Solar Post Caps for the Decks

Exhausted!  That describes me today. Every year or two I have a company come out to pressure wash the decks and screened-in porch.  The process is exhausting but everything always looks great once it’s done.  I had to take the sheers back down.  I also covered up the outdoor speakers and the table since it was too large to really move anywhere.

Porch Cleaning

The outdoor wicker was moved onto the deck.

Porch Cleaning

Table chairs, sheers, cushions, wreaths, decorative pieces, lamps, etc… were all moved inside.  After all the cleaning was done, it all had to be moved back out again.  Ugh.

Porch Cleaning

Once the decks and porch were clean, I decided it was time to tackle another job I’ve been putting off.  I have copper caps atop each of the posts out on the deck.  You can see one of them in this pic taken when they were still fairly new.

Screened Porch

Almost all of the caps look like this now, stained and covered with hail dents.

Porch Cleaning

In addition to looking pretty awful, they are forever falling apart.  Several are missing one of their sides.  Usually when I notice a side piece is missing, I retrieve it from the yard and glue it back in place with wood glue.  I’ve been doing this off and on for the last 5 years.  Five. Long. Years.  Tedious, very tedious. I should have returned them when they first started falling apart, but by the time I realized it wasn’t just a fluke and was going to be an ongoing problem, it was really too late to return them.

There are 17 posts, thus, 17 post caps.  Each cap has four sides so every few weeks another cap has lost a side. Frustrating! Lately, the pace has stepped up and I have multiple caps missing their sides.  I noticed online tonight, the reviews are not very good for these post caps.  Folks are complaining about the same thing…they fall apart.

Porch Cleaning

Today I decided to purchase some replacement caps.  I’m going to give this solar version from Home Depot a try.  It was only $3 more per cap than the old, non-solar version and I really like how they look.  I probably shouldn’t say this, will jinx myself for sure, but I’ve never had much luck with solar lighting. A few years ago I purchased solar lights on sale from a high-end garden store.  It was a store I never shopped in due to their high prices but the sale was so good on the solar lights that day, I decided to give them a try for my front walkway.  Within just 2-3 months they had all ceased to work. Fortunately, the store let me return them.  I’m really hoping these will work and work for a long time.  If they don’t, they will be going back.  Hopefully solar lighting has greatly improved since my last purchase.

Porch Cleaning

I was surprised to see these already lighting up this evening since they were fresh out of the box and had not yet had sunlight shining down on them to charge them.

Solar Post Caps

Have you had any experience with the solar post caps?  If so, how did they hold up?  Still working?  Keeping my fingers crossed these will work for a long, long time. 

Solar Cap Light for Deck Posts

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  1. I’ve never heard of those. What a great idea! Interested to hear how they work out for you.

  2. Oh, I hope they work out, they are lovely. I don’t have caps, but I have two lights that are inserted into flower pots to guide guests inside the patio – one worked for about a year and then died, the other is still working perfectly after about six years. So I don’t know if the one was a dud or the other is a fluke.

  3. Oh they look so pretty lit up! I have faith tht they will ok for a while!

  4. Susan I had not heard of solar caps but how truly lovely they look. What an ambiance they create.
    Great find.

  5. Love these! Our fence is capless… would love to see a follow up post in a month or two to see how they are doing to see if it’s worth it on ours.

  6. Best of luck with the new post lights. They look terrific! And thank you for showing us what happens to the rest of the rooms during a seasonal cleanup like this! It makes me feel much more normal to see that the dining table and counters look like this for other people too! LOL. You are right….it is exhausting, but looks and feels so good when its done. I love your posts because they are so real! Thank you.

  7. Looks fabulous! Also, looks like you had to work really hard. Your deck is so nice and clean. When we had a deck I used the pressure washer once myself. What a job and a mess. Never again. Than, I stained it, never again. Some things are just better to hire someone. Not getting younger either. Love your copper tops with solar lights. They will look beautiful at night . I adore the solar flood lights, but only the expensive ones. They light up the best for the fountain and a huge statue by the pool. Doing a project now of decluttering. Can’t believe how much stuff has accumulated. Sort of feel like a hoarder when I look at all the items. Looks like most of us just all have too much.

  8. Everything looks fresh and clean! I hope your solar caps last a good while. They look nice!

  9. Mary from Virginia says

    These copper lights make a great addition to your deck. We have some on our patio post, and they worked two full years. Now, they are hit or miss. We need to replace the insides. We purchased ours at Lowes.

    Heading out to weed before the rains come! Hope you have a wonderful Saturday.

  10. The new caps look stunning! Love the new look and I have my fingers crossed that they give you many years of enjoyment with no maintenance!

  11. Our solar caps are into their 3rd year. They light up to about 8 hours which won’t get through an entire winter night, but we’re not on the deck at 4am in January. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we do ours

  12. Thanks so much for the idea of solar caps. We are considering replacing the caps on the back porch railings. The solar cap sounds like it would be just the ticket. I’ll check those out.

  13. Michelle says

    We have a version of those in white on our fence.
    We love them. We’ve had them about a year & they
    all still work and are in one piece. I hope yours work as well
    for you.

  14. Susan, good luck with these. Our solar caps have worked beautifully–but for limited time. The last bunch were the same brand as your recent purchase and worked for one year. I replaced the batteries in all of them with the recommended solar batteries, but only ONE fired back up. An expensive experiment for only year of use. But a beautiful experiment, nonetheless. It’s disappointing because the concept is such a good one.

  15. Carolyn says

    Saw a tutorial on Hometalk this week that shows how to replace the batteries in solar lights! Didn’t know you could do this…

  16. Linda Page says

    I love how those caps look on your deck rail posts. It makes a really big difference. Aren’t you clever! I hope they last for years and years.

  17. 17? 17 posts? Wow that is a lot of posts! I must concur with the others that they look amazing and I do hope they last. I HATE solar lighting – unreliable and frustrating. Maybe someday it will work as we hope but until that happens, I will remain a low voltage girl. 🙂 Enjoy your majestic setting!

  18. I have wanted some of these for years now. However I want my decking rails redone first. I’ve wanted those redone for a few years now too. LOL! Too many other projects first. I love those, they are the first ones I’ve seen that look somewhat tiered. I hope they do continue to work for you as I’ve had the same concerns about solar lighting. They are simply beautiful and I’m sure it feels great to have everything all fresh and clean now too.

  19. Gee, I like those!!! Must check out Home Depot to see if they have any other designs…our posts are round and currently I put wood orbs on each. We’ve had “mixed” results with our solar pathway lights…love the looks of the ones we got but several refuse to light…yours look great! franki

  20. ~Susan~
    Good Morning, hope you and Max doing well!
    Your outdoor room looks so fresh ! Is your white wicker furniture of Wicker or Vinyl? looks so nice.
    The solar caps look very nice, I wish the lighting in solar was more of the yellow soft light then what they
    put in them, I guess it must have to be that type of white light.
    I better get my lawn work !!
    Have a super day

    • Thanks, Paula! The white wicker on the porch is a mix. The dining table and chairs are real wicker, as are the oval table near the windows and the coffee table in the seating group. The swing, settee and the two chairs in the seating group are outdoor wicker, not sure if that vinyl or some other material. I’m with you on the lighting. I much prefer the old fashioned, softer yellow light indoors…don’t like the new energy efficient bulbs I’ve tried in the past. I think I prefer the whiteness of the solar lights outdoors though since solar lights aren’t always that bright anyway. The solar lights I just added to the deck are lit with LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, per the little instruction sheet inside the box. It says they rarely need to be replaced and last 40,000 hours. Ummm, we’ll see if they live up to that…time will tell.

  21. How cool is that… I may try it on my deck…

  22. We have had ours for 2 yrs and we are happy with them! Not copper though just the whie solar caps.

    We never power wash any more and I am sorry we ever did. It chews up the cedar. We just use the olympic deck wash. Probably more expensive than power washing, but so much kinder to the wood.
    Enjoy your nice clean porch! We have to wait for the pollen invasion! I have been washing and spraying the wicker, then wrapping it in plastic. A pain, but if I don’t, I will have to rewash everything.

  23. Those caps are genius…love that low glow they put off..your porch looks so inviting….nothing like spring cleaning…I decided to rearrange my furniture…only to decide I’d liked it better the way it was…cleaning the gardens are on this weekends agenda…Hope your weekend is fabulous….those few minutes between 6.20 & 6.32 this evening will be the best…not sure who I’m rooting for to win this yr….wouldn’t it be nice if they end up a Triple Crown Winner.

  24. We don’t have solar post caps, but like you, we’ve had our share of solar light failures at our house – pathway lights that work when and if they want to, some never worked and some worked great for awhile and then “died”. Just don’t want all that wiring, digging and burying it along the walkway, etc. so will keep on trying to find solar lights that actually work for longer than a few months/weeks/days!!! Good luck – those are beautiful and add so much to your porch area!

  25. Pam ~ Crumpety Cottage says

    The porch looks awesome! I love all the ins and outs created by the way you did the decks. So many cozy spots to go to and enjoy. That whole space is a dream! You did such a nice job designing it. And that’s too bad about the post caps. Copper is so pretty (for a little while, anyway, lol.) Maybe these solar caps will work out better. I hope so. 🙂

  26. I saw those solar post caps in Home Depot the other day and wondered how they lasted. I am thinking of putting one on top of the new mailbox post I need to make.

  27. Cindy Jenkins says

    I’ve had solar post caps on my deck for over two years. Purchased at Home Depot. It is time to replace the batteries in them. They have been wonderful.

  28. Those Solar Caps make such a pretty sight in the evening on your already wonderful deck!

  29. Cecilia says

    Oh Susan,
    everything on your porch looks like new! It is a little piece of heaven on earth!
    I ♥ it and I also love those solar caps. I’d have bought them too, for only $3 more than the simple ones. 🙂
    I hope they will work for very long time. If not, don’t you have a return guarantee in the States?
    In Germany we do have a 2 year warranty and return guarantee on (almost) every item we buy. (Not on food!) If we aren’t completely satisfied with our purchase or it ceases to work, the stores accept the return within the next 6 months after purchase date and we can opt for a new item, our money back or a gift card. After 6 months the return guarantee is covered by the manufactures. Strangely, most items we buy, cease to work 25-30 months (!) after date of purchase! Coincidence? Hmmm… lol
    P.S. Susan, your Mom was very talented and a very, very beautiful woman! Love both of her pictures!
    ~Hugs to you~

    • Thanks, Cecilia! ♥ HomeDepot has a pretty generous return policy so I think they’ll take them back if they quit within a few months. I’d probably just try to exchange them if I have some that quit on me. Hopefully they will work well. 🙂

  30. Hi Susan I love the lights and hope they hold up for you. Speaking of lights I see in one of the pictures that you have the little white ”Christmas” lights wrapped under the rail. I love these and have some on my back screened porch. Have you noticed that these would last a long time and now they seem to go out way too fast even if they aren’t in the weather? Also they are hard to find unless it is Christmas. Well rest up, your porch look great. Hugs to you & Max.

    • Linda, I bought those at Hobby Lobby around 4 years ago and they were made for outdoors. They have held up great excepts squirrels or something chewed through the ones under the handrail, so I had to remove those. 🙁 I loved them there, though. They were so pretty lit up. The ones around the pergola are the same and they have held up great. Something also chewed through them but it was only in one spot so I was able to connect them back/repair them. Other than something chewing on them, they have lasted great. I can’t remember now what time of year I found them in HL. Just make sure whatever kind you buy says okay for outdoor use. I remember the box these came in said that and lights don’t look like normal lights, they are a bit different, more protected the way they are designed. Hope that helps.

  31. Well I’m exhausted just reading about all that work between the power washing and the post caps!!! YIKES!!!
    The new ones do look really nice… my fingers are crossed that keep looking nice and last a VERY LONG TIME TO COME!!! 😀
    Beth P

  32. I hope those caps work for you because they look beautiful! Your space is so gorgeous and welcoming.

  33. Hi Susan,
    Never heard of these either but yours look great. I always stay away from solar lights because I don’t like the blue-white light they have but these are tempting. I so need new caps for my many fence posts too. I’ll check them out. Don’t even talk about pressure washing the fences and patio and deck and all around the pool. I really should get at it. A few years ago I purchased a pressure washer and I do it myself. It is a many week job. Make it a great weekend.

    • Ahrisha, these don’t seem to have that bluish cast…I know what you’re talking. These appear white. They don’t give off a huge amount a light but it’s definitely enough to navigate the steps to the yard and around the decks. I was surprised they are as bright as they are. Maybe the solar lights are finally getting better. I should probably buy a washer and do my own decks but the porch is too much for me to do on the outside since it’s two stories up.

  34. Susan, these post caps look fantastic. They cast such a pretty glow.
    I do believe the solar lights have improved greatly. I, too, tried them a few years back and also had disappointing results. My daughter recently replaced their deck and added solar post caps. Recently…two years ago. Anyhoo, they are working beautifully and emit so much more light than anything I had ever tried.
    What a good price to be only $3.00 more than the plain caps. I know you will be pleased. They certainly look great now.
    Have a blessed Sunday,

  35. I love the solar lights do you have to screw them on your posts to keep them in place? I am in need of new post tops too!

    • Carol, I have them just sitting there right now, since they are pretty heavy, but they do come with two screws that you’re supposed to use to attach them to the post. I may go ahead and use those, not sure yet.

  36. Yes, I see why you are tiredbut the porch and post caps look great. Nice to visit with you again, Susan.

  37. They are just beautiful! Hope they work for a long time for you. While I don’t have any fence caps, it’s making me think I need some for my front walk. I’ve hesitated getting them, because of everything I’ve heard.

  38. Wow…those solar caps are so cool looking! I didn’t know they even existed. I’m thinking my son and DIL would love those. They just built a new deck last year. I think it’s cap-less. I’ll send them over for a look see.
    Have a wonderful day!

  39. I love them…going to look for them in local store. I had the solar lights you push into the dirt for your garden. I put them upfront and they worked fine for a while…of course the front tree that grew like a giant didn’t help although the shade it gives on the front patio is great….but not for solar lights. My deck is in the back and gets morning sun and has no trees…..might work…

  40. I love these solar caps. I wanted some for my deck as well as the posts at the gate entrances to our yard. I bought those first and they worked for quite awhile and then stopped. I did find some replacement batteries that you can change out and I replaced those as well. I got another years worth of light out of them. I added deck lights about a year ago and those are still working great. So enjoy, they look lovely !!!

    • Thanks, Riki. Do you live where it gets really cold in the winter? I’m trying to decide if I should remove them during January, February when it’s the coldest and maybe just replace them with regular wood caps during those months. What type of deck lights have you added now? Are they electric?

  41. I have often wondered about such lights in Ikea and other places. They look great on your porch,Susan.And if they emit enough light I’ll be able to use some in our home in India–there is electricity shortage but plenty of sun.

    • They don’t give off a lot but enough to see to navigate around on the deck. It has finally quit raining today and if the rain holds off, I’ll take some pictures this evening to show how they look in the evening. Hopefully that will give you an idea of how much light they emit. 🙂

  42. Linda S in NE says

    Your porch and post caps look great, Susan. I also have been wary of solar lighting in the past, but last summer took the plunge. In everybody’s “favorite” big box store I located two “push in the ground” fixtures that not only have a swivel head for directing the light where you want it to shine, but the little attached solar panel also swivels so it can be directed away from the underground lawn sprinklers and directly facing the sun, even as it changes position through the seasons. The two fixtures have been a godsend to light two steps that are very difficult to see. I agree with you in that it is disappointing that we do not have more reliable solar lighting after all the research that has gone into it.

  43. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA says

    And just when I thought your porch couldn’t get any better, it did! Love it.

  44. Donna Amos says

    We have had solar posts caps for over three years, 10 of them, haven’t lost a one so far. they were from Lowes.

  45. Susan..I love those solar caps…they really look fantastic on the deck…I am off to show my hubby these beauties!!!

  46. Susan, I never tire of your wonderful ideas for your porch. We are building a new home and will have a covered back porch. I like these solar post caps very much. Just a soft glow in the evenings – romantic and inviting. Your ideas are an inspiration. Thanks much……Mary

    • Mary, that is so exciting…building a new home! You’ll love these, they really are beautiful at night. Can’t wait to see your new home and of course, the porches! 🙂

  47. Nana Ann says

    Your solar caps are stunning…and here I’ve been lusting after the black plastics they have on sale from time to time for under $10, hehe. My guess is that the first group of solars you bought were old, as the batteries were within them, hence the sale price. Although the batteries look like regular alkalines, they’re not. Doing a google search on the model # and solar batteries should give one plenty of sources on the web. I usually buy mine cheap from an Asian supplier, since I figure that’s where they’re probably made to begin with. Oh and if you want to regain the new brillance of that copper, I use either ketsup or V-8 juice. If you want to coat them, a trick jewelers do to keep their wares from tarnishing is a coating of Mop & Glo, as in the floor wax…really!

  48. Hi Susan!

    Like to get your thoughts on converting a post cap to a high top table for parties. I was at a bar-b-que last summer where there was not enough table space for guests. Holding a drink and a plate would not allow for a way to eat…thus I came up with the idea.


  49. I’ve designed them as both a circle and rectangle…have them on my deck currently…mindful of jutting out into the deck space, yet large enough for two people to place drinks and plates on them.

  50. Rita Oliveira says

    Looks reaaly good… just love the solor lights…..I want some for my deck now…could I ask what name brand “paint” was used to paint your deck?

    • Sure, I went back with what I had the house painted with six years ago because it has held up so well…It’s Sherwin Williams, Duration. It was a standard white out of the can. I think they have three whites and it’s the next to the whitest white…so the second one down of the three whites they offer or did offer back then.

  51. I had the lights installed, about 25, on the deck around my pool. They never came on since day one. I’ve always been so disappointed. My knees were going out and I needed knee replacement surgery. I want more but now I’m walking better but it’s been 2 years. I’m going to ask carpenter and make sure I don’t buy same brand.

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