Installing new deck lighting is possible without using professional services. If you know the dos and don’ts of installing a new light, it can even be easy. The right lighting can improve the look, feel, safety, and usability of your deck area. If you want to save money on deck lighting, consider taking a DIY approach. DIY deck lighting is simple, can cost as little as $100, and takes just one weekend to complete. Follow these steps to select and install your new deck lights.
Plan Your Lighting Layout
First, map out where you want the lights to go. Choose your lighting plan based on which areas you’d like to illuminate. The most important areas are the stairs, walkways, and sitting areas. If you have a grill or outdoor kitchen on your deck, these may also need more light. Low-voltage deck lighting will typically be enough to do the job and is easier and safer to install than higher voltage options. Draw a rough sketch of your deck. Note key features you’d like to highlight. Also include the location of receptacles where you can plug in your transformer. Then, take your map to a lighting showroom.
Pick Your Light Fixtures
You’ll have a wide variety of deck lighting options to choose from. You may want self-powered solar lights you don’t have to plug in, or stair riser lights. Taking your deck plan to a showroom can help you envision what types of lights will work best for the spaces you wish to illuminate. A professional can take you through your options according to the amount of wire you’ll need, how many fixtures you want, the wattage your transformer can handle, and your unique goals. Your deck may require post lights, step lights, rope lights, and/or floodlights.
Run the Wiring
Once you purchase your lighting fixtures and wiring, it’s time to connect them to a power source on your deck. You need waterproof wire connectors and a low-voltage cable for outdoor deck lighting. Each circuit will require a cable. You will most likely need to cut specific cable lengths for your job. Route your wires out of sight, such as under the decking or drilled through a rail post. If you must have a cord visible, try stapling it to a corner or other inconspicuous area.
Install the Lights
The way you’ll install your deck lights depends on the type of light. For example, to install stair lighting, you’ll most likely have to connect the light through the back by drilling a hole through the railing or planter wall. Fasten the back plate, push the wires through the hole, and screw the plate into the siding. Then, mount the cover and tighten the screws of the plate.
For a post light, bore a one-inch hole into the top of the rail post. Drill a ½-inch hole from below, angled to intercept the one-inch hole. Feed the cable through the holes and connect the cable to the post cap light with twist connectors. Then, connect the wires and mount the fixture. Always follow the directions on the fixture you purchased for help with DIY deck light installation.