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Lighting the Way- Illuminated Pavers  August 11, 2005

Lighting The Way

Illuminated Pavers

In-ground lighting can beautify and increase the safety of any outdoor patio or walkway where paving stones are being used. These lights can withstand heavy loads, high impact, and highly corrosive conditions when installed flush with the pavement material.

What better way to beautify and draw attention to a residential or commercial outdoor patio or walkway than with illuminated pavers.

Not only do illuminated pavers draw attention to, and beautify areas, they also provide an element of safety for a brick paved walkway or gathering area. The low voltage pavers can add the right amount of light to keep people safe, while not detracting from the ambience of the night.

Companies such as Cooper Lighting, Rockscapes, Inc., and Tahoe Lighting all have products that can brighten any outdoor rocked or brick paved area.

A paver in-ground luminaire from the OptianceŽ brand of Cooper Lighting, located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, gives the lighting designer many creative options when lighting outdoor patios, walkways and wall applications. With the addition of a colored fiber optic light source, a new range of lighting effects in concrete or paving stones is possible.

Cooper Lighting's Paver from Optiance, below, gives the lighting designer colored light that adds a dimension of nighttime style in paving stone designs. Low cost, low maintenance, easy installation, and the ability to create your designs, right, makes illuminated pavers a creative alternative for lighting designers.

Featuring a plastic housing with a frosted, tempered glass lens, the Paver, illuminated by Optiance Endglow cable, can be easily mounted within a variety of paving stone configurations, concrete pour, or wall stone applications.

Since there is no lamp in the fixture, individual maintenance is eliminated. Lamp replacement takes place at a conveniently located remote illuminator which is equipped with a long-life H.I.D. lamp.

Rockscapes, Inc. of Canoga Park, California has 12 volt lighted stepping stones available in a Three Light Kit or Individual Case Pack. Made of ultra strong lightweight composite materials the Model SS-3 Three Light Kit contents includes three lighted steps with 7 watt lamps, one 44 watt outdoor transformer with timer, and 50 feet of low voltage cable (16/2). The Kit holds up to six step lights.

The Model SS-1 Individual Case pack comes with a lighted step with 7 watt lamp. The Individual Pack requires a 12 volt transformer and cable, and it easily hooks up to a standard low voltage system (12v).

Finishes for the lighted stepping stones come in Rusty Olive or Concrete Grey. Each step light is made of a poly resin material, consisting of a decorative trim and a 1/4" thick, non-yellowing acrylic lens. Each step light also has a direct burial sub-base. The top of the light easily removes from the sub-base for re-lamping.

Tahoe Lighting, located in Sparks, Nevada, has three stock shapes for their in-ground lighting. The first is the Emerald with measurements of 5 7/8" x 5 7/8", the Zephyr which is 3 7/8" x 7 13/16" and the octagon shaped Sierra that measures 6" x 6". All units are 2 1/4" in depth and trim colors come in brick red, tan and grey.

This is a low voltage system that comes with a standard 5-year warranty. These lights are for low voltage outdoor landscape lighting systems only, and are not for use with submersible or pool/spa equipment. Also, they are not to be installed within 10 feet of a pool.

With sand on top of an aggregate base, the low voltage cable can run beneath the pavers as the pavers are being installed at grade level. Tahoe Lighting suggests that all wiring is listed SPT-3, underground low energy circuit cable. When installing, you should route the cable to the desired fixture locations. Tahoe Lighting suggests that there is plenty of slack in the cable to allow for ease in connecting the fixture. They recommend to make a loop in the wire at any desired fixture location. After the installation is completed and full lighting affect is achieved, you can hide the cable as desired.

Rockscapes, Inc. has an alternative to the illuminated paver, with low voltage lighted stepping stones, above. The lighted steps come with a 7 watt lamp that hooks up easily to a standard low voltage (12v) system. Cooper Lighting's In-ground Luminaire, below, features a tempered-glass frosted lens that is siliconed in place. A fiber-tight connector firmly holds the Endglow Cable in place. The unit measures 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 3 1/2".

For light box assembly, snap the light socket into the base of the casing and twist 1/4 turn clockwise to lock in place. Once that is complete, remove the protective backing from the lens and place the lens on the casing. Attach trim and secure it with screws.

To find the correct transformer for the job, simply figure out the number of lights on the system and multiply that by the wattage of the lamp being used to find the minimum required transformer.

To install the Pre-Form for the Zephyr, Sierra or Emerald shapes, place the Pre-Form at the desired location and fasten the side tabs to rebar or frame work if desired. Next, run 1/2 inch conduit to each Pre-Form and fasten with 1/2 inch nipple. Run the wire through conduit and place at least a 6 inch loop inside each Pre-Form.

Before pouring concrete, Tahoe Lighting recommends that the unit casing is placed upside down in the Pre-Form and taped over. This prevents the Pre-Form from distortion due to concrete curing and will help keep the inside free from concrete. When the concrete is cured, remove tape and the light unit. Clean the inside of the Pre-Form and install the light.

Although illuminated pavers have many benefits, they do add another challenge to the installation of brick pavers that is not present when just regular pavers or concrete is being put down. Another challenge, that can be handled on a case-by-case basis is where the outdoor electrical outlets are, and whether or not they have a weather resistant cover. A standard low voltage system should be able to handle any low voltage illuminated pavers or stepping stones that will be used.

Once installation regulations and cable voltage is all figured out, and a design pattern or theme is agreed upon, it is a challenge that is well worth it. LASN

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