Enhance Your Deck with Accent Lighting: Solar Post Caps

A contemporary touch that will wow your neighbors!

Decks are one of the most used yet overlooked parts of a house. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add beautiful accent lighting to your deck with solar post caps. They fit right on top of the posts along the railing of your deck, and the solar-powered feature means they will automatically turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. This project is really simple, and will be one of your favorites for its continuous “wow” factor. Let’s begin!

Materials and Tools

These solar post caps are also available at Home Depot: see here. They cost about $20 per solar post cap, so check both vendors to find which one is selling it for less. You’ll want one solar post cap per railing post on your deck, so count how many posts are on your deck and order that number of solar post caps.

Note that I’m using white caulk since our deck has a white vinyl railing cover. Match the color of the caulk to your deck railing, or go with a clear option that dries translucent:

Regardless of the color of the caulk, since this is an outdoor project make sure to use caulk that is 100% waterproof and mold/mildew resistant. See my tutorial here for how to use a caulk gun.

Step 1: Remove the old post caps

White deck railing with post cap and railing post highlighted in purple
Post caps slide on/off the tops of railing posts.

Post caps are designed to slide on/off the tops of railing posts, so gently lift up to slide off the old post caps. The adhesiveness of the caulk that was used to secure them in place has likely worn, so they will probably come off fairly easily. Use a little force if necessary, or use a paint stick/stirrer to help pry them off (I’d hesitate to use a screwdriver – it might permanently mark the vinyl railing cover). Here’s what the old post caps (non-solar) looked like on our deck:

White post cap on a table
Old, non-solar post cap.

Step 2: Apply caulk to the solar post cap and slide it onto the railing post

The new solar post caps will slide right onto the existing railing posts. To secure them in place and prevent moisture from building up inside the railing post, apply a generous amount of caulk to the inside of the post cap (as shown in the below picture). You can also apply some caulk to the top of the railing post. When you’re finished caulking, slide the new solar post cap onto the railing post.

Diagram showing where to add caulk to a post cap
Apply caulk to the inside of the new solar post cap to secure it in place.

Step 3: Enjoy your new solar post caps!

These solar post caps will surely impress guests and neighbors by adding that perfect touch of accent lighting! Note that they’re not meant to fully illuminate the deck, but rather provide a subtle amount of mood lighting. They’re amazing, and durable too. We’ve had ours up for over a year, and they’ve lasted through all four seasons (including a winter with 20+ inches of snow!).

Solar post gaps glowing at night
Deck with newly installed solar post caps, photographed at night.

Did you find this guide useful? How did your outdoor deck lighting project go? Let me know in the comments below!

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