Buyer's Guide - Deck Lights
Deck lights will make you able to enjoy your new deck all and night. Deck lighting provide you with the perfect functional accent. They look great, keep your deck lit, and work as an added safety measure in your back yard. Installation of deck lighting is now much easier than it was just a few decades ago. Decks can be built to hide wires, and improved solar deck lights need no wiring at all.
There is also a safety benefit to installing deck lighting. Navigation around your backyard will be easier and burglars are far less likely to cause trouble in a house that is well lit.
Anyone with a large drill and bits can install their own deck lights as long as they have basic electrical knowledge. Decking lights are wired in series to a transformer box. Careful planning must be done beforehand to decide where the wires are to be hidden.
Shopping for Deck Lights
There are many great resources for buying decking lights online. The prices tend to be 10-20% cheaper than shopping at your local home improvement warehouse. Shopping online is also useful if you have a custom deck with posts that vary from the standard sizes.
The most common type of deck lights are the post cap. They mounts on top of each post, which provide even and symmetrical light all around your deck. Stair deck lights are flush mounted into the vertical part of each step and light the entire stair well for added safety. With some creativity, lights could be mounted anywhere on your deck. A popular trend right now is flush mounted lights on the deck surface. These provide elegant and flattering light to any backyard.
Solar and LED (light emitting diode) lights are the most eco-friendly choices. Solar decking lights charge their internal battery during the day from sunlight. LED lights only draw a fraction of the energy that traditional deck lights do. Both choices are slightly more expensive than regular lights. The major benefit of solar lighting is that they don't need wires. Each light is a self-contained unit. Installation of these can be done in a couple of hours.
When shopping for lights, be sure to check the manufacturers warranty and guarantees about waterproofing. A light that gets soaked on the inside will stop working. Look at the construction of the fixture. If it looks like water will get in, water will get in! A pyramid shape on the top will keep most of the water out of the inside.
Expect to pay at least $25 per light for a product that will be durable and attractive. Many custom lights can go well beyond $100 a piece. Plan your budget based on if you plan on doing the work, or hiring help.
The key to deciding if a DIY install is right for you, is time. Do you have enough time to get the job done right? Is it going to rain in the middle of your project? Plan your time very carefully and expect that it will take you 2-3 hours per light (including drilling and wiring). Also, if you aren't confident using a large drill it might be a good idea to hire a professional. The last thing you want to do is drill a hole all the way through a post!
If you aren't comfortable installing the lights yourself, the work is not that difficult for a professional. This means that the cost will be reasonable to get someone else to install them for you.
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