Are you trying to decide which type of outdoor lighting fixtures to select for your lighting system? With so many different options available, it can be an overwhelming decision to make.
Fixtures have to withstand the harsh environmental elements of the outdoors. In Nebraska, that includes everything from extreme heat to rain, snow, ice, and hail.
Most landscape lighting fixtures are made from composite, aluminum, brass, or copper. Some of these materials withstand the environmental demands better than others. Selecting fixtures made from high-quality materials will help you get the most out of your investment.
You'll find more information on each type of fixture material outlined below:
Made from a mixture of plastics, composite fixtures can offer better structural strength than the lighting sets sold in hardware and big box stores.
Composite fixtures are more affordable than comparable metal fixtures but lack the quality. Over a relatively short period, composite fixtures will begin to degrade and break down under the stress of the outdoor elements. This can lead to shortened bulb life and costly fixture replacement.
Aluminum is very affordable and typically lower quality. It's not as durable as other materials and will not endure long periods of time outside; over time, it will oxidize, and the paint will fade.
Power coating will extend the life of an aluminum fixture, as the paint will seal the aluminum - but they're highly affected by the sun's UV rays. In just a few years after installation, you can expect to see discoloration, or depending on their quality, even chipping, and peeling.
Aluminum is not recommended for coastal applications. It doesn't hold up well around salt and will corrode over time.
Made from a mixture of copper and zinc, brass is a hard metal that holds up well in all environments. Brass fixtures will last for many years and will often have extended warranties.
Brass will naturally patina (turn darker) over time when exposed to the elements, but it will not corrode. While brass fixtures can be more expensive than some of the other metals, it is the best quality and most durable metal, lasting the longest.
Brass is a great option for your landscape lighting system!
Copper is another great high-quality option. People have been utilizing copper for thousands of years, and for good reason! It is used in a wide range of products due to its excellent thermal conductivity, strength, and resistance to corrosion. Copper, like brass, will patina when exposed to the outdoor elements.
Copper is not as solid as brass, but brass fixtures coated with copper provide the best of both worlds: the longevity of brass and the beauty of copper.
High heat retention can negatively impact the life of a bulb. Copper fixtures are designed with metals that allow heat to escape the fixture efficiently. It keeps moisture out while letting heat escape through the metal itself.
What's the best outdoor lighting fixture material?
Now that you know all about the different types of materials, you might still be wondering which one is the best.
At McKay Lighting, we prefer to use fixtures made from corrosion resistant materials like copper and brass. Since brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc, these metals are far superior to materials like plastic or low-grade metals used in cheaply made lighting fixtures.
After decades of trying and testing different types of fixtures, we've found the higher quality materials like copper and brass have proven their value in the long term, time and time again.
Why outdoor lighting fixture quality matters:
Corrosion is always a concern with outdoor lighting, and electrical in general. When corrosion is found, it's usually due to moisture. Copper does not react with water, but it does slowly react with atmospheric oxygen to form a layer of brown-black copper oxide, which, unlike rust that forms when iron is exposed to moist air, protects the underlying copper from more extensive corrosion.
This is why we prefer to use copper and copper alloy fixtures. As mentioned, copper and brass fixtures will turn a slightly darker color as they patina. This patina process will give fixtures a very natural and subtle finish which will allow them to seamlessly accent your home and landscaping.
High-quality materials are more durable and resistant to corrosion. In the long run, you'll appreciate having fixtures that function years later instead of ones you need to replace every couple of years or so.
At McKay Lighting, we only offer high-quality, specifier grade architectural landscape lighting fixtures that are proven and reliable. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us or schedule a free consultation online.
Landscape lighting is what we do. Every day.
We’ve been in the landscape industry since 1987, becoming a dedicated landscape lighting firm in 1992. Our team has years of experience creating and installing unique and elegant outdoor lighting designs, and providing maintenance and repair services to homes and businesses across the nation. Our award-winning company has been voted Best of Omaha and Best of Houzz by the community.
Located in Omaha, McKay Lighting services Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota areas, including Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Des Moines, Kearney, the surrounding areas and beyond.