13 May How to use tape light to transform your kitchen – DIY Lighting Tips
When it comes to buying the best fixture for function and form, tape light truly hits the mark for under cabinet lighting. Not only is tape light easy to install for the DIY homeowner, but it also provides professional grade quality for any under cabinet lighting project. Whether you’re updating a currently outdated system, or looking to enhance the current design we recommend tape light for all your under cabinet lighting needs over the bar or puck light options. Now that being said, tape light does have one flaw – there currently aren’t any 120v system options that function to the best of their ability. If you desire a 120v system, go with a combination of LED bar and puck lights, but if you desire a 12v or 24v system – LED tape light is your best bet.
When it comes to tape light there are so many advantages. The fixtures come in customizable sizes, some kits have plug and play options to help you avoid splicing and soldering, and there is no need to sacrifice on designer light output. Out of the two options, we’d recommend you go with a 12v system because the costs are lower and products are more readily available. Also, the electrical runs aren’t long enough in a kitchen to warrant the need for 24v. As a side note, you’ll want to keep in mind, these systems are DC output only, so you will need a transformer. From an efficiency standpoint, we always recommend LED and with tape lighting you won’t lack for a variety of options.
From an aesthetics perspective, tape lighting offers the same output as a bar light without the bulk of the fixture. On average, most bar lights are roughly 3.5 inches wide by about .75 inches thick. While technology has truly slimmed this option down, a bar light will never be able to be as slim as the millimeter thickness that tape lighting offers. So whether you are illuminating your counters and hoping to hide the fixture beneath your cabinets or highlighting decorative elements within your cabinets no other fixture offers the flexibility and invisibility that tape light does.
The beam is even across the length of the countertop and the fixtures offer a variety of hue options. Tape lighting comes in warm, cool white, as well as RGB. You can easily use tape light under your cabinets, but also within your decorative or Quero cabinets. We recommend finding a fixture that offers either a 50/50 30 diode per meter option or a 35/28 60 diode per meter. Either of those options will offer the same light output as desired for traditional under cabinet lighting or a 20 watt per foot alternative. The best part is tape lighting is still dimmable! You can either use a 12v touch dimmer that hides beneath your cabinet or if you have hardwired your system you can dim it will a lutron dimmer (wall switch). From a form and designer perspective there are only benefits to using tape light.
Mounting & Install
As for the installation, you couldn’t ask for an easier or cleaner process. We recommend that you clean the surface you intend to adhere the tape light to with mineral spirits to ensure all of the dirt, grease, and grime is removed. The biggest mistake people make is neglecting to clean the installation surface, and then the tape is not as effective. To ensure your tape lighting adheres smoothly, without fail please clean the area thoroughly and wipe it dry. There are no screws or brackets necessary, just peel and stick the fixture to the surface. Now with quick connects or jumper cables, you no longer need to worry about splicing together tape light. Just order the appropriate size pieces, peel and stick, and link the pieces together with jumper cables. Easiest DIY project you ever signed up for!
Last minute details to consider when it comes to tape light are the product’s moisture ratings. We recommend a ip65 rating for any kitchen or bath application, but you do have other options. Starting at ip27, tape light can be purchased with the diodes exposed for indoor use in closets or other very dry locations. Then there is ip44, which offers the diodes some protection from dust, but is still not rated high enough for locations that encounter steam or moisture. Ip65 is the recommended rating for kitchens and bathrooms; this rating allows for safe exposure to moisture created while cooking or taking a hot shower. Now if you are looking for a more extreme rating, go with ip67. Ip67 can come in direct contact with water without harming the fixture; just be sure to keep the connections away from the water. Last, there is the ip68 which is completely submersible – even the connections. While it may be tempting to just go with the ip68 because cooking in your home is like being in the splash zone of a theme park, keep in mind that the product is more difficult to work with from an installation perspective. All in all, we recommend an ip65 or higher rating for all your kitchen or bathroom tape lighting needs.
If you are on the fence about what fixture is right for your under cabinet lighting needs, you won’t go wrong if you choose to go with tape light. Not only will you thank yourself after the easy install, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the beautiful light output.