By now there’s no doubt that LED strip lights are the most versatile sources of illumination for your home and office. They can be used by themselves as the tape can be easily stuck to almost any surface. But the look of naked LED strips doesn’t always match the decor and can be a sour to the eye. That’s where aluminium profiles come in handy. But what are those and when to use them?
What is an aluminium LED profile?
Aluminium profile or extrusion (there’s no real difference and those names are interchangeable) is a solid, semi-hollow or hollow shaped piece of aluminium. It can be used for almost anything – from building simple appliances for home to constructing spacecrafts. Alu extrusions products can greatly vary in sizes, tempers, alloys and shapes, which makes them ideal for various applications.
Going back to the main topic, LED extrusions are made specifically to shield LED tape from all sorts of mechanical damage. They’re also a great heat sink and enable you to create elaborate lighting projects with a unique finish – a LED extrusion can hide the LED tape without obscuring the light. Both LED profiles and LED strip lights come in varying colours and styles, so it’s easy to find just the one you’ve always wanted.
Types of aluminium LED strip profiles
In general, LED profiles can be divided into four groups – recessed, surface mounted, corner mounted and architectural.
Recessed LED extrusions
ALED profile of this kind is mainly used in lighting under cabinets and shelves but it also works well in lighting walls and floor. Recessed LED extrusion is typically supplied at standard lengths of 1 to 2 meters but can be easily cut to length (many providers even do it for free), depending on the LED strip you want to mount.
Beside protecting your LED strip lights from any kind of contact damage, recessed profile provides a more “finished” look to them – it’s diffused cover allows the light to shine through but simultaneously disperses the view of the individual diodes. Although not waterproof, the LED profile also helps in preventing moisture inside the LED tape itself.
Surface mounted LED profiles
This particular kind of extrusions works well mounted on walls, floor edgings, cupboards and cabinets. They’re also suitable for under shelf or under cabinet lighting. Surface mounted extrusions give your LED strips a professional look, which makes them great for office space and any other visible locations (especially the models with high-diffused cover).
Surface mounted extrusions are easy to set up, cut and fit together, which enables you to create a seemingly one-pieced continuous line effect for your lighting. As other profiles, they obscure the individual diodes and are available in standardized sizes.
Corner mounted LED extrusions
This particular type of extrusion is designed to fit any 90-degree angle corner. Mounting LED strips into them makes the light shine out at a 45-degree angle (in standard models but there are also profiles with 30-/60-degree options). A corner profile finds its use mainly in ceiling and floor corners but it can also be fitted under cabinets, shelves or kitchen cupboards.
Corner mounted LED extrusion comes with a diffuser (special cover) which disperses the LED strip’s appearance without obscuring the light itself – it creates a smooth light bar effect. Corner extrusions are available in standardized sizes but can be cut to length like the rest (often for free).
Architectural LED profiles
This category consists of a wide range of special application LED extrusions that vary in shapes – from almost completely flat, through T-shaped (some fitted for two LED strip lights), to almost fully circular. Due to this variety, you can freely provide quality lighting in almost any situation, depending on your needs. They work great in wardrobe, living room, bathroom, on stairs, displays or even a simple wall. Just make sure that your LEDs aren’t directly exposed to the moisture (or buy waterproof strips). This kind of product is ideal for people that like to design their own interiors and finish them with a modern touch. It’s also great for experimenting with your home lighting system – simply using a different profile with a new shape can drastically change the effect.
What are the uses of LED profiles?
Aside from the most obvious protection of the LED strip installed inside (and thus further extending its longevity), LED extrusions have a variety of less conspicuous uses. Here’s some main ones:
- absorbing the heat – as we mentioned, a LED profile is a good heat sink, which makes it crucial if you plan to fit your LEDs on wood or wood-like surfaces.
- keeping the light in place – LED strips can be stuck to almost any surface, but they won’t remain there forever as the glue will weaken in time. Therefore, mounting it in an extrusion will help you make sure that your light will stay in its place, no matter what happens.
- easy cleaning – using a LED extrusion is an easy way to keep your finished design nice and clean as there’s no way you’ll catch the diodes encased within with your duster.
- consistent reflection – while using single coloured strips, a white diffuser that comes with a LED extrusion gives you a consistent dot free reflection. This is especially important when lighting a highly reflective surface (e.g., worktops or tiles), which can tire your eyes quite fast.
- directing the light – fitting your LED strips in angled extrusions is an easy way to direct the light without decreasing its quality. Just find the right profile for what’s on your mind or simply swap the old plain extrusion with a different one.
LED profiles – change your home today
LED extrusions are products designed and made especially for LED strip lights. Therefore, they not only shield them from external damage, but also make them a lot more pleasant to the eye. So if you want to make your home look and feel more modern and smart, make use of LED profiles and take your interior to the next level.