Cable Railing is a safety guardrail assembly you can install in various indoor and outdoor spaces. With this in mind, you must consider structural requirements, material options, project location, cost, building code compliances, and more to ensure a smooth installation. Understanding those elements makes you avoid problems and get the most out of your Cable Railing project.
You will find in this article helpful information about horizontal Cable Railing Systems Building Codes and how Inline Design railing products are designed to exceed those code requirements without sacrificing on design.
- How strong should Cable Railing be?
- How high should Cable Railing Posts be?
- How far apart can Cable Railing Posts be?
- How far apart should Cables be?
- How many Cables?
- What Cable is best for Cable Railing?
- Are there different types of Top Rails?
- How big to Drill Holes for Cable Railing?
- How Long to run Cable Railing?
- Do Cable Railing Rust?
- Is Cable Railing Safe?
- How to tension Cable Railing?
- How to install Cable Railing?
- What are the Pros and Cons of Cable Railing Systems?
- What is the Cost of Cable Railing?
- What is the Cost of Cable Railing vs. Glass Railing?
- What is the Cost of Stainless Steel Cable Railing vs. Aluminum?
- Stair Cable Railing: Top Things to Consider When Installing
- Choosing Stair Cable Railing Systems
- Planning your Stair Cable Railing Installation
- Installing Safe and Stylish Stair Cable Railing
- Why Knowing Your Project Requirements is Important?
- Benefits of Professional Installation
Feel free to browse our design articles blog and our image gallery to get design ideas. With years of experience, the Inline Design team can work with you to create a top-of-the-line Cable Railing System for your property.
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1. How strong should Cable Railing be?
The International Residential Code (2) requires top rails to be capable of sustaining a concentrated load of 200 lb horizontally or vertically at any point of the railing component. Local building codes may also call for smaller loads at 20 lb per square foot applied to the cable infill.
The presence of cables is what makes cable guardrail systems unique. The posts should be sturdy enough to sustain the pulling force associated with the steel cables. Additionally, top rails are frequently exposed to light impacts and pressure from objects or individuals leaning on the structure.
2. How high should Cable Railing Posts be?
Most state residential codes require railing to be 36" minimum height. California (7) is an exception to this standard, requiring railing to be at least 42" for all residential railing installations. The 42" railing height requirement is also applicable to commercial building codes. The post height is measured from the floor to the top of the handrail.
All railing installations must comply with applicable standards related to post height and cable spacing. When determining the height of the railing posts, you should factor in the handrail, type of location, as well as local, city, and international building codes (3).
3. How far apart can Cable Railing Posts be?
A 4 ft maximum distance center to center between the posts is recommended to meet the 36" or 42" posts requirements and address the cable deflection. No opening should be larger than 4 inches. Spacing between posts should be kept consistent (when possible) along the cable assembly to assist aesthetics. Building Code (3) requires that the spacing of posts not exceed an amount that could increase the cable deflection.
4. How far apart should Cables be?
Less than 3 1/4" spacing between cables taking into account the cable deflection related to post spacing. According to the International Code Council (4), a 4" sphere should not be able to pass through gaps.
5. How many Cables?
Cable Railing Systems with 36" high posts should use 10 horizontal cable runs. Cable Railing Systems with 42" high posts should use 12 horizontal cable runs. Building codes dictate that no opening shall be more than 4". The 10 and 12 cable count makes the distance between the cables 3 1/8".
6. What Cable is best for Cable Railing?
1x19 Strand Stainless Steel Wire has the smoothest construction while being strong with low flex and stretch properties. These specifications (8) make it the ideal solution for railing applications.
7. Are there different types of Top Rails?
The top rail completes the railing frame required for your Cable Railing project. Stainless steel is highly recommended for the top rails. The metal is resistant to corrosion, moisture, debris, and light impacts.
Marine-grade stainless steel is applicable to railing installed in rugged locations, such as outdoor beachfront properties, docks, outdoor decks, rooftops, etc. In addition, stainless steel top rails are suitable for indoor spaces, including commercial sites, offices, and public buildings.
Some project requirements may call for wooden top rails. To ensure long-term structural integrity, individuals should consider mounting a steel bar under the wood top rail for additional support. This implementation can help keep the wood component functional and intact, mainly as safety barriers on decks, stairs, and ramps.
8. How big to Drill Holes for Cable Railing?
Intermediate posts need to be drilled to get the cable through. Drill holes about 5/64" (or 2mm) bigger than the diameter of the used cable to avoid excessive cable deflection.
9. How Long to run Cable Railing?
The recommended cable run maximum distance is 30 feet on straight runs when using a 1/8" diameter of 1 x 19 Construction Type 316 Stainless Steel Cables. A cable run consists of a cable tensioner, a cable terminal, and a wire. The rule of thumb is that on corners, cable runs end.
10. Do Cable Railing Rust?
Cable Railing made of Stainless Steel Grade AISI 316 do not rust when properly maintained especially in environments conducive to corrosion.
11. Is Cable Railing Safe?
Cable Railing is structurally safe and meets building code when properly installed. The Cable Railing structure relies on the tightness of the cable infills. End posts and corner posts need to be strong enough to support the pulling force of the cables.
12. How to tension Cable Railing?
Each cable run is made from one tensioner, one terminal, and a cable. Apply a tension meter tool on the cable, then twist the tensioner hardware enough to have your desired reading on the tension meter. Repeat this process on the remaining cable runs to have equal tension on all the wires.
- Start tensioning from the middle cable and then work your way out to the top and bottom. Tension the cables equally using a tension meter.
- Avoid over tensioning the cables. See tip sheet on how to use the tension meter.
- Cut all the wires of the same run to the same length. Make sure that all the posts are leveled from all the sides.
- Make sure your handrail or top rail is installed properly before installing the cables.
13. How to install Cable Railing?
To install Cable Railing Systems, you mount the posts or balusters with 4' maximum apart. Then mount the top rail tubing to support the posts from the pulling force of the cables.
Run the cables from End posts through Middle posts to End Posts. No opening shall be more than 3 1/4". Tension the cables equally. Use Cable Cutters to cut any wire excess.
14. What are the Pros and Cons of Cable Railing Systems?
When deciding whether to choose a Cable Railing Systems or not, you have to weigh the pros and cons and consider all important factors. Cable Railing for decks and porches is a common choice for homeowners. Whether Stainless Steel Cable Railing Systems are an ideal deck accessory comes down to your personal preference. It's about price, aesthetics, and maintenance performance.
- It is a more practical solution to your railing needs: a Cable Deck Railing, a Stair Cable Railing, or a cable balcony railing. It can replace traditional railing materials such as wood and glass infills.
- It can significantly improve the appearance of the establishment without obstructing the view.
- It can be easily configured to match the needs of your space with the help of correct products and tools such as the right Cable Railing kit, which includes post types, tension kits, and cables.
- It is easy to install; in most instances, it wouldn't require any professional help for as long as your cable rail kit is complete with thorough instructions.
- Cable Railing Systems make a good investment, especially if you are looking for a long-term one. It can significantly increase the resale value of your home.
- It is a flexible railing option, especially considering the installation process, design, and usability. You can use it in homes, commercial establishments, and offices.
- Stainless Steel has low maintenance costs and is 100% recyclable.
- The installation process of the wire railing is not complicated but will take some time.
- Some city's building codes do not allow horizontally installing Cable Railing Systems; check with your locale building department.
- Cable Railing Systems can be more expensive than the traditional all-wood railing. The added value offsets this upfront cost to your property.
15. What is the Cost of Cable Railing?
The cost of Cable Railing Systems usually ranges between $70 and $150 per linear foot. The price varies greatly depending on the material (wood is cheaper than metal) and how many corner and end posts you use. Cable Railing is moderately expensive for a railing system and more affordable than other railing types like glass and rods.
16. What is the Cost of Cable Railing vs. Glass Railing?
Glass railing is also popular among high-end homes. When it comes to visibility, these two are toe-to-toe — slim cables almost vanish from a distance, and panels of glass offer great visibility if they're treated to be glare-free. However, in terms of Cable Railing vs. Glass Railing costs, it isn't so close.
Cable handrails are often less expensive than glass, especially if you're using wooden posts. This is also true for maintenance — stainless steel railing systems prices drop quite a bit when you realize they don't need to be regularly wiped with a cleanser.
17. What is the Cost of Stainless Steel Cable Railing vs. Aluminum?
While prices vary between manufacturers, there's a clear winner in terms of Cable Railing made of Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum costs. Aluminum may be less durable, especially in saltwater environments, and require more maintenance, but it's less expensive than cable handrails. However, if you need a stronger and longer-lasting railing solution, Stainless Steel Cable Railing is a great investment.
18. Stair Cable Railing: Top Things to Consider When Installing
Stair Cable Railing Systems are a stylish way to complement the interior and exterior of a property. The discreet design and unique looks work with a wide range of décor, including modern, contemporary, and traditional themes.
A great way to update your home is by installing marine-grade stainless steel Stair Cable Railing on your staircase. This home area is often overlooked, yet it can create a focal point with a simple yet sophisticated design. For both small and large properties, a wire railing can easily open up a space. This high-quality popular railing option blends living areas and creates fluidity between different rooms in your home.
There are several essential elements to consider when installing a Stair Cable Railing system. Careful planning of your railing project will ensure a seamless and successful installation.
19. Choosing Stair Cable Railing Systems
Stair Cable Railing style will depend on your personal preferences and the area you are planning to install. There are a variety of options available that can be fitted by both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. A popular look includes steel frames and industrial styling, which works perfectly for people wanting to achieve a contemporary theme.
Other options feature Stair Cable Railing Systems with wood frames, creating a natural and subtle style. If your home is small, making the staircase an open and stylish feature can give the illusion of more space. The stairway railing does this by taking away visual barriers and contributing to an open-plan feel.
20. Planning your Stair Cable Railing Installation
There are many elements to Stair Cable Railing, but implementing this unique feature can be straightforward once you've covered the basics. The installation can be a "Do It Yourself" job, or you can seek the help of a professional. Whichever way you decide to undertake this project, ordering the railing is the next step.
Inline Design can produce Stair Cable Railing posts to your specifications if you have an idea in mind. Each part of the system is considered, from the post and rail spacing to the end caps and post railing design.
Using step-by-step guidance and providing detailed measurements can help you achieve a perfect railing system customized to your property.
21. Installing Safe and Stylish Stair Cable Railing
The right tools and guidance are essential for successful Stair Cable Railing installation. Make sure that your project complies with local building codes before you begin. Wearing protective clothing, gloves, and a breathing mask will also ensure your safety.
Here's a handy guide from Inline Design to help you with the process.
These simple yet effective documents guide you through each step of placing and installing railing parts to ensure a safe and secure staircase system.
22. Why Knowing Your Project Requirements is Important?
For large or complex projects, the installed Cable Railing system often includes handrails. It is recommended to double-check field measurements, dimensions, and finalized shop drawings to prevent bottlenecks. This crucial step can prevent delays and miscalculations during fabrication. If it is not possible to make field measurements, individuals may obtain guaranteed dimensions from their contractors.
Obtain guaranteed dimensions in writing by the Contractor—coordinate fabrication and delivery schedule of handrails with construction progress and sequence to avoid delay of railing installation.
23. Benefits of Professional Installation
Some people may prefer a professional installer for their Cable Railing Systems for that extra peace of mind. As railing is for Safety, Donnie Balvin from Inline Design explains that "It's advisable to get a professional because of this factor." Donnie also notes that "Handy DIY customers can install most of our products. But to install an entire system like our Arcadia, a welder is required since the top rail needs to be cut/mitered and welded on the job site."
Cable Railing is a practical and stylish way to make a home or business space safer.
Disclaimer: Customers are encouraged to call their local city for information about their local building codes (4). City building codes supersede national building codes. Inline Design is providing this information in an advisory capacity only. The company is not liable for any non-compliance with applicable building codes associated with railing installations.