Bright Ideas for Deck Lights
In today’s economy, homeowners are weighing the pros and cons of a project from a variety of angles before deciding to proceed. With housing prices in some areas dropping, it seems that big remodeling projects are “out,” while small upgrades and renovations are “in.” Need help dreaming up your deck project, check out Real Outdoor Living’s Helpful Planning Site.
Despite these projections, it’s not all gloom and doom. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, Americans are expected to spend $217 Billion on home renovations this year. That’s up from $210 Billion in 2008, and not far below the all-time high of $218 Billion spent in 2007.
One project that remains a viable addition is an outdoor deck, as well as any deck upgrades such as new rails, new surfaces or deck lights. New decks are becoming more elaborate, often with multiple levels for different purposes, and with so many different materials to choose from, you can build a deck that works with any architectural style.
Whether you’re building new or are looking to upgrade an existing deck space, be sure to include a lighting plan in your design.
Marv Esh, co-owner of Keystone Custom Decks in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a family-owned business that has been building decks for more than 25 years, says his company began adding lights to the decks they build just a few years ago. Today the majority of decks they build include a lighting plan.
“Outdoor lighting is an inexpensive upgrade, and deck lights not only add beauty and style to a deck, but function, as well. With lights on your deck, you can get more use out of the space, and create an environment that is comfortable both during the day and after the sun goes down,” Esh says.
Deck Lighting Options
The variety of deck lights that are available has grown tremendously in recent years. Products designed specifically for decks come in styles that range from traditional post cap lights with flat or pointed tops, to post lights with a more sophisticated “lantern” look. Sleek LED post caps with down lighting offer ambience in an energy-efficient package, with a bulb that will last for several years. Some manufacturers also offer step lights, path lights and other landscape lighting options.
If you plan to install lights on your deck posts, you can find decklights available to fit most post sizes, from the smallest to the largest. Matching adapters for post lights can be purchased that allow you to install them directly on the top rail of your deck.
Installing deck lights is easy, but it does require some planning. The first thing to do is decide where you want lights and what type you want. Once you determine how many lights you want, all related specifications revolve around that number.
Aurora Deck Lighting (www.auroradecklighting.com), considered to be one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and marketers of deck lights, offers a variety of styles in a range of colors to match wood, composite and vinyl deck materials. They also offer matching post caps, step lights, path lights and accessories, as well as everything you need for simple installation.
Deck Lighting Basics
There are basically three lighting categories for exterior application that can be broken down into low voltage (12 volt), line voltage (110 volt) and solar-powered lights.
If you choose to install low-voltage lights or solar lights, there’s no need for an electrician. Line-voltage lighting typically requires a licensed electrician to install, and many municipalities require a permit for installation of line-voltage lighting.
Most do-it-yourselfers elect to go with solar or low-voltage lights, which can be installed in as little as a few hours.