Don’t let nightfall drive you indoors this summer. Instead, illuminate your deck with Trex deck lighting. Once you see the effect of highlighting your favorite plants and deck features, you won’t want to go inside. And there’s a safety factor, too. If you light the stairway and railings, you won’t trip over the garden hose!
The Trex LED 12-volt system has several distinct advantages over standard household (120- volt) wiring. It’s much less dangerous, and the actual wiring methods are less exacting.
A low-voltage system begins with a Trex 100 watt transformer that plugs into a standard GFCI exterior receptacle. The transformer converts the power from 120 volts to 12 volts and sends the current through special outdoor cable to light the Trex fixtures. The only special tool you’ll need to install this system is a wire stripper. The rest are just basic carpentry and garden tools.
One great feature of a low-voltage system is the wide variety of fixture finishes and shapes to choose from to complement your home. You’ll find a limited selection at home centers, but a wider variety at local lighting specialty stores and through online catalogs. Keep in mind that you can also buy complete ground-level landscape lighting kits, but you’ll have to buy individual components (transformer, cable, fixtures, lamps and connectors) for a Trex deck lighting system.
Make a sketch of your deck along with the chairs and tables. To simulate the effect of each fixture on and off your deck, buy an inexpensive clamp-on work light with a metal reflector shade. Along with the clamp light, buy 25- and 40-watt standard frosted incandescent bulbs and a 45- or 50-watt reflector flood bulb. As evening approaches, install the 25-watt bulb and plug the clamp light into an extension cord. Then clamp the lamp at different locations on your deck, turn it on and observe the lighting effects. This will simulate the various fixtures we used in our deck plan. Keep the light low (about 2 ft. off the deck surface) to prevent glare. Try a 40-watt bulb if you want more light. Mark the most desirable locations on your drawing.
Pay particular attention to lighting areas like the stairway and transitions to different deck levels. For these locations, install the spot bulb for more focused light.