How to Rewire Your Deck for Added Safety Without Breaking the Bank


Upgrading the electrical wiring on your deck can dramatically improve safety and allow you to power more devices and lighting. However, rewiring a deck can be an expensive project that requires hiring electricians. In this guide, I'll share tips for rewiring your deck on a budget while still meeting safety codes and needs.

Evaluate Your Current Deck Wiring

Before beginning any upgrades, take stock of your current deck wiring situation:

Making note of any deficiencies or lack of capacity will help determine the scope of work needed.

Add Additional Circuits and Outlets

Most deck electrical problems stem from overloading existing circuits. Adding new dedicated circuits helps:

With easy access under the deck, running new wire is a DIY project. Use 12/2 NM cable and install a 15-20 amp GFCI breaker. Space outlets per code for convenience. Include waterproof covers for exterior outlets.

Upgrade Wire Gauge as Needed

If your deck wiring is undersized, upgrading the wire gauge provides:

For runs up to 50 feet from the panel, 12 AWG cable is ideal for lighting and receptacle circuits. Use 10 AWG for long runs over 50 feet. Compare costs of replacing only the wire versus new cable.

Install GFCI Protection

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are crucial for safety, especially in damp deck environments. Install GFCI protection a few ways:

Test regularly using the "Test" and "Reset" buttons. Only about $20 per outlet, so well worth the protection.

Consider Aluminum Wiring Replacements

If your deck has outdated aluminum wiring, strongly consider replacing it with copper, especially if you see:

Properly installed copper wiring will remove the fire and shock risks associated with old aluminum wiring.

Add Lighting

Good lighting improves both safety and ambiance on your deck. Newer LED deck lights are energy efficient, long-lasting, and inexpensive:

Place lights to avoid glare and shadows. Use dimmers to control brightness.

Hire a Licensed Electrician If Needed

Some complex wiring jobs like replacing your electrical service may require a professional electrician. Get quotes to see if the cost fits your budget. An electrician can also:

Even if hiring an electrician for parts of the job, you can save by doing simpler tasks like adding lights yourself.


With smart planning and budget-friendly solutions, you can enhance your deck's wiring for safety and convenience without overspending. Evaluate your needs, take it step-by-step, and don't be afraid to tackle basic improvements yourself. Done right, a well-wired deck will provide enjoyment for years to come.