A Comparison of the Different Materials Used for Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
For homeowners considering a landscape lighting installation, one of the most challenging decisions is the type of fixtures to choose from. To get the most from your investment into the outdoor lighting, the quality of the materials that are used for the fixtures is key to getting the most value out of your investment.
Because outdoor lighting is constantly exposed to the elements, it’s important to choose a material that will be able to handle these demands and will continue to function optimally for many years. Typically, the better the quality, the better the warranty and the more you will pay initially for a quality fixture with a manufacturer that will stand behind the warranty if needed.
There are several different options, ranging from composite plastics to metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper, with each offering different benefits.
Composite Plastic Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
The primary benefit of plastic fixtures is that they’re often much cheaper compared to metal fixtures. But they come with a long list of disadvantages as, within a short space of time (6-12 months), they’re likely to start degrading and breaking down when exposed to the full impact of outdoor weather. This will result in a shortened bulb life and you’ll need to replace your fixtures more frequently than would be the case with other materials. In effect, if you want your outdoor lighting system and installation costs to last. Plastic composite fixtures are not a good investment and will work out to be more expensive in the long run because they require frequent replacement and human maintenance time in labor to keep the system running.
Aluminum Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Aluminum fixtures are another affordable option but are also usually lower quality. Compared to other options, they are significantly less durable and should not be chosen if you want an outdoor lighting installation to last for a long time and give you a predictable lighting experience along with the safety that comes from proper outdoor lighting design and installation. Constant rain, soil, and exposure to the elements make the metal likely to oxidize and the paint will fade quickly. You’re likely to notice these effects in summer as aluminum fixtures are affected by UV rays. Powder coating works to extend the life of the fixtures, sealing the aluminum, but within just a few years from installation, you will notice discoloration of the fixtures. If the fixtures are low quality, the paintwork will noticeably chip, peel or even crumble when you touch it.
Brass Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Brass fixtures, made from a mixture of copper and zinc, are a good option for landscape lighting in Alpharetta. Brass is a hard metal and fixtures made from this metal will last for many years and may come with extended warranties. But it's important to be aware that there are different quality brass fixtures, which will affect their durability. Brass will naturally develop a patina over time when exposed to the elements and, even though it’s a bit more expensive than aluminum, it is a lot more durable and long-lasting.
Copper Outdoor Lighting Fixtures
Copper is the best option, offering longevity and a beautiful patina as it ages. Copper has been used for thousands of years and offers strength and durability, excellent thermal conductivity, and is extremely resistant to corrosion. An additional benefit is that copper is a sustainable, eco-friendly material that is recyclable and retains its value. This gives incentives to its retention and re-use compared to other, less valuable, metals.
Choosing the right material for your outdoor lighting fixtures
Southern Landscape Lighting Systems in Alpharetta, GA recommends using a corrosion-resistant material such as brass or copper. If you’re looking for the best quality material that will last longer and deliver consistently beautiful results, copper fixtures are the best choice.
It’s an important choice because corrosion is the primary concern for outdoor lighting, which is usually caused by moisture. Copper doesn’t react to contact with water and will slowly react with the air forming the patina for which copper is known. This patina process gives the fixtures a subtle, natural finish, allowing them to blend seamlessly into your garden’s landscape.
Alpharetta area residents looking for a landscape and outdoor lighting design and installation company may find the expertise of Lindsey Rodericks and her team at Southern Landscape Lighting Systems a perfect choice for advice, design, sales, and outdoor lighting installation services.