A deck lighting system is one of the best ways to let your imagination go to work and truly create a space of beauty and relaxation without too much trouble. There is a huge selection of different types of fixtures you can choose from so it shouldn't be too difficult to find the exact items you need for your situation. It doesn't take a genius or a highly trained designer or contractor to install deck lights; in fact an average homeowner can easily do it in a short time without pulling out their hair.
1. Safety is the primary concern. You want your lighting system to look good, but if it doesn't supply adequate light to the user it does not fulfill its primary purpose to provide safety and security to the deck after dark. One way to provide light to a specific zone is with the use of spot lights. I found that stair lights installed in the vertical riser of the stairs is a great way to provide safety for navigating them.
2. Try not to use fixtures that will cause a glare. Blinding light in the eyes is a great way to get people to move, but not really welcome to anyone that is trying to enjoy the space. That goes for reflecting light as well; any bright fixtures should be directed down and away from reflective surfaces. Reflecting light onto the surface of your deck is a great way to get it to cover the whole deck without any discomfort.
3. Testing the placement of the items is paramount to a good install. Anytime you think of placing any fixtures test the area with a few different types of lights before you actually install any. Flash lights work great to simulate spot lighting and a portable lantern works as a flood light. Keep a detailed drawing of what you find out and your lighting system will be the envy of your friends.
4. Stair lighting is one of the most important parts of a good lighting system. Think about whether you want to go with rail or recessed lighting in the stairs. It may also be that for some situations it is good to have both. If you plan on using rail lighting make sure you direct it down to flood the stairs with light.
5. Before you install any fixtures it is important to test them to see if they work. Figure out the best route for any wiring so you don't have any unsightly cables hanging down. It works best to predrill all your holes before you start running the wire and installing the fixtures.
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