What kind of lighting should I install in my garage?

If you’re wondering what lighting to install in your existing or new garage this article is for you.

Before you do anything else you should plan out your garage

Lighted house

Sketch out the layout of your future garage and how you are going to use each area. For example:

  • A workbench for DIY
  • Storage for seasonal items
  • An area to access tools and other items attached to the wall
  • Space for electrical appliances, such as a fridge or chest freezer, or central vacuum system

If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, you’ll even be able to make use of the extra space above the garage door. This could come in very handy as extra storage for those beloved belongings you just can’t part ways with.

Once you’ve planned out the set up of your garage and determined the total space, you’ll need to decide on the type and strength of lighting that best suits your needs.

What kind of lighting options are there?

These are the main type of lightbulbs currently available:

  • Fluorescent

    Fluorescent bulbs are the most common lighting types found in garages and are generally mounted to the ceiling. Often also called fluorescent tubes or lamps, they have a tubular shape and contain mercury vapour. The mercury vapour atoms are ionized creating light, the colour of the light depends on the phosphor coating inside the tube.

  • CFL or Compact Fluorescent Lamp
    Compact Fluorescent Lamp

    CFLs are available in a range of models, the most common used in homes is perhaps the spiral-shaped bulb. Unlike standard incandescent bulbs, they are cool to the touch. They are brighter and last about ten times longer than standard incandescent bulbs with an average life of 10,000 hours, while using 75% less energy.

  • Halogen

    Halogen bulbs are 33% more energy efficient than standard incandescent bulbs but do use more energy than CFLs. They are mercury-free and last for approximately 3,000 hours. Not unlike CFLs, halogen bulbs come in all shapes and sizes so you can easily find one that suits your purpose.

  • LED

    The most energy efficient lightbulbs on the market are LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). These bulbs are lead- and mercury-free, and use 90% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. People hesitate about making the switch to LEDs as their initial cost is high, however you soon recover this cost through energy savings. This is the ideal bulb for accent lighting that requires a directional beam.

But what should I choose?

The general consensus is that fluorescents are the best choice for general lighting purposes in garages. There are a couple of drawbacks, mainly that it takes some time for them to reach maximum brightness, and that you can hear a buzz when they are running.

That said, you now need to choose whether to go with T5, T8 or T12 fluorescents. The T represents the bulb’s diameter in eighths of an inch. The T8 is most often suggested as:

T12 and T8 Fluorescents
  • It produces the same amount of light as the T12 but uses less energy.
  • It produces a more natural light.
  • Unlike most fluorescents with instant-start ballasts (renowned for burning bulbs out too quickly), most T8 bulbs have rapid-start ballasts.
  • 4-foot tubes are generally recommended as opposed to 8-foot tubes, because they are easier to handle and use less energy.
Lighted Garage

Finally, you need to choose between a warmer light intensity (3000K) and a cooler light intensity (5000K).

You will need additional lighting in the areas you most often work in your garage, and don’t forget about the exterior lighting above your main garage door and the access door – CFLs are the best choice!

Considering purchasing a new garage door?

Contact us at 705-324-1005 if you’re unsure which type of garage door is best for you. If you prefer the one-on-one approach, pop in to our showroom, we’d love to show you our range and choices for your home. Don’t forget you can also get an online quote.

To get a realistic idea of how your new garage will look, upload a photo of your house to our Design Centre You can also browse through our image gallery.

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