Exterior Lighting Tips

Exterior Lighting Tips

Outdoor lighting makes the great outdoors even greater.

Outdoor entertaining is a big part of the Australian lifestyle. 

Nowadays the simple ‘sausage on a Barbie’ has been superseded by purpose built outdoor kitchens complete with stainless steel kitchens and pizza ovens.

 

Water features, swimming pools, extensive gardens and elaborate landscaping are now considered the norm.

 

Exterior lighting allows homeowners to showcase their homes by highlighting architectural details and illuminating landscape designs.

 

What to look for in exterior light fittings

As well as looking good and providing good quality light, exterior light fittings need to be able to withstand the rigours of the harsh Australian climate. That’s why it’s important to understand the specific qualities of each metal.

 

Copper

One of the best ways to add a rustic, antique look to the exterior of a home is to use copper outdoor lighting.

 

Copper can withstand the elements of heat, cold, rain, snow, wind, and bright sun and still look good after years of use. It has a very good natural resistive power against a wide range of different climates.

 

Copper can never rot, rust or corrode as in the early stages of weathering, films of copper oxide are formed on the exposed copper.

 

The copper oxide then turns into films of cuprous and cupric sulphide. These films (which range from green to black or brown depending upon the environment) darken the copper surface and give a splendid hue to the finish. The continued exposure then results in the sulphide films turning to a copper sulphate patina. This greenish patina is a natural protection against further corrosion of the copper.

 

The various stages of weathering allows copper light fittings to blend in with its own surroundings, making it the perfect choice for both traditional and contemporary housing styles

 

Famous Copper Extensions

Copper is used for buildings for both practical and aesthetic reasons.

The most famous example of this is the Statue of Liberty in New York, the tallest statue in the U.S.

Here in Australia you can see the iconic copper sphere atop the “Dimmys” department store in Richmond Victoria, the lattice dome above the “Forum” theatre in Flinders street, Melbourne; and the dome in Emerald Lakes on the Gold Coast Queensland.

 

                  

 

Stainless Steel

There are over 150 grades of stainless steel, of which fifteen are most commonly used.

 

Type 304 is the most common grade; classic 18/8 stainless steel is used mostly for cutlery.

 

Type 316 is the second most common grade. Used for food and surgical stainless steel uses, it is also known as marine grade stainless steel.

316 is also used in the building and marine industries

 

Storage tanks and tankers used to transport orange juice and other food are often made of stainless steel due to its corrosion resistance and antibacterial properties

 

Stainless steel is also used in commercial kitchens and food processing plants as it can be steam-cleaned and sterilised and does not need paint or other surface finishes.

 

Famous Stainless Steel Exteriors

316 Stainless steel was in vogue during the Art Deco period.

The most famous example of this is the upper portion of the Chrysler building in New York.

 

        

 

Aluminium

Aluminium is a soft, lightweight metal; non-magnetic and non-reflective with a matt silvery appearance caused by a thin layer of oxidation that forms quickly when the metal is exposed to air.

Aluminium is malleable, lightweight, and easily machined and cast.

It has excellent corrosion resistance and durability.

 

Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation*.

(* Passivation is the process of making a material "passive", usually by the deposit of a layer of oxide on its surface. This layer is usually an oxide or nitrite that is a few nanometres thick. Aluminium, for example, is passivated when it reacts with the air to form a protective layer of aluminium oxide, which prevents further air-aluminium reaction).

 

Some of the many uses for aluminium metal are in:

Packaging (drink cans, foil, etc.), construction (window & door frames.), a wide range of household items, from cooking utensils to cricket bats, watches and Exterior Lighting.

 

Aluminium - LM6 

Like Stainless steel, Aluminium LM6 exhibits excellent resistance to corrosion under both ordinary atmospheric and marine conditions.

 

Having a high resistance to corrosion and excellent cast ability, aluminium LM6 is suitable for most marine 'on deck' castings, motorcar and road transport fittings, large aluminium casting, e.g. security doors.

LM6 possesses excellent resistance to corrosion in seaside locations or salt-water environments, such as swimming pools.

 

Sand Casted

This is a casting process where molten metal is poured into a mould made of sand, which produces the rough texture.

Sand casting is the most commonly used casting process because of the cost effectiveness of the process.

 

In sand casting, the molten metal is poured into a cavity, which has a pattern that has been made of wood or metal. The pattern is an exact replica of the shape that the metal is to be casted in.

 

Molten metal is introduced into the cavity in the shape of the casting to be made. When the cast solidifies, the mould is broken to remove the castings.

 

Powder Coated Aluminium 

First used in Australia around 1967, powder coating is by far the youngest of the surface finishing techniques in common use today.                                                            

 

Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free flowing, dry powder. The coating is typically applied electro statically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin".

 

As powder coating creates a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint, it is mainly used for coating of metals, such as whitegoods, automobiles, bicycles, and exterior furniture.

 

Note: While cast and powder coated aluminium is a low maintenance metal and robust enough to resist most weather conditions, it is NOT suitable for seaside or coastal locations.

 

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a very durable material; it has a high impact-resistance, particularly suitable for use in applications that are exposed to weathering or UV-radiation.                  

 

Many products are manufactured from polycarbonate, including durable laser light roofing, lightweight luggage, automotive headlamp lenses, light fittings, CD’s / DVD’s, sunglass eyeglass and safety glasses lens.

 

Other miscellaneous items include computer cases, riot shields and visors, and motorcycle helmets.

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