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View Full Version : A question of aesthetics - conduit or 12x2 cable?


OKSooner
01-16-2012, 08:47 AM
Hello all,

I have a question regarding the aesthetics of an install I'm working on. This is my third landscape lighting install.

I'm doing the install this week The lady's front porch is inclosed into a small portico area that's enclosed in red brick. It measures about 12'x12x12'. The front flower beds run right up to it. My plan has been to run a cable up thru the bed, into the portico about a foot, and then up the wall about 7' and place a VISTA 2216 with a 20w flood lamp to light up her front door.

I was planning to put a piece of 1/2" conduit on the wall, with a box at the bottom and top ends, run the cable in the bottom box and up to the top box, and run the leads from the fixture into the top box where I would attach it to the cable and close the splices up inside the box. I went to Lowe's and got primer and paint to paint the conduit with matched to the brick. Yesterday afternoon I went to the job site and cut and assembled the conduit and boxes.

Now, however, I'm having second thoughts about the conduit. It will be color matched, but still a piece of conduit hanging obtrusively on the wall right where people walk up to the front door. I'm considering just running cable, neatly, up the wall and neatly attaching the fixture accordingly. Weather factors aren't an issue in this case as it's in a closed in area where it can't get rained on, etc...

Just aesthetically speaking, what have you guys done in situations like this before?

Thanks.

Lite4
01-16-2012, 09:35 AM
Aesthetically, I would be more concerned about why you would be putting a flood light there at all. If it's facing the walk it is going to blind anyone coming to the door, if it is facing the door it is going to blind anyone leaving. Perhaps, I am unclear as to what you are intending to put light on, but you always need to conscience of glare incidence and maybe looking at different alternatives.

As far as conduit goes, I am sure you could pull that off but it would not be attractive at a main entryway.
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AztlanLC
01-16-2012, 12:20 PM
Is this real brick? Do you have a picture of it? Im thinking finding a straigh line on the mortar joints cut a grove with a grinder and re-point
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OKSooner
01-17-2012, 08:46 AM
Aesthetically, I would be more concerned about why you would be putting a flood light there at all. If it's facing the walk it is going to blind anyone coming to the door, if it is facing the door it is going to blind anyone leaving. Perhaps, I am unclear as to what you are intending to put light on, but you always need to conscience of glare incidence and maybe looking at different alternatives.

As far as conduit goes, I am sure you could pull that off but it would not be attractive at a main entryway.
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Thanks for the point about the light facing into people's eyes... this is the deal. The ceiling of the portico is up high enough that the light isn't going to be visible at eye level. Outside the portico (maybe I'm not calling it the right thing, maybe it's a vestibule or an anteroom or whatever but I'm calling it what I'm calling it) the fixture itself can't be seen, and when one steps into the portico the light is overhead, casting light down onto the front door.

Yes, at a point someone going out the front door might have brief eye contact with the source of the light, but who's going to walk out the door and then just stand there in the portico facing out? Also, when the lady leaves the house she goes out via the garage in her car.

I can go low, low wattage here as low as I need to go, even a 5w T5 if necessary, but the lady wants subdued light on her front door without having to turn on her line voltage porch light and I agree with her. I don't think it would be good to have lighting outside that leads people to the front door and then leave the portico dark.

With all respect, grinding or altering the surface of the brick is not an option. (This more or less speaks to the conduit issue too, which was a bad idea on my part.)

So, I've got to do something and I'm trying to ask a particular question, and only one chance to get it right. What's the most aesthetic way of doing something like this in your experience?

Thanks.

Lite4
01-17-2012, 10:25 AM
put up some pictures and I'm sure you will get more help. It is hard to visualize without seeing all the particulars of the project.

Dirt Boy
01-17-2012, 03:50 PM
I know what you mean, kinda rotten either way.
IMO, IF you have to come up the outside, then conduit will look better than wire, unless you can tuck the wire in between the house and brick.

Is there power up in the ceiling? Tuck your transformer up near the ceiling in some obscure corner? More work, another transformer, but then it might not look like crud.
Just me $.02 worth:)

robtown
01-18-2012, 09:24 AM
A picture would help.
If it is an enclosed porch you might be able to go under and come up inside.

Elegant Outdoor Lighting
01-18-2012, 08:53 PM
Yup, we need pics

RLI Electric
01-19-2012, 07:21 AM
If there is a ceiling, is there recess lights? If there is recess lights, get a gimble trim and aim it toward the door. No glare bomb, no conduit, no cable and best of all no electrician needed for a trim change. However, if those recess lights are there, I would recommend a licensed contractor to change the switch to a dimmer so the over head lights can be dimmed a bit so they are a shave above the light level of the architectural lighting.
If you are considering aiming a spot at the door from the 7' mark, you will be frying eyeballs no matter what. What about when they go to the front door to see who pulled up? They will be hit by glare. It is not only an issue for the person that walks out the front door and off of the portico but for the homeowner who will inevitably look out their front door window.

OKSooner
01-19-2012, 09:00 AM
If there is a ceiling, is there recess lights? If there is recess lights, get a gimble trim and aim it toward the door. No glare bomb, no conduit, no cable and best of all no electrician needed for a trim change. However, if those recess lights are there, I would recommend a licensed contractor to change the switch to a dimmer so the over head lights can be dimmed a bit so they are a shave above the light level of the architectural lighting.
If you are considering aiming a spot at the door from the 7' mark, you will be frying eyeballs no matter what. What about when they go to the front door to see who pulled up? They will be hit by glare. It is not only an issue for the person that walks out the front door and off of the portico but for the homeowner who will inevitably look out their front door window.

Good points, thanks.

What's a gimble trim?

RLI Electric
01-19-2012, 09:41 PM
A trim that allows the lamp to be angled. Have it gimble inside of the fixture not one of those 1986 eyeballs that is in front of so many fireplaces.

OKSooner
02-20-2012, 01:10 PM
Is this real brick? Do you have a picture of it? Im thinking finding a straigh line on the mortar joints cut a grove with a grinder and re-point
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Thanks for the idea, you win the prize. This is what I did (hired a brickmason) and the client likes it.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-21-2012, 06:13 AM
Did you sheath the 12/2 wire in some sort of shrink tube or conduit so that the lime in the mortar does not eat through the PVC jacket of the wire?

starry night
02-21-2012, 04:41 PM
Did you sheath the 12/2 wire in some sort of shrink tube or conduit so that the lime in the mortar does not eat through the PVC jacket of the wire?

Thanks, James, for that tip. Hadn't heard it before.