How Deck Lighting Improves Your Stairs’ Safety and Aesthetics

Good lighting design adds ambiance to your outdoor entertaining areas, highlighting architectural details and foliage. It also increases your home’s curb appeal – 85% of home buyers placed exterior lighting on their list of most wanted outdoor features in 2019.

Your deck is one of the most important exterior features of your home; it increases your living area, adds extra space for entertaining, and provides an attractive spot to spend time outdoors. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your deck stairs are attractive and safe as well.

Incorporating lighting into your deck stairs is not just attractive; it will increase safety for your family and guests after dark. Whether you’re building a new deck or upgrading an existing one, lighting should be an important part of the plan.

Light Your Deck Stairs For Safety and Security

The immediate benefit of lighting your deck stairs is improved safety for your family and guests. Outdoor flood lights cast shadows that can make it harder to see the stairs. Some people don’t see well at dusk, and when the sun goes down, one misstep can cause a fall. The risk goes up when you’re carrying food or outdoor furnishings up and down, or tidying up the yard after dark.

In addition to making your deck stairs safer and more attractive, lighting is an important security feature. When deck stairs are lit, you can see if anyone is outside. Someone thinking of breaking in will be deterred by a brightly-lit home and move on.

The Best Lighting For Outdoor Stairs:

Depending on the design of your deck stairs and type of railing, you can choose from several types of outdoor lighting. Lights on post caps are popular, but they’re not the only options. For the safest deck stairs, use a combination of general lighting and spotlights to make sure the treads and railings are well-lit.

There are light fixtures designed specifically to illuminate stair treads, railings, and balusters. Varying levels of brightness (and color) help to make the most of your outdoor lighting design. Modern LED lighting uses very little electricity and can be incorporated into deck stair designs in creative ways.

Image Courtesy of Trex

Image Courtesy of Trex

For lighting that lasts for years, the best products have a strong metal housing like aluminum, and a powder-coated or protective finish.

Post Cap Lighting For Deck Stairs:

Post caps are an excellent general lighting product for deck stairs, since they’re close to eye level and help illuminate the stair railings. Lantern-style post lights are often added at the top or bottom of deck stairs to provide bright, general lighting.

Post cap lighting is available in a wide variety of styles and finishes, so it’s easy to find lights that match your home’s architecture. For low, ambient lighting, a simple light kit that installs inside the post emits a warm light from underneath the cap.

Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing
Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing

Other designs include a ring of light that’s integrated into the post cap’s design.

Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing
Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing

Post cap lighting is fairly simple to install, and most products are designed to work with standard post sizes. Manufacturers of aluminum or plastic posts also offer lighting that’s specially designed to work with their product. You’ll find post caps in both lit and unlit versions, which ensures a uniform deck stair design if you choose not to light every post.

Surface-Mounted LED Lighting For Outdoors:

These small, bright lights are designed to be sunk into a flat surface, so they’re perfect for use on outdoor stairs. Add them to stair treads or risers, in combination with other lighting.

Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing
Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing

Surface-mounted LEDs provide excellent illumination, and they can be used as decorative uplights for balusters or landscaping. They’re easily installed on both wood and synthetic deck material. Add decorative value to your deck stairs by highlighting the plantings along the way:

Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing
Photo Courtesy of Fortress Railing

Post-Mounted Lights for Safe Deck Stairs:

Post-mounted LED lights are simple, energy-efficient fixtures that attach to the sides of your deck stair posts. They usually point downwards to wash the stair treads with light. Easy to install, they make an excellent lighting solution for deck stairs because they focus light where people need it most.

Unlike bright lights at eye level, post mounted lights provide soft lighting that stays out of your eyes as you climb stairs. Depending on the deck stairs’ location and design, you may need a combination of post-mounted lights and other light fixtures for adequate illumination.

Photo Courtesy of Archadeck
Photo Courtesy of Archadeck

Outdoor Lighting for Balusters and Rails:

Universal LED lighting is a flexible, low-voltage lighting solution that can be incorporated into deck stairs in a number of creative ways. Designed to be installed in almost any location, it can be used on the undersides of handrails, or between balusters for decorative effect. Since it illuminates in a linear fashion, it’s ideal for highlighting glass balusters, or as strip lighting along stair treads. LED’s can also be programmed to change color when it’s party time.

Photo Courtesy of Classic Railing Systems
Photo Courtesy of Classic Railing Systems

If you’re looking to extend the use of your deck beyond sunset, there are a variety of lighting options that will provide you with a deck that’s bright, beautiful, and safe any time of day or night. Give us a call at 1-877-SEALADECk, and one of our deck specialists will show you a number of options. No matter what size budget you’re working with, you will be able to find an attractive lighting solution that meets your needs.

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