust it.
If it’s straight, adhere the strip of lights hanging loosely between the points you’ve attached. Again, you’re shooting for a line which runs roughly parallel to the ceiling.
Follow the same procedure around the entire area you wish to cover.
When you come to an end, you may wish to trim your lights down to size. Yes, most brands of strip lights allow you to trim them.
Look for clearly marked cutting lines on your strip. They typically fall at intervals of two to four inches. Use a sharp blade to sever the strip in two. Then you’re finished.
Build Your Cove
Next, you’ll install the base, aka the piece of wood your crown molding to which it will attach. The goal is to screw your base in roughly parallel to the ceiling, below your LED strip.
Find the studs in your wall and mark their location. Then take your base and secure it to the wall at every stud, using two-inch wood screws. (Self-tapping trim-head screws are the ones we recommend.)
Drill the screws high on the base, so the crown molding will later cover it.
Note: To make room for your transformer, you might need to notch a section out of the base. It’s dependent on the size of the transformer. Imagine what it’ll look like after you install it.
Can you see it from your standing position? What about from the floor?
Next, you need to cut out blocks which you’ll attach to the base. You’ll later use these blocks as attachment points for your crown molding.
Figure out the angle at which the crown molding will be from the wall. Adjust your table saw blade to match that angle. Then rip a 2×4 at this angle.
Next cut the 2×4 into four-inch pieces. Mark, each piece to show which way is up.
Head back to your wall, and fasten your blocks to your base with two-inch brads. Stagger the blocks about every foot and a half.
Finish by installing the small cove at the bottom. Fasten it with one and one quarter inch brads. Angle them up into the base.
Install Your Cables and Transformer
The minutiae of wiring your house for electricity is beyond the scope of this article. We will assume you know how to mount your transformer box and cables. We will also assume you can wire it to the nearest circuit.
You’ll also need to wire up a dimmer switch. You need a low voltage switch, not an LED switch. If you choose the wrong one, your lights will flicker or shut off altogether.
After everything’s installed and wired, move to the next step.
Install Your Crown Molding
Tack the bottom of your crown molding to your base using one and one-quarter inch brads. Also, attach your crown to your blocks using two-inch brads.
Aim your nail gun straight at the wall. Don’t angle it toward the ceiling or your nails will drive up through the top of your blocks. That way you can avoid poking yourself on exposed nails, or damage your light stip.
Now it’s time to test your LED cove lighting. Flick the switch and marvel in the glory of your efforts.
You’re done! Take a few minutes to breathe in your success.
Now it’s time to build on that success. Do you have your project in mind?
If not, take a look at our site. We offer a wide variety of ideas to spruce up your house with lighting. Take a few minutes now to browse through our articles.
So long. See you again soon!