Most LED strip enclosures (e.g. for mounting under stair risers or cabinets) direct the light in the opposite direction from the mounting surface. But I'm looking to direct light towards the surface where the enclosure is mounted. For vertical surfaces, this is called a "wall washer" (e.g. https://www.beeslighting.com/E41344-BZ). But what I want is a "floor washer" that I can mount under deck railings. It's gotta be waterproof and very sturdy/kick-resistant. Does such a thing exist? If so, what is it called so I can find them on Google?

I'm sure I'm not the first person to try to do downward-facing LED strips on a wood deck. Any ideas? If you've used something like this, did they work well? Any tips or things to watch out for?

Here's more details:

We're almost done with construction of our new deck made of ipe (it's a warm reddish wood) with wood railings over stainless steel posts and cables. The finished product will look kinda like the picture below, although our posts will be rectangular instead of circular.

enter image description here

The last big design decision we have to make is that we'd like to add perimeter accent lighting under the railings. At first our architect recommended to mount LED strips under the railings, but I didn't like the way they illuminated the steel cables instead of the wood, like you can see in this picture:

enter image description here

Instead, I'd like to see if there's some lighting solution that throws light down onto the wood. I originally proposed a second railing near the floor, and then mounting the lighting underneath that lower railing. But the extra stainless steel material and labor was too costly. So now I'm looking for a way to mount LED strips onto the decking under the railings, with the light directed down towards the wood.

I guess the simplest option would be to attach a wood strip maybe 1/2" above the deck and mount the LED strip under that. But I worry this might look a little clunky, and might be hard to maintain.

Another option could be some sort of metal channel that could be thinner and less maintenance-intensive than wood.

BTW, if I can't figure out a fixed-enclosure solution, we'll probably go with some sort of very long string of very dim rope lights, e.g. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MHDW44J or https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HYZF3LV, which won't be as fancy but will be a lot cheaper! ;-)

  • 1
    You might have some luck looking for landscaping / pathway lighting. I've seen some ground-level devices which have a 'bubble' out of the ground by no more than an inch and project the light out sideways on one side.
    – brhans
    Jun 30 at 11:49
  • 1
    Search “LED extrusion” for various companies that make assorted profiles for LED strip lighting, like angled, straight, edge lit, flush mount, etc.
    – achao
    Jun 30 at 12:20
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    mount it under the hand rail, then tack a piece of trim to enshadow the rail supports. An aluminium C-channel 1cm wide accepts most strips and funnels the light out front instead of ~160deg. That said, i don't like light sources in the view path and would be more inclined to downlight it from the roof.
    – dandavis
    Jun 30 at 17:23
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    you don't want light traveling across the deck. The source doesn't have to be perpendicular, but washing it will be unacceptable for several reasons; It will be about impossible to hide the light source from catching the eye, which reeks. Any imperfection in the deck (dents, dead bugs, debris, curled board, sunken/proud fasteners, etc) will be exaggerated and cast long shadows pointing it out; nice on bark/stone, revolting on floors. Anyone standing/walking by the rail will cast long dark shadows. It will also fall off too quickly (see inverse square); bright AF under rail, dark AF 16" back...
    – dandavis
    Jun 30 at 20:08
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    treading briefly into design: using strip to light long even planes looks bland and terrible, like under the awning of a liquor store. Use several semi-spots to paint cones of light in an evenly spaced rhythm instead; it will go from "yeah, it's lit up", to "ooh, who did your lighting?"...
    – dandavis
    Jun 30 at 20:20

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