How to Install Waterproof LED Strip Lights

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Jan 12th 2024

How to Install Waterproof LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it's easy to see why. These lights are simple to install, energy-efficient, and offer a wide range of color options. Whether you're looking to illuminate your outdoor living space or create an ambiance in a kitchen or bathroom, waterproof LED strip lights are an excellent choice. This guide will help ensure you get the desired results with proper installation.

LED Strip Light Installation Guide

You have a plan. You know exactly how you want your space to look. So, let’s get the lasting results you want with an expert-level waterproof LED strip light installation. This comprehensive step-by-step guide will walk you through installation, ensuring a successful and long-lasting lighting setup.

Things You’ll Need

Some LED strip lights come in prepared kits with everything you need to install your lights. Kits are great options for small, simple installations. For more complicated jobs, you might need the following:

  • Waterproof mounting adhesive tape
  • Aluminum track or strip light channel
  • Mounting clips
  • Screws and brackets for light channel installation
  • Diffuser
  • LED strip light connector clips
  • Silicone or weatherproofing heat melt tape
  • Power supply or converter
  • On/off or dimmer switch
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdrivers and other tools for track installation
  • Cleaning agent for surface preparation
  • Scissors or utility knife

Step 1: Choose Your LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights come in various colors, brightness levels, and sizes. Before installing, you must choose the appropriate LED strip lights for your project. Along with the esthetic appeal, you must consider whether your strip lights will be exposed to moisture, even if they’re placed indoors. Water exposure is one scenario where waterproof LED strip lights would be the best choice. If your lighting project is outdoors, it's essential to choose waterproof LED strip lights (preferably IP65 or higher) that are designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

12-Volt strip lights are best for short run lengths. Most standard 12-volt strips max out at about 20 feet for a single lighted piece. For longer runs, choose 120-Volt LED strip lights that can achieve lengths of 150 feet or more.

Some strip lights come with an adhesive backing that makes installation a breeze. Waterproof mounting tape can be purchased separately as well. Other mounting options include plastic clips or rigid aluminum tracks.

For more information on choosing the best strip lighting for your application, please see our LED Strip Lights Buying Guide.

Step 2: Measure and Plan the Installation

Next, you must measure the area where you want to install the LED strip lights. Measuring will help determine how much strip lighting you'll need. It's also wise to plan your installation, including light placement and power source connection, to troubleshoot and prepare for excellent results.

For outdoor waterproof LED strip lights, ensure your installation allows water to drain away from the electrical components.

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

To ensure a secure and long-lasting installation, clean and prepare the surface where you'll place the LED strip lights. Use a cleaning solution to remove dirt, dust, or debris. Then, dry the surface thoroughly before applying the strip light adhesive backing.

Your LED strip lights will stick best to smooth surfaces like wood, plastic, metal, and vinyl. If you plan to install over a rough or textured surface, install an aluminum channel or clips to secure your lights. You can also use mounting clips for small areas needing extra support; a mounting track provides a more polished and consistently linear appearance for longer stretches.

Step 4: Install the Aluminum Channel as Needed

There are many different options for LED strip channels. Check out your options and light compatibility to see which will work best for your project.

One of the easiest options is a surface mount. With this installation, you’ll follow the exact path you want your waterproof LED strip lights to follow. Carefully measure and cut each piece to fit, then use a drill or screwdriver to secure the channel to your chosen surface. Remember to use screw anchors if you’re not mounting on a solid surface.

You can use plastic diffusers to hide the metal track so that it doesn’t interfere with the overall look you’re trying to achieve. The diffusers snap in place after installing your strip lights.

Step 5: Install the Waterproof LED Strip Lights

Be sure to test your new LED strip lights before beginning your installation. Plug the lights into their intended power source, ensure everything works, and then set them safely aside. Now, it's time to install the LED strip lights. Start your installation at the power source you’ll plug your strip lighting into and slowly work your way around.

For strip lighting with double-sided sticky tape, remove the protective backing in small sections of about 12 to 18 inches. Then, carefully place the strip lights onto the smooth surface or lighting channel. Press the lights firmly into place to ensure a strong bond without creases or bubbles. Continue peeling the protective backing and pressing the lights into place. Trim excess length according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you choose not to use an adhesive, carefully install mounting clips at a fixed interval. A common spacing that works well for most strip lights is about every 12 inches.

Read and follow the instructions for corner installations, including cutting and joining light strips appropriately with plug-in connector clips. Make careful, straight cuts as shown in your instructions, and match the positive (+) and negative (-) symbols when you fit the connectors into place.

For waterproof LED strip light installations, use an outdoor-rated power supply and seal any connections with clear silicone or weatherproofing heat melt tape to avoid any electrical hazards.

Step 6: Connect to Power

After installing the waterproof LED strip lights, you must connect them to a power source. Ensure secure connections and no exposed wires. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for connecting the lights to a properly rated power supply.

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Waterproof LED Strip Lighting

Once you've connected your LED strip lights to power, it's time to sit back and enjoy your new indoor/outdoor lighting. Waterproof LED strip lights are an excellent way to add ambiance and style to any outdoor space. With LED’s energy-efficient design and long lifespan, you'll enjoy your new lights for years.

Unplug your LED strip lights before cleaning them. You can use compressed air or a damp cloth to wipe down your lights. Go ahead and relax for a bit when you finish. Give your lights a chance to dry naturally before plugging them back in. Light Up Your Space with Birddog Lighting!

Light Up Your Space with Birddog Lighting!

Installing LED strip lighting is a straightforward process that anyone can do with some planning and preparation. By following these steps, you'll have a stunning waterproof LED strip lighting setup that you can enjoy, rain or shine, for years to come.

It’s time to shop our wide range of LED strip light products and plan that lighting project you’ve been dreaming of!

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