What You Need To Know Before Choosing Cable Railings

Cable railings use horizontal or vertical cables in place of spindles, glass or other options. They have multiple uses and they are usually preferred to other systems because of their ability to offer nearly unobstructed views. Since the cables are much thinner than pickets, they are ideal for decks or terraces that can offer panoramic views.

Mountain porch house with cable railingView in gallery
Even though the posts are large, the views are maximized by the cable railings
Residence deck cable railingsView in gallery
This type of railings usually work best on raised terraces because they don’t obstruct the views below

The same characteristics mentioned above allow cable railings to look sleek and modern, making them suitable for contemporary residences and commercial spaces. In addition to that, maintenance is really easy in the case of cable railings.{found on designsnw}.

Cable railings tension appliedView in gallery
The design and structure of cable railings allow them to be safe and sleek at the same time

The installation of cable railings is a complex but relatively simple process. Due to the tension applied to the end posts by the cables, the frames and posts need to be strong in order to be able to withstand the force and load requirements.{found on davidmatero}.

Deck forest view rigid cable railingView in gallery
The railing posts match the outdoor furniture perfectly both in shape and color

Cable railings need very rigid frames and typically they are constructed of either stainless steel, extruded aluminum or wood. Building code requirements state that the cables must be rigid enough to prevent a 4” sphere from passing through them.

Beach front house with amazing porchView in gallery
The horizontal railings coordinate well with the roof and floor boards

The cables are available in galvanized carbon steel, type 304 stainless steel as well as a highly corrosion resistant types of stainless steel which is best for coastal areas.{found on maryprincephotography}.

Closer look to cable railingsView in gallery
Use cable railings if you want to make a small deck seem bigger

The rigidity of the cable is influenced by a series of factors such as the tension, the spacing of the posts, the cable’s diameter and several others.

Modern backyard bridge with cable railingsView in gallery
Similarly, use them on bridges to offer safety without hiding the views

Flexibility is important in the case of these cables. The tension needs to be just right so no body parts can slip through and the posts and end fittings stay firm and in place.{found on shadesofgreenla}.

Cable railing mountingView in gallery
There is no room for error when installing cable railings and everything has to be just right

The intermediate posts need to be spaced out properly. They provide mounting for the top rail and have a row of holes that support the cables as they pass through them. It’s generally recommended that the spacing between the posts be no more than 5 ft although some manufacturers require 3 ft to the center.

Cable spacing for railingView in gallery
Although the horizontal railings are the most common, the vertical type is just as versatile

Cable spacing is also important for the minimization of cable deflection. Usually, the maximum spacing that’s recommended is no bigger than a 3” opening between the cables.

View in gallery
The end fittings are the elements that connect the whole railing system

The cable end fittings are the elements that keep the whole system in place and tie everything together. The cables are attached to one end of the fitting while the other end is attached to the post. You can use tensioning or non-tensioning fittings depending on the system requirements and local building codes.{found on chateauandbungalow}.

Modern small balcony designView in gallery
Metal frames and posts are very common in modern design

It’s possible to install the cables into your existing railing system and this way to reduce the cost of the installation and materials. However, you need to make sure all the requirements are fulfilled.{found on s2architects}.

Beautiful lake dining on porchView in gallery
Thin posts and frames give the railings a more delicate appearance

And speaking of cost, the price of cable railing varies based on a series of factors such as the type of material used, the supplies and tools needed and labor. Usually, it’s double the cost of typical deck rails.{found on murphycodesign}.

Install the railing yourselfView in gallery
Cantilevered volumes that have open balconies or terraces could greatly benefit from cable railings

You can reduce the cost through a variety of methods. For example, you can buy discount materials, install the railing yourself, combine similar jobs to get a discount, install it during a low demand period or have multiple vendors bid on the same project.

Wood and cables can make some beautiful stairsView in gallery
Indoors, cable railings are often paired with wooden posts for a warm touch

Cable railings are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Also, they are preferred for both residential and commercial applications.{found on thecatskillfarms}.

Upstairs kitchen with some modering railingsView in gallery
They are popular in contemporary interiors with large open floor plans

When used indoors, they mostly suit modern and contemporary homes. They pair well with stainless steel frames or with combinations of materials that allow the minimalist design to remain simple while offering it a chic look.

Simple staircase design for modern houseView in gallery
They also offer a way for the staircase to blend in easily

The fact that cable railings are low-maintenance offers a big advantage. This is a big plus in the case of modern homes where simplicity and functionality are really important.{found on kozanlian}.

Industrial feeling with these stairsView in gallery
A combination of materials and textures can help create a balanced look

Another advantage is that cable railings don’t obstruct the view so they are preferred in small spaces or in zones that emphasize an open floor plan and an overall airy and spacious look.{found on theuncommonlaw}.