I would like to install permeant LED lights on the exterior of my garage: any ideas?

So this has been a dream of mine for a while and every Christmas I get excited to it but never have. I used to put Christmas lights on my backyard detached garage, both string lights and icicle lights. Now I don’t do that anymore because it’s too much work. Basically the garage is a double decker garage. The first level has a larage garage door for a car and the second level is an attic. However the attic is pretty big because the roof line is a “gambrel” roof. I always though the “gambrel” roof line would like great with LED lights accentuating it. However I would like the lights to be permanently attached, not something that will break or you will have to take down/ put up ever year. Also I think it would be really cool if the lights could be COLOR CHANGING and fade out and in during he transitions. In addition to the the roofline, there is a soffit board on the first level race of the garage that I think would look really cool with some LED accent lighting. Of course I also think these should be permeant. I think RECCESED lights might would better when installing the LEDs on an eave/soffit board and I think reccesed lights would better stand the wheahter/prevent water ingress in that application.

Any ideas on how to wire up something like this? (The garage has electrical power and plenty of lights already connected on the inside, so I’m not worried about blowing any breakers. In 15 years of using it I have never blown a breaker even using heavy power tools and motors, air compressors, etc)

Most exterior LED lights are not all that weatherproof. I had some outside and they only lasted just over a year in spite of being “suitable for outdoor use”.

Towns that put up Christmas lights don’t leave them out all year for the same reason.

You can find flexible LED rope on Amazon in different colors. I believe it is weatherproof, as the LEDs are inside a plastic tube. I guess you could use different colors and a light controller to achieve any effect you care to, including synchronizing them with music.

I don’t think LED string or rope lights would last very long outdoors, whether or not advertised that way.

Maybe consider outdoor-rated LED tape in an aluminum profile?

This alu profile for LED tape is advertised as “Suitable for indoor and outdoor lighting applications; for recessed installation”.

What if you enclose the clear tubing? That will offer an additional layer of environmental protection.

BTW, sorry to nitpick, but it’s permanent

Based on a quick Google search, there seem to be a few companies that specialize in this sort of thing and it seems like a good idea. It might cost a couple thousand or so, but if it’s a one-time expense, it might be cheaper than having lights put up every year for ten or more years. It might become something that builders install as part of new construction.

I put up Christmas lights on my eavestrough and tried to leave them there - within about 2 years, the problem was not the lights but the plastic clips. They deteriorated so badly that the lights started to sag (so I took them down) and bits of broken clip still wash out the downspouts on a heavy rain (I should clean my gutters). The lights were fine.

Like Dewey says, its just a question of how much you are willing to spend. Of course it can be done.

If you like a project, you can do this with the reels of WS2812b LEDs that you can get dirt cheap from AliExpress. Just as an example,here’s a link to the strips, 5 meters, 30 RGB LEDs per meter, waterproof. $19 direct from China.

You’d also need a 5 volt power supply and an Arduino as a controller. Not exactly a turnkey solution, but cheap and fun. I have several different configurations of this basic setup, one right behind be in my office running a flame simulation in an Ikea vertical paper lamp.

A demo

A how-to

Similar to my fire-effect lamp

I like led strips, and I have used them before. But for some reason they seem to be on the “cheap” side for an outdoor application.

I have been to many houses where they have a large “eave” extending outwards from the house and hanging over the deck/patio. These “eaves” often have reccsed lighting fixtures installed in them. And it seems that they rarely have problems with wheather affecting them. That’s why I think reccsed lighting would be the best bet. Because for water to get into a down-facing light fixture it has to go upward against gravity, which is impossible. Of course sideways rain does happen, but overall I think recessed outdoor lighting fixture work pretty well.

The other issue is power. What’s better low-voltage or regular 120v power for this type of application.

I think it would be really cool to have a remote control to turn the light show on/off, change colors, change transitions between colors, etc.

Basically what I am thinking of is an outdoor holiday light show, but making it permeant so it can stay up all year.

I must not be the only person to think of this, someone must have invented it/ implemented it by now. But I guess this idea is too expensive/too complicated for your average homeowner who just wants a couple stands of lights up on the holidays at most. So you don’t see this kind of thing in most stores.

Btw, I have seen those things in Walgreens that sit in your front yard and display a huge light show on the front of your house. I am a big fan of those. Seems like a good bang for the buck for people who don’t wanna be up on ladders.

If you do a Google search on, for example, “permanent exterior Christmas lights”, you’ll find several companies that do this. As I said, I think it’s really a good idea, and I expect that it will eventually be more widely available. It may be something that builders offer in new-home construction. And you could even turn on the lights at occasions other than Christmas (green for St Patrick’s Day, for instance).

On Shark Tank I saw someone showing clips that would would allow you to permanently your lights to any metallic service. Couldn’t find the episode or the name, but came across another product shown, Eve Drops https://www.amazon.com/EVE-DROP-Permanent-Christmas-Hangers/dp/B00PD6OWJQ . It allows you to string your lights up behind the eaves and lower and raise them as needed while keeping them out of the weather. If where you want them doesn’t have an eave, you could make a valance box or I’m sure I’ve seen 90 degree molding at the hardware store that might work.

I had a friend who looked into installing lights on the 30 foot (9m) evergreen tree in her front yard. She was looking for 6 colors plus white, each on a separate circuit, spiraled around the tree. Then she was planning on using them for all holidays: all for Xmas, white & red for Valentines day, green & white for St. Patrick’s day, red for May day, red, white, & blue for Independence day, etc. (She ended up not doing it because they would have needed to bring in a crane for a tree that large, and it would have cost several thousand dollars.)

But the recessed lights in the eves sounds like the most reliable. They could shine down onto the walls of your garage, especially if the walls are white or light colored. Put them close together, alternating colors, and each color on a separate circuit. It might also be possible to drill holes in the fascia board through to each light, so they show up there, too. Fill the holes with a clear glass plug, to prevent weather damage to the fascia.

If you decide to use strips of led lights, there is (fairly) clear flexible plastic plumbing pipe that could be put around them, for additional weather protection. Would also make it easier to mount & dismount them when needed.

Also, I think md2000 mentioned something that has been glossed over so far – the need for maintenance on your garage, eaves, downspouts, etc. They need to be cleaned occasionally, leaves cleared from the gutter & downspouts, snow raked off the roof, and so forth. And painting the garage every few years. Any extra addition to the structure, like strings of lights, is going affect the ease of such maintenance tasks. You don’t want these to make them much harder. And external light strings would accumulate their own burdens of leaves, snow, etc. to deal with. Think about that when you are designing this system.

Googling, it looks like the Shark Tank product was this one.

Any body know of any good products out there to achieve this? (I really like the Recsed LED in soffit idea. I think I will try and do that)

I’ve had 1/2 inch diameter rope lights around my dock for about 10 years now, they’ve been holding up fine, even with weather, and when submerged.

I used to have incandescent rope light. It burned out every 3 years or so, so I bought LED rope lights. After 3 years individual LEDs started to fail, then whole sections would go out as it filled up with water. Now I have nothing on my deck. Looked at reviews for a number of products and found similar complaints.

It seems the most permanent way to do this would be recessed can lights with Philips Hue LED trim rings.