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Your Deck Lights Inspiration Guide

April 19, 2022
Deck lights include in-deck lighting and temporary lights for deck designs

Considering deck lights for your outdoor living space? You’ve come to the right place. This inspiration guide covers everything from the types of lights for deck builds to inspirational ideas and best practices for installation.

But before you dive into your lighting options, first learn just how lights for deck builds can enhance your space. 

Deck lights in the stairs and railing of a gray composite deck increase ambience and visibility

Benefits of Deck Lights

✓ Gives your deck an inviting, ambient glow

✓ Increases visibility at night for added safety and functionality

✓ Helps to accentuate deck design features such as your railing, stairs, deck board colors, and more.

Now that you know what benefits deck lights deliver, you’re ready to consider your lighting options to determine which will best suit your space.

Deck Lighting Options: Permanent & Temporary

Lights for deck builds fall under two main categories: permanent lighting that is built into your deck structure and temporary lighting which exists outside the deck structure.

You can choose to use one type of lights for deck builds or combine both types for unique illumination across your design.

Deck lights along the railing of a bayside composite deck

Benefits to Permanent Lighting

An all-weather solution: Don’t worry about losing your string lights in the storm, built-in lighting is durable against the elements.

✓ Long-term value: With enduring performance, permanent lighting helps you avoid the frequent replacements often required by temporary lighting.

✓ Spotlights your design: Lighting built into your deck draws the eye to the attractive design features and aesthetic beauty of your space.

Temporary deck lights like candles lend a warm flickering glow to your space

Benefits to Temporary Lighting

✓ Often captures a boho feel: Layering temporary options like luminaries, string lights, and paper lanterns creates a whimsical, relaxed feel.

✓ Works well in smaller spaces: Not much surface area to work with? The subtle illumination of temporary lighting may be a good fit.

✓ Easy installation: Temporary options offer the easiest installation but are also more likely to require replacement.

The Best Deck Lights: Discover the TimberTech® Lighting Portfolio

Wondering “what is the best deck light?” The answer is permanent deck lights that give you the ambient glow you want with the long-term performance you need.

The TimberTech® Lighting Portfolio features several built-in lighting options for your deck railing, surface, and stairs, so you’re sure to find the right light — or combination — that works for you. Plus, our lighting comes with a 5-Year Limited Lighting Warranty so you have peace of mind your investment is worth it.

Best Practices for Lighting Installation

The best practices for installing your deck lights will depend on the type of lighting you’ve chosen.

Temporary lighting is often easy to install on your finished deck. Simply hang your string lights and plug them in or light your lanterns. If you’re using candles with an open flame, never leave them unattended.

Permanent lighting will likely need to be installed at the time of your deck build or during a resurfacing due to the need for electrical wiring at the substructure level. While you can install built-in lighting yourself, we recommend working with a contractor to ensure no wires are crossed.

If you do decide to install TimberTech lighting yourself, be sure to first:

Now that you have a good overview of your lighting options as well as DIY best practices, get ideas for how you can incorporate different types of deck lights into your design.

Ideas for Deck Post Lights

Deck lights in the railing caps illuminate the perimeter of a richly hued composite deck

Deck post lights are an elegant way to add illumination to your deck perimeter. Lights for deck posts can bring visibility to transition points, such as stairs, while also highlighting the details of your railing design.

Your deck post light options include:  

  • Post cap lights
  • Lighted island caps
  • Accent lights

Ways to Incorporate Lights for Deck Posts Into Your Design

Ideas for Deck Rail Lighting

Deck lights in a composite deck railing provide a warm glow

Deck posts aren’t the only railing component where you can add illumination. In addition to post cap lights and accent lights, you can also add under-rail lighting for a subtle glow along your rails.

Your deck rail lighting options include:

  • Post cap lights
  • Lighted island caps
  • Accent lights
  • Under-rail light

Ways to Incorporate Lights for Deck Railing Into Your Design

Ideas for Deck Stair Lighting

Lights for deck stairs include deck lights in the risers of curved cascading stairs

Thinking about adding deck stairs to your design, or already have a set of stairs? Deck stair lighting helps you avoid spills by increasing visibility for every step and showcases the dimensionality of your backyard build.

TimberTech riser lights are just one option for deck stair lighting, along with the deck railing and post lights discussed above. Riser lights install right into your stair risers (the board perpendicular to the stair surface) so you can enjoy well-lit steps as the stars come out.

Deck stair lighting includes:

  • Riser lights
  • All deck rail lighting options

Ways to Incorporate Lighting Into Your Stair Design

Bring Your Bright Ideas to Life

With the resources and inspiration you need to start on your deck lights project, you’re ready to bring your bright ideas to life in our 3D Deck Designer tool. Play with your lighting options to determine which light or combination of lights work for your space. Plus, once you lock in your deck design, you can share it with your TimberTech-registered contractor so they can help turn your vision into reality.

Turn your deck dream into design

Play with shapes, colors, lighting, and railing to bring your deck ideas to life with our custom Deck Designer tool.

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