Installing LED Tape Under Kitchen Cabinets
Under cabinet lighting is a great way to enhance the appearance of your kitchen and improve visibility over your worktops.
One of the main problems with kitchen lighting is that wall hanging cupboards block the light from a centrally positioned light source, resulting in unwanted shadowing in and around your kitchen worktops. Under cabinet lights reduce the presence of shadows in these areas and promote a safer working environment for food preperation.
There are several options available when it comes to under cabinet lighting, including puck lights, recessed down lights and fluorescent tubes. However, by far the simplest and most practical option is LED Tape, which offers straight forward installation.
In this article we will be taking you through some of the key considerations when installing LED Tape onto the underside of your kitchen cabinets.
The best time to install under cabinet lighting is when your kitchen is being installed as this will allow you to conceal any excess wiring beneath plaster or fixtures. However, most customers find themselves retrofitting their existing kitchen layout, which can be done just as easily and without evidence.
Physically installing LED Tape is incredibly simple as they use a 3M self-adhesive backing. Just remove this and apply the tape directly to the surface. Obviously, take your time and make sure the strip is even as removing the tape again can cause damage.
All LED Tape runs at a low 12V DC through a transformer, but you will need a mains power supply in order to make them work. This can be a socket or an existing lighting circuit.
You will also need to decide whether you want your lights to be on an independent switch or if your would like them to come on with the rest of your kitchen lights. Personally, it is better to have them on a seperate switch as this increases your lighting options, but some people prefer the latter for its novelty.
If your retailer offers a bespoke cutting service you will need to measure your cabinets and email them across. Bear in mind that LED Tape can only be cut at intervals of 2.5cm, 5cm or 10cm, so you will have to round up or down where necessary.
In most kitchens the cabinets are not continuous and are seperated into different units. If that is the case, you also need to work out how you are going to wire the individual strips back to your power supply. The easiest, and recommended, method is to connect in parallel, with a seperate wire for each piece of tape running back to the same power supply.
While it is possible to connect in series, you increase the liklihood of voltage drop, and therefore diminished light quality, by doing this.
This is very important as your kitchen can become surprisingly humid and wet when you are preparing food. In general your LED Tape should have at least an IP65 rated coating, which will protect it against splashes and condensation.
Don’t forget that LED Tape is fully dimmable. Having the option to dim the LED Tape can really open up the aesthetic potential of your kitchen, particularly if you use it for anything other than just cooking. With that in mind, it may also be worth considering some colour-changing RGB LED Tape. This can be set to white during the day and switched to ambient disco effects when you are entertaining guests.
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