The world is a dark and scary place. And it’s a lot scarier and darker at night, when it’s um… darker, because of that whole no-sun thing going on for nine hours. Who knows what lurks out in the night? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Dick Cheney with a pellet gun? Let me tell you, entertaining friends and family out on your patio is no fun when Dick Cheney appears out of the dark. This is one of the many, many reasons why choosing the right patio and deck lighting is so important. Okay, it’s not really, but again, work with me on this, I get paid by the word, after all.
Choosing the Voltage for Your Patio and Deck Lighting
Now, I know you’re all ready to get to the nitty gritty of different lights, but there are two different types of voltage for Patio and Deck Lighting that you need to consider before deciding on the fixtures themselves: Low Voltage, or 12V, or Line Voltage, or 120V.
What do you mean, you don’t care and you’ll let the electrician handle it? It’s important stuff for your pocketbook! Trust me, this isn’t like the Dick Cheney lurking in the darkness thing. This is actually really important and not a figment of my imagination like most things.
Low Voltage Patio and Deck Lighting is the ideal choice for a detached patio or deck, or really anywhere in my humble opinion. There’s almost no risk of shock due to the low voltage and no stringent electrical codes for installation. The downside of Low Voltage Patio and Deck Lighting is that they all share the same voltage from the transformer if they’re on one line, so if you have a lot of lights, further down the chain might seem a little more dim than closer to the transformer.
Line Voltage Patio and Deck Lighting has consistent lighting without dimming throughout, but since it runs off the same 120V as your house, it is subject to a lot of codes and regulations for installation, which can be a headache for you, your electrician and builder. Well, not for your electrician and builder, they’ll gladly take the extra money, but it can definitely be a headache for your pocketbook to make sure everything is up to code. Don’tcha love government regulations? (insert smiley face). However, Line Voltage Patio and Deck Lighting also includes rope lighting, which eliminates all of the aforementioned pain.
The Different Kinds of Patio and Deck Lighting
The easiest and most common form of Patio and Deck Lighting is rope lighting, which is a line of bulbs encased in a rubber tube that can run in strands up to 150 ft and can be cuttable in lengths of 1.5 feet. Rope Lighting comes with a standard electrical plug which will go into any outside outlet you have, and is weatherproof and safe. And easy! Little plastic clips and penny nails are all you need to mount it in place, and you can easily do an entire deck in an hour or less. The downside of rope lighting is that if any of the bulbs go out, there’s no way to replace them without replacing the whole strand. However, most rope lighting is guaranteed for many, years of use.
Post-cap Lights are the next form of patio and deck lighting, and they sit on top of any posts in the railing of your deck. Putting several of these around your deck will not only provide great illumination, but will highlight the beauty of your deck, as well. These are great for decks that are “action-oriented,” and provide great task lighting. The downside to post-cap lights is they can be right in the line of sight if you’re sitting down, and can be annoying if you’re trying to kick back in a chair outside and relax at night if you have a lot of them put up.
Side-mount Lights for patio and deck lighting is a great alternative if you find you may have to put up too many post-cap lights. These lights mount to the side of the deck post, and come in many decorative styles. The downside to these type of lights is they may not provide quite enough lighting for task lighting, but that can be offset by other light sources. Or, coming out of left-field here, throw up some landscape spotlights to highlight nearby trees if they’re close to the deck. The light will both accentuate the tree and be thrown back in the opposite direction toward the deck, providing great task lighting.
The final type of patio and deck lighting is recessed lighting. These lights fit inside posts and stairs, providing great light without being too noticeable during the daytime. They do have the same drawback as side-mount lights in that you’ll probably need a little more lighting for tasks, but they do provide a great ambiance and are available with many different types of grills and plating to suit any style. Recessed Lighting is also best for using on stairs, though you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have too many lights to blind someone walking up the stairs while also making sure you don’t have too few that will leave gaps for shadows and uncertain footing.
No matter what you choose, Lighting and Locks has all the styles and types you’ll need to complete any project. And while Grumpy Cat may hate you, Lighting and Locks loves you! Well, the people at Lighting and Locks do. Lighting and Locks is just a website, and as such, has no feelings either way toward you. But we do, and we’d love to help you on your next project!