Exterior light fixtures that don't rust in salt air??

Sueb20July 3, 2014

We installed new Kichler exterior fixtures at our beach house about 5 years ago and they are all rusty now. One is an exterior-rated ceiling fan in the screen porch, and the other is a pendant over the front door. So far, the fixtures from the same line in other exterior locations are fine, but the rusted ones are closest to the water so I guess eventually the others will rust too. If you have a house near the ocean, have you found exterior fixtures that hold up over time? I'm so disappointed in these fixtures.

The fixtures I have are brushed nickel...maybe I should switch to a bronze finish so the rust is less obvious??

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metal rusts from the inside out. It's not the plating that matters but the metal underneath that does. Link below is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Metals that hold up to weather

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:07AM
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Since we purchased a condo on the ocean in Florida two years ago, we have learned a new expression commonly used here, people say "rust never sleeps" and then they smile and shrug. Good luck and enjoy your ocean!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:49AM
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Look for "oceanside approved' 'marine grade'. Best would be solid brass or copper-not plated.
These will not be inexpensive.
So you may want to learn to embrace patina.
The expression 'weather beaten' exists for a reason.


Here is a link that might be useful: Heritage Lanterns

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:36AM
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We installed new outdoor fixtures about 3 years ago. I just went outside and inspected them closely and I don't see any signs of rust. Ours have a black finish.

We aren't as close to the ocean as you but our heat and humidity are more extreme. The reviews on the light are mixed but we haven't had any trouble. I think the color is the key. Here is the link to the lights.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.lightingdirect.com/sea-gull-lighting-8870-incandescent-single-light-outdoor-wall-lantern-from-the-sebring-collection-with-clear-seeded-shade/p530372?source=gg-gba-pla_530372____52720992089&s_kwcid=PTC!pla!!!85819864889!g!!52720992089&gclid=CJmFr76yqb8CFe4F7AodegcAnQ

This post was edited by deee on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 10:59

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Inland now, but lived on the Atlantic for years - solid brass, bronze, copper (not plated, but entirely that metal). Of these, brass is the least expensive & most traditional, used for centuries on coastal properties & boats. Best without a clear finish coat (usually lacquer) as that will quickly crack & discolor, requiring removal to polish. All will form a surface discoloration - patina - in a thin layer that actually protects the metal from deteriorating. First reaction is usually the pale greenish patina, which continues to darken over time to brown & then black.

If you prefer a bright shine rather than patina, you'll need to clean the fixtures in place at least twice a year. Get some inexpensive Barkeeper's Friend and Bon Ami powders. Both come in shaker cardboard cans, can be found in grocery & hardware stores with cleaning supplies & do a good job without a lot of mess or elbow grease. Like to use both dry on a damp rough cloth like terry washcloths sold in multiples for cleaning. Barely dampen the cloth, just enough to allow the powder to stick to it (spritz it with water), and rub over the surface. Turn the cloth to a clean section & apply more powder as you go. Start with the Barkeeper's to clean & follow with the Bon Ami to polish after cleaning. Just shake the powder onto the cloth or shake some into a dish & dip the cloth into it. Bon Ami does a great job on any glass, too, where the Barkeepers may be too rough. For the glass, use Glass Wax after cleaning to keep it clean. There are oils & waxes for the metals to delay tarnishing, if you like. Check at marine supply shops for these. A piece of paper, cardboard or masking tape can keep the surface where the fixture fits clean during the process. Loosen the screws that hold the fixture slightly to slip these behind. If you're really thorough, remove the screws one at a time, clean with the powders & an old toothbrush & replace. A toothbrush will help with any grooved parts on the fixture, too. Same process with other exterior brass such as doorknobs.

New solid brass can be pricey, but then again won't need to be replaced. Used brass fixtures are very reasonable. (Found a set of 6 large wall lights & a matching post light on Craigslist for $25 total that now grace this house after an initial cleanup.) If you're not comfortable rewiring older ones, lamp shops can do the job. Make sure to specify "exterior" wiring to hold up for damp & wet installations.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Regarding one of the earlier posts I just wanted to add that my powder coated aluminum Brown Jordan patio furniture has been sitting uncovered in a coastal environment for 12 years without rusting.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Thanks all. I ended up ordering a very plain white flush-mount light for the screen porch...we don't need the fan that much, and I'd prefer something simple for that space. We really don't even turn the light on that often because I have an outdoor table lamp for reading.

Still need to figure out what to do with the others. I like the idea of brass or copper (we have a copper detail on the top of our chimney) but that will involve changing the pendant over the front door as well as a post light and two garage sconces, so that's a bit of a project.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:51PM
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