Is a bare bulb the only light source in your garage? Looking for lighting advice for the garage you’re building?
Nowadays, we’ve recognized the importance of quality lighting. It creates a safe and secure space to park your car, to work on tasks or to access your stored items. Great lighting also makes your garage look good, on the inside and outside.
Selecting the right lights doesn’t need to be complicated. Let’s look at bright lighting solutions for your garage!
Start With a Plan
Every great project starts with a plan. Make a drawing of your garage and label each area, including:
- Storage for large items like appliances and equipment
- Shelving cabinets
- Work surfaces
Make sure to use any available vertical space. Shelves can be mounted above your garage door and serve as a storage area for seasonal articles and other mementoes.
After deciding where everything goes, you can plan your lighting accordingly. Generally, you’ll need some form of overhead fixture as well as specific task lighting to properly illuminate work zones. Windows can also be included in your plan – which can easily be added to a garage door.
Once you know where to mount your lights, you will need to choose your fixtures. But with so many kinds of lightbulbs, where do you start? Here are our recommendations for your garage:
Also called fluorescent lamps or fluorescent tubes, these bulbs are easy to spot with their long, tubular form. They consist of a sealed glass tube which is coated with phosphor powder. Each tube has a small amount of mercury and argon gas, so they must be handled carefully. Fluorescent bulbs come in many strengths and sizes. They are a good choice for the garage because they are reasonably priced, easily available and provide good illumination.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFLs)
One more popular choice is a CFL bulb. Affordable and broadly available, CFLs come in many sizes and colors – from a warm white to a bright, bluish one. These bulbs have a spiral shape and deliver a good quantity of light. In addition, they are very energy efficient, using only 25% of the energy of a standard incandescent bulb. CFLs also last about ten times longer, with a lifecycle of 10,000 hours, and stay cool to the touch.
Another good option for the garage is a halogen. Despite the fact that they are not as efficient as CFLs, halogens are still a better choice than incandescent bulbs. Expect this bulb to last about 3,000 hours. Some homeowners prefer halogens since they aren’t made with mercury and they give a clear, bright white light. These bulbs come in many sizes, so it’s easy to find one to fit any lighting fixture.
Light Emitting Diode (LEDs)
LEDs are the most energy efficient lightbulbs currently for sale. They only use about 10% of the power of a traditional incandescent bulb. LEDs have one of the longest expected lifespans. The biggest drawback? LEDs are the most costly bulbs to buy. Fortunately, prices keep getting better, so they are getting more affordable. LEDs are a good choice for directional light fixtures. They do not include any led or mercury so they are safe to use, and they stay cool to the touch.
For Fluorescents, Which Size Is Best?
If your favorite option is a fluorescent bulb, you’re not the only one. If you have not used fluorescents in the past, you should know that they need a few moments to warm up and reach maximum intensity. Fluorescents also make a low humming sound.
Fluorescent bulbs are available in many sizes and are labelled with codes like T5, T8 or T12. The letter T stands for the fluorescent tube’s diameter, measured in eighths of an inch. We prefer T8 bulbs for the following reasons:
- The T8 produces almost as much light as the larger T12 while being more energy efficient.
- T8 bulbs give off a more natural light.
- T8 bulbs are typically built with rapid-start ballasts – a component that lasts longer than its counterpart, the instant-start ballast.
- We prefer 4-foot over 8‑foot fluorescent tubes. The shorter length is easier to install, offers better energy savings and gives a comparable amount of light.
Lightbulbs are available in a range of intensities, from warm tones (3000K) to cool whites (5000K).
Last but not least are the fixtures on the exterior of your home. Good outdoor lights are crucial near the garage. Wall sconces, pot lights or other exterior‑grade fixtures are all suitable choices. Install lights above your garage door, at your front door and near all footpaths. In outdoor fixtures, we advise using CFLs as they perform best in bad weather.
Ready for a New Garage Door?
If you’re in the market for a new garage door, contact us at 515-276-3700. Visit our showroom, where our team can give you a demonstration of our insulated, weatherproof garage doors. Bring in a picture of the exterior of your house and we’ll help you select a stunning garage door, one that compliments the architectural style of your home.
In need of a little inspiration? Why not lose yourself in our image gallery? To see how our garage doors look on your own home, use our design center. As soon as you upload a picture of your home, you’re ready to test out our various door designs, colors and finishing touches, like windows and hardware. Once you design the door of your dreams, complete our online form for an easy, no obligation estimate!