This is a photo tutorial on how to install your low voltage deck lighting system from Moonlight Decks.
You can see our video tutorials on how to install low voltage deck lights here.
Deck Light Installations
Cool Idea for your Lighted Post Caps and Deck Lights
I just noticed at Home Depot that they have different colored wedge based bulbs that will fit the sockets that I use. I did see red and green, so if you are interested in a little festive holiday lighting on your deck, it would only take about a minute or two to change out the regular bulbs to these holiday color bulbs. And they were cheap too! I think they were around $5 for a package of 3.
How much does it cost?
90% of our clients’ installations range from $1,000-$3,000. This includes the fixtures, transformer, labor, and materials. Estimate your deck
How long does it take to install?
Most systems take 3 – 6 hours to install.
Will installation damage my deck, or yard and landscape?
Post cap installation – the wiring is run underneath the hand rail. We try to hide as much of the wiring as possible. Small holes are drilled into the post from the sides underneath the handrail. A 1 inch diameter hole is drilled into the top of the post approximately 6 inches deep, or however deep you need to go to reach below the handrail, to accomodate the wiring of the light kit. The lights are then wired and the post cap sits on top of the post and is secured with small screws.
Of course if you only want the caps without the lighting system then the only damage to the deck is the small attachment screws.
Doing it yourself?
Installation tips –
Plan out your wiring before you start.
I usually use a 300 watt transformer from Lowe’s or Home Depot. They are the easiest to install and maintain. If you have more than 14 lights you will need another transformer or one that can handle more watts.
I usually use a 1” auger bit (approximately 15” long) to drill down just off center of the top of the post to just below the handrail. Draw 2 lines from corner to corner making an “X” on the top of the post. This is where you need to center the bulb. So when you drill down through the top of the post in order to run your wire up through it, drill just slightly off center to allow for the placement of the bulb.
Then I use a ½” bit to drill at an angle from underneath the handrail up into the 1” hole. I also use a 1 3/4″ Forstner bit drilled down about an inch over the existing 1″ auger bit hole to give me some room to make my connections and stuff them below the base of the post cap. Then blow out the sawdust as best as possible.
Then I usually pick a post that is close to the house and run my low voltage 16 gauge wire up that post, then under the handrail, and up through the ½” hole, and finally make my connections to the sockets.
I run the wire from post to post underneath the handrail making my connections to the sockets inside each post. Staple the wire up to the underneath side of the handrail. Be sure not to staple through the wire! Make sure the staple goes cleanly around the wire.
*If you are building your deck, another great way to wire it is to take off the hand rail and router the top 2×4 to lay your wire into. Then drill your holes up into the post. This way, you definitely won’t see any wire. Just be careful when you put the handrail back on not to screw into your wire.
*If you want to hide the wire going up the post to your caps, you can use a router again and notch out a spot for the wire up the post. Then add a decorative piece of wood to cover it up.
Make your connections to the light socket. Use the black wood screw to attach the light sockets to the top of the post, centered so that the cap fits over the bulb. The bulb and socket need to be at the very center of the post. Again, the best way to do this is to draw 2 lines from corner to corner making an “X” on the top of the post. This is where you need to center the bulb. So when you drill down through the top of the post in order to run your wire up through it, drill just slightly off center to allow for the placement of the bulb.
Finally, use the wood screws with the black pan heads to screw the base into the post or check out some different screw colors at your local hardware store.
FYI – The smooth post caps have a slightly lower profile. So you may need to recess the socket about a 1/2 Inch into the top of the post if you don’t get it perfectly centered.
How do I control the lights?
A timer, located inside the transformer, controls the system. It is set to your desired on/off times. You can also use a photo cell with the transformer.
If you live in the Kansas City area, and would like to see the post caps in person, please call me for a free estimate.
If you are not comfortable wiring up your deck, consult an electrician or landscape lighting professional.
Moonlight Decks LLC will not be held responsible for any faulty wiring that causes a fire or other damage.