Are you wondering what kind of lighting you should choose for that new garage you are building? Or are you renovating your existing garage and considering better lighting options that will work with the style of your home? With these helpful tips, you should have no trouble finding the perfect lighting for your garage.
Sketch a Plan of Your Garage
First, get some paper and a pen or pencil, and sketch out your plan for your new (or newly remodeled) garage. Include everything that you’re going to put in it, like:
- A workbench and/or workshop area
- Seasonal storage
- Wall hooks or peg boards and space to hang things from the walls
- Household appliances and/or equipment (e.g., a refrigerator or freezer, central vacuum, etc.)
After you make your initial sketch, think about how high your ceiling is and whether or not you’re going to use the space above your garage door as extra storage.
After you have a few sketches that give you an overall three‑dimensional plan for your garage, you’ll have what you need to figure out how much lighting you’ll need and what kind.
Your Lighting Options
Next, you’ll need to know what kinds of light bulbs you can choose from. These include:
- Fluorescent – Fluorescent light bulbs are common and inexpensive, and you’ll usually find them mounted on the ceiling. Tubular in shape, fluorescent light blubs work through the ionization of mercury vapor contained in them. The insides of these bulbs are coated in phosphor, and the tint or colour of this coating will determine the colour of the light that they emit.
- Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) – You’ve probably seen CFLs before. They’re usually shaped like spirals and fit into the same types of fixtures as standard incandescent They offer more light and use less energy, too. The quality of the light is more natural, as well, and the average CFL will last up to 10,000 hours, meaning you’ll change your bulbs 10 times less than you would with incandescent bulbs.
- Halogen – Not quite as low‑energy as CFLs, halogen light bulbs still offer better energy efficiency than incandescent bulbs. In general, if you go with halogen bulbs, you’ll save an average of 33% on your energy usage, as these bulbs usually last around 3000 hours. They also come in a wide range of shapes and styles, and you can get them in different colours, too, including clear, white, or bright.
- Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) – LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than standard incandescent bulbs, with an energy savings of about 90%. While they aren’t quite as energy efficient as CFLs, they stay cool to the touch while illuminated, meaning they may save on other energy expenditures, such as cooling your garage in the summer. Their initial cost is a bit higher, but they last so long that you will make up that cost when you don’t have to replace them every few months.
Which Option Is Best for You?
Most lighting pros will tell you that fluorescents are the best option, as far as performance goes. They do make a slight buzzing noise, and it can take a little bit of time for them to get to their maximum illumination, though. If that’s not a problem for you, you’ll want to know which fluorescent bulb option is best for you:
You’ll have three basic options – T5, T8, and T12. These numbers refer to the diameter of a fluorescent bulb’s tube in eights of an inch, and the most often recommended of them is the T8. Why?
- Get more energy efficiency while getting the same light output of a T12 tube.
- T8 tubes provide more natural‑looking light.
- Because they come in rapid‑start ballasts instead of instant‑start ballasts, T8 bulbs tend to last much longer than larger bulbs that come in instant‑start ballasts.
- Getting four‑foot T8 tubes (instead of eight‑foot tubes) will mean even more energy savings without losing any significant light.
Now that you know that a T8 fluorescent tube is probably the best way to go, you’ll just need to decide what light intensity you want. If you’re looking for warmer light, go with 3000K tubes. If you’re looking for very cool light, go with 5000K, or you could go with something in between if you want a more neutral light.
After you choose your bulbs (or tubes), keep in mind that the placement of your lighting will matter, as well. If you’re installing a workbench, you may want to go with some supplemental lighting, as well as an overhead fluorescent lighting system. Once you’ve got that taken care of, you’ll just need to choose the best exterior lighting for your garage. For both supplemental lighting and exterior lights, we generally recommend CFLs, as they’re energy efficient, attractive, and bright.
Want to Replace Your Garage Door?
Whether you’re building a new garage or renovating an existing one, you should definitely look into your options for a new garage door. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions about choosing and installing a new weather‑tight and well‑insulated garage door. You can see all that we have to offer at our showroom, and you can get an online quotation, as well.
Want to see what your garage door will look like when it’s installed on your home? Check out our Design Centre. You can upload a picture of your home and then try out different models and styles. And, if you want more ideas about different garage doors, check out our image gallery. To find out more about all your options, contact us today at:
- London: 519-685-9797
- Mount Pleasant: 905-304-9700
- Guelph: 519-821-4400
- Goderich: 519-482-3251