Outdoor Lighting in Florida can take a real beating. The one, two punch combo from the humid salty air and the bright, hot Sun can KO a fixture in 2 to 3 seasons or less without proper maintenance. Obviously some materials hold up better than others.
Brass and Copper for instance have been used for centuries to great effect as the don’t rust though they do Patina which some people dislike. Plus, they tend to be quite a bit pricier and with far less options style-wise.
For the average consumer, powder coated Aluminum is the way to go (this is not to be confused with powder coated steel which, especially if you are within a few blocks of the water, will rust off the wall in as little as 3 years). The majority of Residential Outdoor Lighting will be made of Aluminum. Aluminum resists rust and is cheaper than Brass and Copper and easier to work with from a manufacturing standpoint.
The issue with Aluminum is not rust, it is the peeling and scaling of the finish. This happens when the salty dew each morning settles on the fixture and is then baked on at over one hundred degrees everyday by our brutal sub-tropical sun. The question we are asked everyday is “How do you prevent this?” The answer, “With a bit of maintenance”.
Think about it this way, would you leave a new car outside for years without washing or waxing it ever? What would happen? The clear coat would become hazy and start to peel and scale. There you have it. Automobile clear coats are some of the hardiest finishes known to man and the Sun will still always win out. Your outdoor fixtures like your car need something to displace the water which when evaporated leaves dirt and minerals that get into the finish and ruin it.
The products we recommend are either a spray-on Carnuba wax that you use on your car or a Silicone Lubricant such as CRC Formula 656 which is made for marine environments. These substances help to displace the water and thus prevent the settling of dirt and minerals on the finish. The application of either of these coatings at install and then biyearly will keep your fixture’s finish looking new for years to come.