are led strip lights safe for walls

Are LED Strip Lights Safe for Walls?

If you buy an item via links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read the full disclosure.

Table of Contents

Nobody likes staring at bare walls all day, which is why LED strip lights are so helpful. They help break up the monotony of the empty space without the clutter of a picture frame or piece of artwork.

Yet, if you rent an apartment or home, the last thing you want is to damage the walls unintentionally. Any cracks, chips, or holes are coming out of your security deposit.

Even if you aren’t renting, damaging your walls is flat-out undesirable.

So the question persists for many homeowners, do LED strip lights damage walls?

For the most part, LED strip lights won’t hurt your walls at all. Yet, that depends on several factors. If the adhesive is too strong and your wallpaper is frail – damage can occur. The climate is another factor to consider, especially if you live in a humid area. To avoid paint stripping, pay close attention to the adhesive and the strength of your walls/wallpaper.

If you want to learn more about LED strip lights and if they’re ideal for your walls, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn how to use strip lights without damaging your walls.

Will LED Strip Lights Peel Paint Off Walls?

Homeowners are often reluctant to use strip lights for fear of stripping the paint off. For the most part, this fear is unjustified. Yet, there are some scenarios where a strip light may remove paint from your wall. It all depends on the quality of the surface, paint, and adhesive.

  • Surface Type. Do you have tile, wood, or plastic walls? If so, you can use LED strip lights to your heart’s content, even if they have strong adhesives. The chances of strip lights leaving any type of mark on those surfaces is very low. On the other hand, if your walls are thinly painted drywall – there is cause for concern. The same is true if you have wallpapered drywall. In these scenarios, you would want to be very careful when applying and removing LED strip lights.
  • Quality of Paint. Not all paints are created equal, either. Delicate paint is more susceptible to leaving marks/paint peeling off. You won’t have to worry about it if you have high-quality, strong paint. The age of your paint matters, too. If your paint is more than 10 years old, the paint may peel off.
  • Strength of Adhesive. Lastly, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of adhesive used in your LED strip lights. In general, the gold standard for the industry is 3M adhesive tape. It uses high-performance acrylic that acts as both a solid and a liquid. That means it can attach to a wide variety of surfaces with ease. The catch? It loses its stickiness over time and doesn’t respond well to humidity. If you’re using 3M tape, you’ll have to re-apply it quite often.

As you can see, several factors affect whether your strip lights will leave marks or not. Since 3M tape tends to wear out quickly, some strip light owners choose to use their own adhesives.

Typical solutions include indoor mounting tape, construction adhesive, mounting putty, and more.

If you have thin drywall, a low-adhesion tape will work best.

The key to selecting the correct adhesive is to know what type of wall material you have. For wood, concrete, and tile – heavy-duty adhesives work the best. For drywall, you’ll want something lighter and more delicate.

How to Safely Remove LED Strip Lights

By now – you should have a better understanding of which type of adhesive to use for specific wall materials. The next step is to learn how to remove LED strip lights from walls and reuse them. That way, you can continue to get more use out of your strip lights if you move or want to change where they are in your house.

Step #1: Cut Power to Your LED Strip Lights

First and foremost, unplug your LEDs and make sure they’re completely turned off. When tampering with electronics, you never want to work with live electricity. That can lead to serious injury and, in some cases, even death.

While the risk for electrocution via LED strip lights is minimal, it’s still best to stay safe. You never know if there’s a loose wire or a bit of moisture in the outlet – so always turn the lights off first.

Step #2: Heat the Adhesive Layer

Next, you’ll want to heat the adhesive before attempting to remove it.

Why’s that?

It’s because the heat will soften the adhesive and make it easier to remove. Heating it will also reduce the risk of doing damage to your walls. The most common technique is to use a hairdryer to heat the tape. Make sure only to heat the adhesive for no longer than two minutes. That’s because if you overheat your LEDs, you can damage the LED chips.

Step #3: Use a Flat, Dull Object to Pry the LED Strip Off

Grab a credit card, butter knife, or other flat, dull object to place under the LED strip. Get a firm grip on it, and ensure that you’re on the tape and not the lights.

Begin to gently wiggle the object back and forth to loosen the adhesive from the wall. Aim to be as slow and smooth as possible with the motion. Remember, it’s not a race, so there’s no need to rush things here.

Keep rotating back and forth until you completely release the strip from the wall. Take your time with it, and don’t try to force the rest of the strip once a bit of it gets loose.

Step #4: Remove Any Leftover Adhesive

It’s normal for some strips of glue to get left behind. Luckily, you can remove them with your finger most of the time. Gently rub your index finger or thumb in small circles over the residue. That should get rid of the excess adhesive. If it doesn’t, reach for a citrus-based cleaner. With a rag, carefully rub the glue until it’s gone from your wall.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s no reason why you can’t safely and successfully install LED strip lights on your walls. Whether you’re renting or if you own your home, knowing how to safely apply light strips is a good skill to have.

Remember to consider your wall materials, the adhesive you use, and the quality of your paint. Do that, and you shouldn’t run into any problems with paint peeling off or damage showing up on your walls.

Recommended Reading: