What Are the Best Types of Saltwater Outdoor Lighting


Living along the North Carolina coast is amazing – great seafood, beautiful scenery, and a fresh salty sea breeze that never gets old. But that same salt air can do major damage to your exterior lighting, causing rust and corrosion in a short period of time, if you don’t buy the right kind of lighting. Not sure what kind to get? We’re sharing the four best types of saltwater outdoor lighting you can depend on to hold up to the constant onslaught of salt.

Copper Outdoor Lighting for a Classic Look

Copper lighting is beautiful straight out of the packaging with it’s rich, yet subtle sheen. Over time, copper gets even better, developing a gorgeous greenish patina that allows it to age gracefully, making it a perfect update to a historic home. While the salt air does speed up the formation of the patina, it still takes several years to take on that green cast, and as it forms, the layer creates a barrier of protection over the fixture.

Naval Brass for Vibrant, Visible Exterior Lighting

Naval brass, also called marine brass, is designed specifically to be strong, resistant to corrosion, and able to withstand salt water. In fact, this metal, made from around 60 percent copper, 39.2 percent zinc, and .75 percent tin, is often used in propeller shafts, marine hardware, and industrial applications. While it’s traditionally a bright color, metal manufacturers can use a chemical mixture to change the color to a deeper, red-brown, blue-green, or even black. Most people prefer the traditional brass, as it stands out beautifully against coastal architecture and design aesthetic.

Runners Up: Stainless Steel and Composite Plastic

Stainless steel is a great choice for modern homes, and while it will corrode in salt water, in salt air, a layer of chromium oxide will form, protecting the metal. However, it’s important to know that sand, dirt, and dust will compromise the chromium oxide layer and leave the steel vulnerable to corrosion, but as long as you’re vigilant about cleaning it regularly, it will hold up and maintain its functional beauty.

For a long-lasting, economical option, a composite material like fiberglass polyurethane resin or ABS may be the right choice for your home. It doesn’t corrode though it doesn’t have the same beauty that metal materials bring.

Cleaning Your Exterior Lighting

While stainless steel needs frequent cleaning, all types of outdoor lighting should be kept clean to prevent acceleration of discoloration. This is especially important for lighting that is protected by an overhang or the roof line as rainwater won’t reach them to rinse them off. To clean your light fixtures, simply use warm water and a few drops of dish soap and wipe the metal, copper, or brass surface so it’s free of dirt or grime. Then, rinse with fresh water to remove any soap residue.

Contact Us for Exterior Lighting Solutions

If you want to get rid of old, corroded lighting and make a switch to a long-lasting solution, we can help. We work with homeowners and businesses around coastal North Carolina, installing and connecting beautiful, functional exterior lighting. To learn more, call us at  910-264-6782 or fill out the contact form below to get started.

Contact Form

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get back to you shortly.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.