When you’re living in rented accommodation, it can be challenging to put your mark on a place without permanent damage to fixtures and fittings.
Modern leasehold law empowers landlords to deduct money from a tenants’ deposit if they create holes, cracks, or chips.
Of course, nobody wants to lose money, so renters often feel restricted as to the customizations they can implement in their homes.
LED strip lights appear to offer a viable solution to this conundrum. They’re powerful enough to transform a room, making it feel homelier. Their adhesive, semi-permanent nature means they can easily be removed when it’s time to move out.
Are LED strip lights too good to be true?
LED strip lights are unlikely to damage walls, but this depends on various factors. The strength of their adhesive, the durability of paint or wallpaper, how long they’ve been applied for, and the climate can also impact how well LED strips bond to a surface.
If you’re thinking about purchasing LED strip lights, but you’re worried about damaging your walls, then listen up!
In this blog post, I’ll be talking about the type of adhesive used on LED strips, when LED strips are most likely to damage paint, and my fuss-free method for removing LED strips.
What Adhesive Material Is Used On LED Strip Lights?
Whether your LED strips are single-color, multi-color, 1 meter, or 10 meters, they probably all have one thing in common: they’re backed with 3M adhesive.
3M is the gold standard for adhesives – it’s known as the most durable tape on the market. This is because it’s made from high-performance acrylic.
Put simply, this acrylic is multi-faceted. It behaves like both a very viscous liquid and an elastic solid. This property is known as viscoelasticity.
Viscoelasticity allows the 3M adhesive to glide into irregularities and unevenness on the surface. It is applied to and form a very strong bond.
Durable LED strip lights can be fixed to a whole range of surfaces.
But, of course, 3M adhesive isn’t completely faultless.
Over time it loses stickiness, it doesn’t adhere well to glossy or oily surfaces. It doesn’t respond well to humidity and moisture. So 3M has its fair share of problems.
These flaws encourage people to take matters into their own hands. That is, by applying their own adhesives to LED strip lights.
I’ve seen people adopt all sorts of methods – foam tape, double-sided, glue dots, hot glue, and Gorilla tape, to name just a few.
What Type Of Wall Can Strip Lights Damage?
Let’s face it, interior design is ever-changing. Your style and choices today are not the same as those of 1, 5, or even 10 years ago.
Does anyone else remember begging their parents to let them paint their bedroom a flamboyant color? How would you feel about that decision today?
You’re probably not going to want the same LED strip lights in the same position forever. So how easy is it to remove them once they have been stuck down?
The answer depends on the type of surface you adhere to.
If your wall is tiled, wooden, or plastic, you should have no problems. The strips will be relatively easy to peel off and will cause no damage to the wall.
If anything, there may be some leftover adhesive residue that needs to be wiped clean.
However, problems may arise if your surface is bare drywall, coated in paint, or wallpapered. These surfaces are made up of several fragile layers, so they are more prone to damage.
Ultimately, wallpaper is just paper. If you apply strong adhesive to any kind of paper, it will form a good bond. That’s why we use sellotape when wrapping presents!
But when it comes time to remove your LED strips, you’ll struggle to separate the two components. Your wallpaper will likely tear, rip, or ripple.
This will be particularly frustrating if your wallpaper is patterned because any gaps will become extremely noticeable. Similarly, because the wallpaper is patterned you can’t just cover it with paint to disguise the damage.
Do LED Strip Lights Come Off Easily Without Peeling Paint?
On that note, you may be wondering how LED strips affect painted walls. Is paint more durable than wallpaper?
Again, it depends on the type of paint and the strength of the LED’s adhesive backing. Lots of different factors are at play here.
In simple terms, you need to work out how delicate your paint is.
Paint is not invincible, it ages and becomes more fragile over time. So paint that has been on the wall for several years is more likely to peel off with your LED strips.
Frustratingly, new paint isn’t the best option either. Although fresh paint may feel touch dry in around 24 hours, it usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks to fully cure.
If you apply LED strips to a newly painted wall, they will become part of the curing process.
Essentially, the bond between the LEDs and the paint will become stronger than the bond between the paint and the wall.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. The quality of your paint job will also have an impact. If you applied to paint on dusty, rusty, unprimed, or dirty walls, your paint would be compromised.
Your paint job will be much weaker and more susceptible to damage from LED strip lights. The wall itself will be perfectly fine, but a chunk of paint will be missing.
How to Remove LED Strip Lights From The Wall Safely?
I’m sure you can see that there are no hard and fast rules. Your LED strip lights are unlikely to damage if you apply them to a durable surface and rely on the 3M adhesive that they come with. But of course, nobody can be 100% sure.
Follow this easy step-by-step tutorial if you want to remove your LED strips while minimizing the risk of damage.
It’s true, LED strip lights are a dream come true for renters and people who enjoy frequently changing their interior design choices.
If you’re still unsure, you can always perform a patch test.
Apply 3M adhesive to your home’s inconspicuous area, such as behind a cupboard or in a small nook.
Leave it for a day or two, and then pull it off to see if it causes any damage to your paint or wallpaper.
Have you tried removing LED strip lights in the past? What products did you use? Let me know if you were successful or not in the comments section below.