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Cable Railing "How To"
This page will guide you through the proper design and installation of the RailEasy™ Cable Railing System. You will require only a few parts and simple hand tools to complete a beautiful cable railing project.
Cable Railing Tools for Do It Yourself Install
RailEasy™ Drilling Template (accurate drilling guide)
Cable Railing Spacing
Our standard cable spacing is 3" on-center running the length of each post. Cable railing requires support (mid posts) every 4 feet or as necessary to maintain cable spans with minimum deflection. For each foot over 4 feet that you run cable between posts, you must move your cable 1/4" closer together or use a cable stabilizer. We suggest you never run cable spans over 5 feet between post and at 5 feet your cable spacing should be no more than 2-3/4". Atlantis Rail has independent test results showing that the RailEasy™ Cable Railing System meets and exceeds the requirements of the International Building Code and International Residential Code at post spacing up to 4 feet. Any variance from our recommendations should be discussed with your building inspector before proceeding with a project. Post spacing over 4 feet is done at your own risk.
To calculate your cable requirement you must measure from the top of your deck or bottom rail to the bottom of your top rail, then divide that number by the cable spacing (3") and subtract 1.
Cable Railing Specifications
We recommend and sell only 1x19 construction, and only type 316 (marine grade) stainless steel cable. We use a standard diameter 5/32" cable. Cable for railing applications come in four basic diameters and two potential constructions. The basic diameters are 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", and 1/4". For cable railings, you want to use a construction that is rigid as possible and will not stretch.
Cable Railing Post Planning and Installation
You will be working with three types of posts; end posts, used at each the starting or ending point, corner posts, used at every change of direction, and mid posts, used to support rails and cable between end and corner posts.
Cable Railing End Posts and Corner Posts
The attachment of the post to the decking is extremely important. Check local code requirements. Most municipal building departments provide specific drawings and examples of preferred post attachment methods. Substantial end and corner post are always necessary to prevent the posts from bending under the cable tension. If post material is not strong enough to withstand tension, it may cause the post to bow and the cables to sag. A minimum 4x4 (3-1/2 " square) post is required.
Cable Railing Mid Post
Cable railing requires support (mid posts) every 4 feet or as necessary to maintain cable spans with minimum deflection. For each foot over 4 feet that you run cable between posts, you must move your cable 1/4" closer together or use a cable stabilizer. We suggest you never run cable spans over 5 feet between post and at 5 feet your cable spacing should be no more than 2-3/4". Atlantis Rail has independent test results showing that the RailEasy™ Cable Railing System meets and exceeds the requirements of the International Building Code and International Residential Code at post spacing up to 4 feet. Any variance from our recommendations should be discussed with your building inspector before proceeding with a project. Post spacing over 4 feet is done at your own risk.
Cable Railing - Cable Stabilizer Kit
This is not a mid post! It is specifically for use where post to post measurements span over 4 feet. It adapts longer spans to code compliancey by stabilizing the deflection of cable between posts. The Cable Stabilizer Kit includes a 42" x 1" stainless steel tube drilled at 3" on-center for cable to pass through and two mounting brackets. In most cases, the stanchion must be field cut at both ends for an accurate fit into your system. If you are using the cable stabilizer to run longer than recommended lengths you must be sure to discuss this with you building inspector before proceeding. The Cable Stabilizer Kit cannot be used to replace the use of substantial mid posts and should never be used in spans over 8 feet.
Part Number S0950-0060
Adding the Rails
A top rail is always necessary when building a cable railing system. The top rail should always be installed in a way that allows the top rail to absorb and deflect the pressure applied when cable is tensioned. It is a best practice to secure top rail between the post rather than simply placing the rail on top of the post.
Bottom rails add support to any railing system and it allows for a foot rest when leaning on the railing.
Cable Railing Hardware Selection
Our cable railing hardware is designed to be used with only 5/32", 1x19 cable. Along with the cable railing tensioner we have 4 non-tensioning cable attachment parts which can be used for a variety of applications. All of our cable railing attachments use the same patented RailEasy™ mechanical crimping technology to securely fasten the cable. The RailEasy™ cable attachment utilizes an wedge that slides through the hole in the tensioner cone and crimps the cable in place.
Once the complete RailEasy™ Tensioner is mounted on your post, the cable is inserted inside the Receiver Cone (7) and Wedge (6) approximately 1/8” past the bottom edge of the wedge to accommodate the Spacer (5). The cone is tightened onto the Threaded Stud which forces the wedge to push through the cone and bite into the cable as it is tightened.
RailEasy™ Swivel End (non-tensioning, requires a RailEasy™ Tensioner at the opposite end)
RailEasy™ Lag Stud (non tensioning, requires a RailEasy™ Tensioner at the opposite end)
RailEasy™ Stud Assembly
RailEasy™ Cable Sleeves
Cutting Your Cable
Cable should be cut only after you have all of your post, rails, tensioners and other cable railing components in place. Generally we advise that you string one run of cable in a given cable section and fasten it into the tensioner and then pull the cable tight against the tensioner or fitting at the opposite end. Once pulled tight to a position approximately at the bottom of the opposite cone you can cut the cable and remove it by pulling back through your post and undoing the tensioner stud where the cable was connected and lay it out on the deck. Now remove the next tensioner stud in the series and connect a new cable run to it and have an assistant hold them even while you un-spool the cable to match the length. Cut the next cable and all subsequent cable for that same run to the same length. Once all cables are cut, pull them through all of the mid posts to the opposite end and put the tensioner studs back in where removed. Now you are ready to insert the cable into the far tensioner cones and fasten the cable for tensioning.
Tensioning a Cable Railing
Now you are ready to complete your installation by tensioning your cables. Simply follow the directions and make sure to follow the proper tensioning sequence per the diagram.
Completing Your Cable Railing Project:
You may need to tension your cables a second time depending on what type of railing material and design you used, but once you have your cable tensioned to the desired tightness you should clean all components with a chloride-free cleanser (car wash liquid is perfect) and if near salt water you should use a passivating fluid, available through Atlantis Rail. The passivating fluid does an excellent job of removing any potential iron deposits left from tools during installation.