From how to waterproof LED strip lights, re-sealing after cutting, to repairing old ones. I cover it all in my quick and simple step-by-step guides.
As many of you may realize, LED technology is fast improving, and although you can now buy waterproof LED strip lights. But, that means spending more money, so why not just make indoor LED light strips more versatile.
Here I will show you two different methods. The first is to convert indoor strip lights for outdoor use. While the second is the method I use to re-seal waterproof lighting that has been cut to achieve the desired length.
What You Need To Know About LED Strips
All LED lighting is extremely cost-effective to use. Add in the fantastic lifespan LED bulbs have, it’s no wonder LED lighting solutions have become ever more popular. Giving people the opportunity to create some great interior lighting designs, under-counter lighting, and bias lighting for your tv or computer, to name just two.
Although we go to great lengths to get interior lighting designs just right, why do we not do the same for our outdoor lighting? By using LED light strips you can create the same wonderful ambient light source for your patio, BBQ, or gazebo as you have indoors.
Although LED strips are already extremely versatile in their uses. By waterproofing interior LED light strips, you save money and get to enjoy your lights outdoors or in, all year round.
DIY Techniques To Waterproof LED Strip Lights
So let’s get on with it.
- Waterproof LED tubing
- Waterproofing end caps
- Silicone or similar sealant (if your cap is going to go cover the wires and connectors you will need to use dielectric silicone)
- LED strip light
1. First cut your LED light strip to the length required (make sure to cut on a cut mark).
2. Measure and cut your waterproof tubing
3. Thread the LED lights into the tube. Personally, I find that if you use a silicone spray (or similar lubricant), the strip slides in quite easily. Alternatively, you can thread a string or nylon line through and secure it to the LED lights to pull through.
4. Fill the ‘dead’ end cap with silicone and carefully place it over the end of the tube. Wipe off any excess silicone and leave to dry.
5. For the other end, put the wires coming from the connector through the end cap (the number of wires will vary according to the type of LED lights you have).
6. Fill the end cap with silicone and place it onto the tubing. Again, wipe off any surplus sealant and leave it to dry.
How to Re-Seal Waterproof Strip Lights
There is nothing worse than finding that your old LED strips are no longer fully waterproof and are letting in water and/or moisture. Hold on, don’t put them in the trash, they can be fixed easily by re-sealing.
In addition to repairing leaking LED strips, this method can be used if you have purchased a new waterproof light strip that needs to be cut. Personally, although there are other methods, I have found this one the best and it is very quick and easy.
- Your waterproof light strip (cut to the required length)
- A heat gun (craft heat guns are ideal for this, but a lighter will work if that’s all you have)
- Length of heat shrink tubing (ideally it will have at least an IP67 rating)
- Scissors and flat-nosed pliers
- Tube of dielectric silicone (non-conductive)
1. Cut a short piece of the heat shrink tubing (about an inch is good, but you can always trim later)
2. Put a small application of the dielectric silicone into the tube (making sure that it is fully in by smoothing with your finger).
3. Place the cut length of the shrink tube over the strip (about .5 of an inch will be fine) and heat.
4. While the shrink tube is still hot flatten using the flat-nosed pliers. Make sure to do this until the tubing is securely stuck to itself. (you can trim off any excess when it is cool, but don’t cut too much or the join may open up)
There you have it, your waterproof LED lighting can shine bright in the rain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I hope you have found what you were looking for in my blog. I’m just going to answer a few questions that I often get asked when talking about waterproof LED lighting with people.
Can you put LED lights in water?
The only LED lights that can be put into water are those specifically designed for the job. For example, the LED lights that are sold for use in ponds, hot tubs, and fish tanks. If you only have waterproofed LED strip lights etc they cannot be fully submerged into water.
Will LED lights still work if you cut them?
Because of the way they are made, LED light strips will still work if you cut them. However, if you cut waterproof LED lights, you must ensure that you waterproof them once they are correct.
Is it safe to put LED lights in the bathroom?
It is safe to put LED lights in your bathroom if you have rated waterproofed LEDs. However, because water and electricity do not mix, you must ensure that the power source is also waterproofed unless, of course, your lights are battery-operated. Always refer to the packaging for reference.
I hope you have found my guides helpful and one that will save you money in the future. Just one last word. Remember, always make sure you use the appropriate waterproof connectors and box if they are also exposed to water.