Introduction to LED Strip Lights
The LED Strip Light has come a long way since its inception. Initially designed for accent lighting, these strips are now potent enough to serve as primary light sources in various settings. What makes them distinct from traditional lighting forms, such as ceiling lights or spot lights, is their adaptability. They can curve around corners, run along edges, and even light up intricate designs.
Historical Perspective: LED technology began its journey in the early 1960s. However, it was only in the last two decades that LED strip lights became popular, thanks to advancements in brightness and colour variations.
Types: LED strips can be broadly categorised based on:
- Brightness: Ranging from dim accent lighting to bright task lighting.
- Colour: Single colour, RGB (Red, Green, Blue), and RGBW (with White) are common variants.
- Water Resistance: Some are designed for damp environments, while others are fully waterproof, suitable for pools or outdoor settings.
Why Hide LED Strip Lights?
The allure of LED strip lights lies in their ability to provide consistent lighting without being overtly visible. Here's an expanded rationale behind their concealment:
- Design Aesthetics: Exposed LED strips, with their dotted appearance, can disrupt the visual flow of a space. Concealed lights offer a more refined look.
- Protection: Enclosed LED strips are shielded from physical damages, dust, and, in some cases, water. This can significantly boost their lifespan.
- Light Control: Hidden strips can offer better light diffusion, eliminating harsh spots and ensuring even distribution.
Methods to Conceal LED Strip Lights
Aluminium LED Profiles
Aluminium LED profiles, sometimes termed as led aluminium profile or channels, are the go-to choice for many professionals. These profiles are designed with a recessed section where the LED strip sits, and a cover, usually made of a transparent or diffused material, is placed on top.
- Types of Profiles: From shallow to deep profiles, there's a range to suit different applications. Some are surface-mounted, while others can be recessed into surfaces.
- Heat Dissipation: Aluminium naturally dispels heat, ensuring the LED strip remains cool. This not only prolongs the LED's life but also enhances its efficiency.
- Finishes: These profiles come in various finishes, including raw aluminium, painted, or anodised, offering designers a spectrum of choices.
Using Crown Moulding
Crown moulding, historically a symbol of architectural elegance, can serve a dual purpose. While it adds character to a room, it can also house LED strip lights, casting a soft indirect glow.
- Materials: Mouldings come in wood, plaster, or polyurethane. The choice often depends on the decor and budget.
- Design Variations: From intricate Victorian styles to minimalist modern designs, there's a moulding to fit every aesthetic preference.
- Installation: While some might require professional installation, many modern mouldings come with easy clip-on mechanisms.
Recessing LED strips offers the sleekest finish. This method involves creating channels or grooves, either during the construction phase or retrofitted, to house the LED strips.
- Applications: Ideal for modern homes, offices, or commercial spaces aiming for a minimalist design.
- Depth Consideration: The depth of the channel should be adequate to ensure the strip isn't visible from regular viewing angles.
- Integration with Other Elements: These channels can be integrated with other architectural elements, such as staircases, walls, or ceilings, for a harmonious look.
Behind Furniture and Fixtures
Utilising furniture and fixtures to hide LED strips is both inventive and functional. This method often requires minimal alterations to existing setups.
- Popular Choices: Backlighting TVs, under cabinets in kitchens, behind headboards, or below sofas are popular choices.
- Safety: Ensure the LED strips are safely secured, especially in areas with regular movement or potential moisture.
- Versatility: This method is highly versatile and can be adapted based on furniture design and room layout.
LED diffusers scatter light, offering a softer glow. While they don't hide the LED strip, they make the light source less noticeable.
- Materials: Diffusers come in plastic, silicone, or glass.
- Shapes and Sizes: From flat sheets to tube lights, there's a diffuser for every application.
- Benefits: Apart from aesthetic appeal, diffusers can also protect the LED strip from dust and minor physical damages.
Choosing the Right LED Strip Light for Concealment
Selecting the appropriate LED strip light is paramount, not just for concealment but also for achieving the desired lighting effect.
LED strip lights come in various brightness levels, usually measured in lumens. For accent lighting or a subtle glow, lower lumens are ideal, while task lighting or primary light sources require higher lumens.
Tip: It's always a good idea to opt for LED strips with adjustable brightness levels. This gives you the flexibility to set the ambiance as per the occasion or mood.
While white (warm or cool) is a standard choice, modern LED strip lights also offer RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or even RGBW (with White) options. These strips can be programmed to display a multitude of colours, providing versatility in lighting design.
Fact: RGBW LED strips allow for better colour mixing, producing more accurate shades compared to standard RGB strips.
Flexibility and Cut Points
The flexibility of an LED strip light is crucial, especially if it needs to navigate curves or corners. Additionally, most LED strip lights come with designated cut points, allowing customization of length without damaging the strip.
Depending on the application, especially for bathrooms, kitchens, or outdoor settings, considering the strip's water resistance is vital. Look for IP ratings; a higher rating indicates better water resistance. For instance, an IP67-rated LED strip is waterproof and can even be submerged briefly.
Power and Controllers
Ensure the power supply (often a separate unit) matches the LED strip's requirements. Controllers, whether manual, remote, or app-based, offer control over brightness, colour, and sometimes even patterns.
Maintenance and Care
A concealed LED strip light generally requires minimal upkeep. However, a few maintenance tips can ensure they shine bright for years:
Even if hidden, dust can accumulate over time. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the strip occasionally, ensuring it's turned off and cool to touch.
Check for Damages
Regularly inspect the strip for any signs of damage or wear, especially if placed near high-traffic areas.
Replace Failing Sections
LED strips are designed to last long, but individual LEDs might fail before others. If the strip is modular, consider replacing only the failing section rather than the entire strip.
Ensure the LED strip isn't covered with any material that might cause overheating. Even if concealed, there should be some space for heat dissipation.