The right deck lighting lets you see clearly at night and creates a pleasant outdoor atmosphere. Deck lighting options are plentiful. Before the next "deck season" comes and passes, consider updating your deck's lighting for a fresh look.
- Dim the lights: Summer is all about well-lit decks. There are better ways than installing a few bright lights. Choose smaller, softer lights to create ambiance and light the deck.
- Post cap lighting: Installing lights on deck posts is important for safety, maintenance, and impressing guests. Post caps prevent rotting. Most decks are weatherproof. Deck posts left untreated will rot after summer storms. Post cap lights light deck flooring. Well-lit floors help prevent slip-and-falls. Post caps come in dozens of styles and colors to match your deck and taste. Winterize your post caps for spring.
- String lights: String lights above your deck provide light and atmosphere. LED strands are cheap and energy-efficient.
- Walkway lighting: Illuminate your deck's walkway if you have one. Small path lights make your lawn look great and prevent tripping.
We've already covered the energy and environmental benefits of LED lighting, and it's catching on. LED bulbs use 80 percent less energy to produce the same amount of light as traditional light bulbs. LEDs have 20% lower annual energy costs than incandescents. Choosing LEDs over other lighting options will save you money and is easier on the environment because they use less electricity.
As a builder, I often see decking lights that aren't working or are crooked because their hardware was damaged. Many post cap lights are made of cheap plastic and metal. If you prefer long-lasting, low-maintenance fixtures, choose a post cap and post cap lighting system made from the most durable material you can afford. Post caps are often in high-traffic areas and handled carelessly. These are the railing parts you'll likely hit while carrying something. Invest in quality lighting and post caps. I tell clients to look for a post cap with a moisture- and UV-resistant coating.
There are many ways to do it too! Solar-powered caps are a great option, but depending on the client, it’s common I recommend avoiding them for two reasons: first, you have to make sure they get enough sunlight to power the light, and second, the batteries wear out and need to be replaced.
Putting something hardwired into a 4-by-4 post may require hiding the wire. Install a post sleeve that covers the post and has easy wire-running spaces. If you want an easy-to-install lighting system, don't go cheap. These are poorly designed, with one barely understandable sheet of instructions and no way to ask the manufacturer questions. The easiest lighting systems to install are designed with the installer and end-user in mind, so they won't be cheap.
Post lighting types
Railings can be lit in different ways. Here are a few post-lighting systems:
- Most post caps have under cap lighting. The lights slide onto the post and shine from under the post cap to illuminate the deck. This type of light is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. As with the other options, choose a durable, waterproof model.
- Glow rings are flat light panels installed between two pyramidal post cap parts. It's moody and subtle. This type of lighting is beautiful, but it may not be practical. LED lighting's low heat output makes this a relatively new lighting option.
- Side of the post: These small, versatile light fixtures screw into any 2" wide post and can be placed high or low. Like under cap lighting, it shines toward the deck. Along stairs or anywhere extra deck visibility is needed, these are useful.
Regardless of which system you choose, the installation will be easier if you buy your lighting fixtures and railings from the same company. This can improve installation.
If you like the savings of LED lighting, post lighting may be perfect for your deck. Our company makes beautiful railings and post lights. Die-cast aluminum LED fixtures to protect our line of lighting from the elements with a premium powder coat. Check out our innovative building materials if you're interested. Decking materials, fencing, and decorative hardware to match your new deck lighting.