Easy Ways to Hang String Lights on a Concrete Wall

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Are you thinking about a way to change the look of your outdoor living space? String lights are an effective way to add an elegant ambience anywhere.  

Many people often use a deck railing to hang string lights on with relative ease. But, things may become a bit more complicated if you are dealing with trying to hang lights on a concrete wall. So, what is the best way to hang string lights?

There are actually a lot of different ways to hang string lights, and some of them don’t require any drilling. So, keep reading to learn how to hang string lights on a concrete wall, along with some other common material types. 

Planning is Key

Before starting installation of your string lights, it’s important to carefully plan the layout. Here are some considerations:

  • First and foremost, review manufacturer’s instructions. This will help ensure you get the most from the lights without voiding warranty.
  • If using the lights outside you’ll need to choose ones that are rated for outdoor weather elements.
  • Determine which electrical outlet you’ll connect to. It’s likely that an extension cord will be needed to connect the lights to the outlet.
  • Determine the general layout and pattern of the lighting. Zig-zags will provide more coverage, but you’ll need longer length of lights.
  • Identify the types of locations you’ll be mounting to, as this could affect the mounting process.
  • Purchase any mounting hardware. Sometimes the string lights will have built-in hooks or might come with hardware.

Is Drilling the Best Way to Hang String Lights On Your Concrete Walls?

Drilling definitely works if you want to hang string lights on concrete walls. It’s a fast and straightforward way to hang your string lights in no time. 

Although drilling hangers into the concrete walls provides for a very secure way to hang your string lights, there are some things you need to consider first: 

Holes are Permanent

Holes are easy to make, but they’re permanent. So, if you choose to drill the concrete wall to hang your string lights, you’ll have less flexibility if you want to relocate them in the future. 

If you end up drilling hardware into the wall and decide to change your mind on location, you may have to abandon the hardware in place.  Alternatively, you can remove the hardware and live with a hole in the wall, or you can patch it.  

Holes Can Result in Long-Term Damage

Drilling will leave holes in your wall or siding material.  This could potentially result in future damage, such as from water ingress. After repeated exposure to water, there could be an increased risk of mold and mildew. 

Fortunately, bare concrete can be patched and painted relatively easily, as desired.  Damaged siding can also be replaced if you have some spare on hand.  

Potential Impact to Curb Appeal

Although installing string lights on your patio will improve your curb appeal, the undesirable hardware or holes could reduce it. You’ll want to be careful where hardware is installed so that it doesn’t detract from the aesthetic appeal.

If water damage occurs due to the penetrations into the wall, this carries significant risk in reducing the market value of your property

Liable for Rental Damage

If you’re renting a property, you might be held liable for drilling the wall. Before making any holes, check your rental contract or contact the landlord to ensure it’s OK.

Special Tools Needed

Although drilling into concrete is quick and easy, you’ll need the right tools for the job.  In this case, a hammer drill with a masonry bit.

You’ll then need appropriate fasteners and hardware that are designed for concrete.  

If you don’t already have these tools and materials on-hand, it’s more than likely not worth purchasing solely for this project.  

How to Hang Lights on Concrete Wall Without Drilling

Drilling into the concrete wall is an easy way to hang string lights, but it’s not always the best way. 

Luckily, there are different options to consider, whether you’re hanging string lights outside, in your garden, on your patio, or inside the house. Moreover, these methods will work with different wall materials. 

Concrete Nail Hangers

You can purchase specialty hangers with strong nails designed to pierce concrete or bricks. The nails are often short and thin which minimizes damage to the concrete, while still providing a secure mount for the string lights.

To install the hangers, you simply tap them with a hammer in order to stick them into the concrete. You can then place the outstretched string lights onto the hooks.

Use Adhesive Hooks

Adhesive hooks are the easiest to use, and they work perfectly on concrete walls and different types of materials. 

They’re very easy to get from any hardware or home improvement store, so you can use them whenever you want. You’ll just want to ensure you get the right sized hooks that can handle the weight of the lights.

These hooks come with sticky adhesive, and all you have to do is to remove the paper backing and press the hooks where you want to hang the lights, inside or outside the house. Once pressed, they become secure.

Moreover, they don’t require you to make any holes in the wall. Nevertheless, these hooks come with a few downsides. 

For example, the adhesive is not reusable.  Once you stick them to the wall, you won’t be able to change their place. 

So, if you like to redecorate your house often, you’ll need to replace the adhesive backings each time you move the string lights.  Over time, these costs could add up depending on how often you’re relocating them.

In some cases, the adhesive material will be difficult to get rid of. For example, if you use adhesive hooks on the wallpaper, removing them might ruin the wallpaper. 

Even if you don’t put them directly on wallpaper, they can leave permanent marks on your walls, and while getting rid of these marks, you might accidentally chip the paint. 

However, you can try to soften the adhesive material by using a hairdryer to loosen it up and then gently scrape it away using a blunt tool or dental floss to remove the residue. 

If located outdoors and exposed to high amounts of sun or rain, this could decrease the longevity of the hooks.  This could require you to replace them earlier than ones that are protected from the elements.

Use Adhesive Tape

Adhesive tape works to secure your string lights because they’re lightweight. You can pick clear tape or double tape because it’s not visible, and they’ll both work. 

This is an easy solution to hang your string lights without permanently changing the look of your concrete walls. It also works on different materials. 

The best part about using adhesive tape is that it doesn’t leave a lot of sticky residue when removed. You can use a hairdryer to loosen the sticky residue if you decide to change the location of your string lights. 

However, if you use duct tape, it will be more challenging to remove. The residual adhesive is hard to get rid of, so you can first scrape it using a paint knife and then clean the wall using a cleaning solution made of soap and water. 

Similar to the adhesive hooks, the tape will have weight limits and could also weaken in outdoor weather elements.

Use a Glue Gun

You can use a glue gun to hang string lights inside and outside the house. When you use a glue gun, the hot glue quickly sticks the string light in place. 

Once you leave it to dry, the glue becomes stable and won’t move. 

However, there are some drawbacks that you need to consider if you choose to use a glue gun. 

First, you’ll have to hold the string lights in place until the glue dries. Then, you’ll have to repeat this process as many times as you wish to secure the lights. 

If you’re not careful, your hand might get burnt

Moreover, the hot glue can cause some permanent damage to your concrete walls. The heat could ruin your paint and will leave a permanent mark. 

If you try to remove the glue to change the location of the string light, it may leave a mark on your wall. 

Nevertheless, although removing the glue can be difficult, it’s not as difficult as repairing a hole in the wall. 

Utilize Nearby Alternative Structures

Sometimes it’s also worth taking advantage of structures nearby your concrete wall. Look around and get creative!

Here’s are some considerations:

Attach to Gutters

If you have gutters or the eave of a roof nearby, this can be an easy option to hang string lights from.

Gutter hooks can attach to your gutters, allowing you to hang string lights.  The hooks latch into place and don’t damage your gutters.  

One of the benefits of using gutter hooks is that you can remove them and reuse them somewhere else as they don’t cause any permanent damage.  

Oftentimes, gutter hooks are also used for holiday lighting near the eave of the roof.

Use Trees

You don’t want to drill holes in your concrete walls, but you can drill holes in a tree if you want to hang your string lights on the patio. 

Drill a hole in a tree next to your patio and insert a hook in this hole or use screws. Then, hang your string lights on the patio. 

You can use your fence post to secure your string lights if you don’t have trees. Unfortunately, this method won’t work for securing your string lights if you want to hang them inside. 

You can also use bushes to hang string lights if you don’t have tall trees. The bushes near your house can serve as a foundation to secure your lights and change the look of your patio without drilling the wall. 

Fortunately, you’ll only be making small holes into the tree when hanging the string lights.  For mature trees, these holes will not cause long-lasting damage.

Use Your Railings

If you’re trying to hang the string lights on your patio, you can secure them to your railings. You can use adhesive hooks on your railings and even drill holes. 

Staples may also work because they can be used on wood railings. 

Although drilling large holes in the railing might reduce aesthetic appeal, it’s unlikely to cause structural damage.  At worst, the section of damaged rail can be replaced relatively cheap.

How to Hang Lights on Concrete Wall (With Drilling)

Hammer Drill for Cement

If you’ve determined that you want a more robust way to keep string lights in place on your concrete wall, then fastening hardware into place may be your best bet. Just ensure you’ve reviewed the downfalls listed earlier in this article before you start drilling!

To hang string lights onto concrete by drilling, you can follow these simple steps:

1 – Layout the string lights in the pattern desired.

2 – Review string light instructions to determine the maximum span between hooks.

3 – Mark the locations of the mounting hooks based on the allowable distances and layout of the lights.

4 – Determine the concrete fasteners to be used, such as concrete screws and anchors.

5 – Use a hammer drill with appropriately sized masonry bit to drill a hole for the fasteners.

6 – Using a screwdriver, screw the hooks into the wall.

7 – Place the string lights into the hooks to keep them securely in place.

What is the Best Way to Hang String Lights on Stucco Walls?

Stucco is a cement-based material that is applied wet and left to dry. It’s highly resilient, so it’s usually used on outdoor walls, although it can also be used inside the house. 

Stucco is durable and maintenance-free, so hanging string lights on stucco walls can be a little challenging. 

Adhesives –such as hooks or tape– are the quickest and easiest way to hang string lights onto stucco.  

If you’d like a more sturdy and long-lasting approach, then drilling hangers into the stucco may be your best bet.  Drilling into stucco will result in permanent damage if you ever decide to remove the string light hardware.  

To drill hardware into stucco for your string lights, you can follow similar steps to that of drilling into a concrete wall. However, with stucco, you’ll need to consider a couple other things:

1 – Locate studs within the wall.  If you don’t have studs in desirable locations for your string light hooks, then you can plan to use toggle bolts as support behind the hollow wall.

2 – Using an appropriately sized masonry bit, drill a pilot hole for your screw (stud) or toggle bolt (hollow wall).

What is the Best Way to Hang String Lights on Drywall?

You can use similar methods previously described for concrete and stucco to hang string lights on drywall.  

Adhesive hooks will provide the quickest way to attach string lights to drywall, but the adhesive may need to be replaced periodically and has weight limitations.

Drilling into the drywall and stud will provide the most secure way to keep the string lights in place.  

If drilling into the drywall, it can be easily patched and painted if you decide to relocate the string lights in the future.  Drywall repairs are much simpler than concrete or stucco repairs, and is a common activity for most homeowners.

What is the Best Way to Hang String Lights on Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is highly durable, and is a common material to find on the exterior of houses.

Drilling into vinyl siding simply to hang string lights should probably be avoided if possible. Once you’ve drilled into the vinyl, there’s no easy way to repair without replacing the section of siding.   

Instead, the best way to hang string lights on vinyl siding is to purchase special vinyl siding hooks.  The hooks can be slid underneath the siding where it then latches on, providing an easy way to hang lights.

An alternate way to hang string lights onto vinyl siding is through use of a suction cup hook.  The suction hooks can be purchased, in which you’ll just need to ensure the siding is clean before applying it.

Final Takeaway

There are tons of different methods to hang string lights onto your concrete wall.  Drilling and fastening hardware is the most secure and permanent solution, but will be more challenging to repair down the road.  

Fortunately, there are other ways to hang string lights on your indoor and outdoor walls without drilling them. 

Adhesive hooks work best because they are easy to install without damaging your wall. Of course, you can also use adhesive tape, but duct tape can cause permanent damage to your walls. 

There are also gutter hooks if you want to hang your string lights off the eave of your house. Or, you can use mother nature’s offerings, such as trees to provide alternative support.  

With a bit of creativity the options are endless!

Happy Decorating!

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