by John Paulin, Tailor Decks, Inc.
June 5, 2012 | As times change so does the decking industry. When I first started building decks in the mid eighties, most people were building square decks, so if you built decks with angles on the outside corners you were really doing something special. In the late eighties/early 90’s, the hot items were arbors, planters and benches.
What I was amazed at when I went back a couple years later to service projects was a lot of empty planter boxes and the homeowner telling me they hardly ever used their benches. As for arbors, most homeowners appreciated having them for the shade on those hot summer days.
Today I hardly ever build planters, benches, or arbors, unless it is such a large project that needs a little something to balance out the project, hide something, or allow for a transition of some sort. The one item I do catch myself doing on almost every project today is Deck Lighting.
Deck lighting serves several different purposes and seems practical. Deck lighting on stairs serves as a safety issue especially if you do not have a flood light facing your stairs. Deck lighting on the railing puts out a soft light giving you a nice ambience. Most things come and go, but I feel this one is here to stay.
If you want to add deck light to your projects there are a few things you need to know. The first thing you need to know is; are you allowed to install the deck lighting yourself or do you need a licensed electrician? You also need to ask the chief electrical inspector does the electrician need to have a low voltage electrical license or can any licensed electrician do low voltage deck lighting? I would have thought that a licensed electrician could install low voltage lighting, but this is not always true. I would say that 95% of electricians do not have a low voltage licenses. You will need to check with your local building permit office for these answers.
Last thing to remember, all deck lighting companies are different, some lights are plastic and some are aluminum/metal, and the most important issue is; does the homeowner want subtle lighting or brighter lighting? Deck lights with clear lenses give out a brighter light, but can at times have a glare.