A deck light can create ambience in your outdoor living area. There are a variety of lighting options available. A motion detecting spotlight may ward off approaching animals or intruders at night, soft string lights will add a festive feel to your deck. You can create silhouettes, shadows, moonlight, or even showcase plants along the edge of the deck when designing your deck lighting. Deck post lighting is very versatile and will allow you to create many of these lighting alternatives. Once installed you can change the effect you have created simply by changing the light bulb or redirecting the angle of the post light. Using the right tools and following some general directions will help make installing your deck post lighting a moderately inexpensive project.
Step 1 - Design
Determine how many deck post lights you want to install and where you want to position them. Consider the voltage when purchasing your low voltage transformer. The lighting kit you purchase should include the correct transformer.
Step 2 - Measure
Locate the outdoor GFI power source. Measure how much distance you need to cover to feed wire to each post light location. Add about 15% to allow ample slack if needed.
Step 3 - Position the Deck Post Lights
Place the post lights next to the posts where you plan to install the lights.
Step 4 - Draw the Wiring
From the power source draw the wires to the post lights. Run the wires from the power source under the deck or along the bottom edge of the deck. You will attach the wires to the deck later. Attach the wire to the lighting unit, then install the lights.
Step 5 - Install the Post Lights
Install the post lights following the manufacturer’s instructions; most light wiring is capped with a self striper. When you remove the cap, the wire is stripped.
Step 6 - Install the Transformer
Turn off the power at the breaker that powers the GFI outlet before beginning any electrical work to this area. Follow manufactures’ instruction for installing the transformer. The transformer box should be attached to a joist close to the power source. Draw the wiring through a piece of conduit from the transformer box to the ground or the deck edge. With the wiring separated strip each wire approximately ½ inch and attach to the transformer. Turn the power on, check the deck lighting. If the lights work, turn off the power and proceed to attach the wiring to the deck. If the lights do not work, turn off the power and retrace your wiring steps.
Step 7 - Conceal the Wires
Start at the lamp and draw the wires towards the transformer. Run the wires down the inside of the post, flat and tight but not too tight. Use a staple gun or wire staples which can be tapped in with a hammer. Space permitting; attach the wires to the boards under the deck, if not run the wires along the edge of the deck.