We’ve all been in a garage, once – let’s call it unfinished – you know, lit by one incandescent bulb, hanging from a bare fixture from the back part of the room, and maybe you even have to walk over there a bit, in the dark, to pull the string. Can you hear the solemn music in the background? No one uses a garage like this, except maybe to store things they are never planning to use again, or hide a body. Rarely do you even park your car in here. You don’t want to be the neighbor with the “unfinished” garage. A garage is a big space, and one bare light is not adequate to light it!
What about your neighbor, you know the one, who paid a Lot of Money for his automatic garage door opener, complete with Lighting, and he isn’t going to spend more? He’s told his wife that the lighting is Adequate, despite the fact she has tripped twice and sprained her ankle once carrying in the groceries up the two unlit stairs into the house.
No matter what the wattage, the one or two incandescent lights over the garage door fixture are not enough to light the entire space. You need the proper shop lights for your garage. Besides, haven’t you noticed the annoying habit they have of going out just as you are reaching those steps?
One last approach to do-it-yourself lighting: The “where-were-you-on-the-night-of-the-fifth” approach. This is the neighbor who bought one or two of the brightest florescent he could find and pinned them up in the center of the garage. Not too bad, except when you are standing under them talking to your neighbor feeling like you’re being cross-examined by your friends standing off in the shadows at the edges. Not a real effective lighting technique if you are hanging out fixing the car together.
So what’s the solution? You’ve probably caught on by now: combination lighting. We’ve been talking about how to assess your needs, make a shop drawing, and find all the different kinds of lighting available. Now you want to evenly light your shop, and to do that you’ll need a combination of the types of lighting available. No one type of garage shop lighting will do the job sufficiently.
Overhead garage shop lighting is going to give you good general light to see your way. Combined with daylight from any windows you may have, they will also provide the ambiance of the garage and the overall safety. Under-cabinet fixtures and possibly track lighting are going to give you focused lighting on the exact areas you need it regularly. The track lighting is directional and will help you to light an area more intensively. Security lighting and/or incandescent lights will put a focus on areas like entries and stairs that you need more bright lighting and want lit for longer periods. A hand-held utility light is that one indispensable tool for flexible lighting needs.
Don’t skimp on your shop lights for garage. You want to be safe and comfortably lit, and…you don’t want to be the neighbor they’re all talking about!