LED light strips take mood lighting to the next level. They are easy to install around cupboards, on ceilings, under beds, and behind televisions. However, LED strips along a vertical surface can fall off even ten minutes after installation.
Over time, heat and gravity cause the 3M tape to lose its adhesive properties. As the adhesive along the strip loosens, the LED strip lights droop or fall off. LED lights falling off is a hassle. Reinstalling them only to have them fall off again is frustrating, especially for a product used to set a positive mood.
So, how do you keep LED strips from falling off? I have researched, read user comments, and installed my own LED strip lights to provide you with the answer.
- Why Your LED Lights Won’t Stick
- How To Make LED Lights Stick and Not Fall
- Mounting LED Strip Lights Without Adhesive
- Verdict: How To Stop LED Light Strips From Falling
- FAQ’s How To Make LED Lights Stick
Why Your LED Lights Won’t Stick
The adhesive on the back of LED light strips is sticky enough for many surfaces. Keep in mind these four quick facts to determine what is making your LED lights not stick:
- LED strip lights need a clean and smooth surface to stick their best.
- Moisture loosens the adhesion on LED strip lights.
- The heat from the LED lights causes the adhesive to lose stickiness.
- Gravity from the upside-down positioning of the tape strip pulls it down.
LED Strip Lights Falling Off Walls
Your LED strip lights might be falling off your walls because the surface was not clean before installation. Dust buildups cause the adhesive to stick to the dust instead of firmly fixing it to the wall.
If you installed your LED strips on the walls of your kitchen or bathroom, your strip lights might be falling off because of excess moisture loosening the adhesive tape.
TV or Monitor LED Backlights
Your LED backlights could be falling off your TV or computer monitor because of the heat produced by the LEDs and the devices they are attached to. The LED lights and the electronics they are mounted on produce heat which loosens the glue on the LED strip lights, causing them to fall off faster than normal.
Under Cabinet LED Strips
LED strip lights installed under cabinets fall off because they have gravity working against them. LED strip lights are lightweight but over time, the metal components and gravity cause the adhesive to sag where weight builds up.
How To Make LED Lights Stick and Not Fall
There are several things you can do to make LED lights stick and not fall. The first is to prepare the surface by cleaning it and smoothing it out before installation. Secondly, apply an adhesive that can withstand heat and gravity better than the factory tape.
Prepare the LED Mounting Surface
Before you begin installing, inspect the LED mounting surface. Check for dust, dirt, or grease. Then, look to see if it is even, or if you need something to smooth out the mounting surface.
Step One: Remove Dust
Clean the surface you intend to mount your LED lights on before you begin installing. I know this can seem unnecessary for a ceiling, but you will be surprised by the amount of dust you will wipe off. Use warm water and soap, a degreaser, or rubbing alcohol. Make sure the surface is dry before moving on.
Step Two: Even Out the Surface
If the surface you are installing LED light strips on is uneven, like a grooved ceiling, the adhesive will not stick firmly. Uneven surfaces like grooves create a smaller surface area for the tape to stick to. Below, I will cover the best ways to smooth out the surface where your LED lights will go so that they stay up securely.
Replace LED Strips 3M Adhesive Tape
Light strips come with a 3M double-sided LED tape that is effective for placing the LED lights facing upwards. Although it is a perfectly fine addition to use on your LED lights, as it survives temperatures of up to 500°, 3M tape eventually can give up. Causing our LED lights to crumble to the ground or even cause an accident.
If you are placing them vertically or with the lights facing downwards, replace the LED strips 3M adhesive tape with a heavy-duty double-sided adhesive.
Step One: Cut the tape to size
LED light strips are typically 10 millimeters wide. Cut your extra-sticky double-sided tape lengthwise and widthwise to lay on the strip without exposing the tape.
Step Two: Replace the tape
Place small pieces of double-sided adhesive on the LED strip. Apply the heavy-duty tape in areas that are prone to dropping like corners or the center point of a long continuous strip.
Another option is to replace the 3M double-sided LED tape with foam tape. Foam tape is recommended for use on uneven surfaces to flatten them out, allowing the lights to sit flush.
Once you have cleaned the mounting surface and applied a better tape, apply the LED strip lights where you want them.
Restick LED Strip Lights
LED strip lights are easy to install, but there are a couple of tricks I learned while putting mine up to keep them from falling off.
Step One: Straight Lines
Resticking LED strip lights in a straight line is easy. I applied small pieces of an extra-sticky adhesive to several spots to keep it adhered for longer.
Put a small piece of tape near the corners and another piece in the center point of the strip. I found mine dropped the most in the middle, so adding an extra adhesive piece to the center point helped keep it attached.
Step Two: Corners
Corners can be tricky with LED strip lights. If you intend to install LED lights on the back of a TV or under a bed, corner connectors are useful purchases. You cut the LED strip and attach the L-shaped connector pieces for a seamless corner.
I did not purchase corner connectors with my lights, so I used another method: looping the corners.
Twist the LED strip to form a loop and feed it in the direction you want to mount it. Apply some heavy-duty tape to the corner loop to compensate for the additional weight buildup in these areas.
Not all want to use the 3M adhesive tape or a tape that could damage the surface. When installing LED strip lights, there is the option to mount them without using the adhesive.
If this feels like too much work, or you don’t want adhesive tape ruining your walls and surfaces, there are other options to keep LED strips from falling off.
Mounting LED Strip Lights Without Adhesive
Mount LED strip lights without using adhesive to keep them hanging for a long time and avoid damaging walls with LED strip adhesive.
By forgoing adhesive, more installation is required however, installation is a more secure way to mount LED light strips.
LED Strip Light Mounting Clips
Mounting clips are the easiest way to install LED strip lights so that they stay put for years to come. Mounting clips or mounting brackets are small clips that attach to a ceiling or surface. You slide the LED strip light into the clip to hold strip lights in place.
They are also useful if you ever wish to remove and reuse your LED strip lights. Simply unscrew and reuse them elsewhere.
If you prefer to mount LED strips without using an adhesive, use Strip Light Mounting Brackets to screw them firmly into the wall. If you want the stability of a mounting clip without the hassle of patching up holes when you move, opt for mounting clips with an adhesive.
This type of adhesive clip is also an excellent option for sticking LED strip lights behind TVs or monitors.
LED Strip Light Mounting Channels
LED strip light mounting channels are the best way to install LED strip lights in bathrooms, kitchens, and ceilings. Mounting channels are essentially light fixtures for LED strip lights. You insert the light through the channel and place a cover over it to give the room a finished look and reduce dust buildup on the bulbs.
Mounting channels require more installation, but they have a better aesthetic and disperse light and heat uniformly. What is the difference between a V channel and a U channel for LED light strips? I will answer this and discuss the two most popular mounting channels below.
LED Aluminium V Channel
An LED Aluminium V Channel is ideal for mounting LED strip lights in corners. LED Aluminium V Channels have a 45-degree angle V-shape that fits seamlessly into corners. V channels look nice around a kitchen backsplash and cabinetry or at the corner of a ceiling.
LED U Channel Diffuser
An LED U Channel Diffuser is ideal for mounting LED strip lights on flat surfaces. U channel diffusers use a rectangular bracket to hold LED strip lights. U channel diffusers do not sit as flush against a corner as a V channel.
Verdict: How To Stop LED Light Strips From Falling
Now you have an understanding of why your LED strips are falling and the answer to the question: How do you keep LED strips from falling off?
- Clean the surface before installation
- Replace the 3M adhesive
- Use LED mounting clips or mounting brackets
- Use LED strip light mounting channels
By following these steps, your LED light strips will stay on for a long time. Turn on your LED lights after a long day and have them emit mood lighting for feel-good vibes throughout your house without worrying about sagging and reinstallation.