How to Waterproof Outdoor Lights?

Heather Clouse
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There are virtually endless supplies of outdoor lighting from a variety of sources. The amount of creativity that a person can put towards decorating their yard with different lighting systems is sure to impress.

However, your lights are exposed to whatever Mother Nature has to throw at them. Even in the most ho-hum of conditions, water is constantly infiltrating into the wiring or the lighting fixture.

What You Need?

  • Water-resistant Silicone Caulk: Clear sealant, also known as caulking and you can find it at any home improvement store.

  • Damp Cloth: To clean the fixtures and everything.

  • Drop Cloth Or Old Blanket: To clean messes

  • Step Ladder: If you are dealing with a high-up light, you will need a step ladder.

  • Paper Towels: To clean away excess and stray blobs of caulk while you are working.

  • Utility Knife: To help set the caulk into place.

  • Bowl Of Water: To damp clean the things around.

  • Acrylic Paint: Go for a color that is as close to the lights as possible.

Get something that you can get easily.


Most electrical cords take a beating, especially when it comes to outdoor use. They are exposed to sunlight, rain, and other harsh elements. Given its nature, it’s no surprise that cords tend to wear out relatively quickly.

Check that the electrical cord is not damaged. If there are tears in the insulation, then you need to address that.

Cracks in the insulation will allow water to seep in and cause the wiring to short circuit. So it’s important to wrap the cord before it causes any damage.

How To Waterproof Outdoor Lights?

A good, sturdy waterproofing job is a must for anyone that has outdoor lighting. This is the best way to ensure that all will enjoy the task you have put so much effort into for a long time.


  • Step 1: Remove the lampshade from the light fixture.

This is just to make cleaning easier. Your lamp will still function normally without the lampshade.

  • Step 2: Clean off any dust, dirt, insects, and other debris from the lamp.

This is best done with a soft cloth and damp cloth. So keep a bowl of water and a piece of soft cloth with you.

You can even use a little mild soap to get any greasy residue off but be very careful while using water as you don't want to cause any damage to the lighting fixture.

  • Step 3: Dry off everything with a cloth or chamois.

Dew and moisture can settle on the lamp and cause moisture damage. This step is important in waterproofing your lamp.

Prepare Everything

Now that you’ve figured out how to make waterproof outdoor lights that can withstand rain and snow, it’s time to make it happen.

Start Caulking

To waterproof light fixtures, the technique you’ll want to use is caulking.
Spread a liberal amount of silicone or silicone-latex caulk around the joint between the fixture and the mounting plate. Use a putty knife or your finger to pack the sealant into the joint gently.

Spend whatever time is required to make sure the seal is complete.

Apply a second bead of sealant along the joint between the glass and metal, packing it firmly into place.

If there is no glass, apply sealant between the metal and the base of the fixture.

Finally, apply a bead of sealant around the metal rim of the fixture, once again packing it firmly into place.

Wait for the puddles of sealant to dry before you insert the bulbs and turn on the light.

If you insert your bulbs too soon, the wet sealant may trap more moisture resulting in damage.

Seal all the holes or cracks with silicone caulk. If the base is cracked or broken, silicone caulk is a quick and easy fix. Use it to seal off any old touch-up paint and prevent any further moisture damage. Seal the electrical parts of the lamp with silicone.

Clean off any dirt or dust, and seal the lamp socket, switches, and cord with silicone.

Seal the top opening of the lamp with silicone. This is how you can use silicone to create a waterproof outdoor lamp.

Just remember to put a hole out for the switch plate to keep the silicone from covering it. It should result in a nice, seamless seal.

Smoothing Out

Once the caulk is all in place, you need to take your fingers and dip at least one into the bowl of water. You then need to use your finger to press down on the caulk gently. Ensure that it is nice and smooth all around the light where you’ve applied it.

This helps to ensure there are no gaps and the caulk dries with a watertight seal. It also helps give it a nice and appealing finished look.

Clean Up

Once the sealer is dry, and you have inserted the bulb and the shade in the lamp in place, now it's time to clean any of the spilled caulk up and follow any care instructions outlined on the caulk and you’re done.