Cable Railing Basics

Cable Railing Basics


Cable Spacing – 3 inches standard

Post Spacing – 4 foot standard

Cable Diameter – 5/32″ for all RailEasy™ and SunRail™, 1/8″ for HandiSwage™

How many rows of cable are needed? There are a wide variety of railing structures people use, top rail only, top and bottom rail, etc. To determine how many rows of cable you require, measure between the top of your deck or bottom rail to the bottom of your top rail. Divide that number by 3 and subtract 1. Example: For a standard 36″ rail with our stainless top rail you will have 34 inches, 34 / 3 = 11.33, 10 runs of cable are required and you will have a remainder of one inch which should be split between the top and bottom run of cable at install rendering spacing of 3.5 inches at those points. NOTE: This is also a good tool to use in designing a wood frame for cable railing and deciding on placement of your bottom rail or top under rail support. If you design to leave a space of 33 inches you get perfect spacing for 10 runs of cable.

What is the difference between RailEasy™ and SunRail: For RailEasy™ the customer always supplies the post, usually wood. For SunRail™ we supply the stainless steel post.

Hardware Placement: This is variable, but in general, you will have hardware at each end of each continuous run of cable. Most corners will start a new run of cable and require a set of hardware on two sides of the post.

Cable Sleeve Use: Cable sleeves have a specific purpose, other than looking good. They are used when putting cable through corners or level changes such as a stairway without adding tensioning hardware. In order to use this method on a corner, you must double post the corner.

Double post with cable sleeve example

In order to use this method on an elevation change, the post must be aligned from one elevation to the next, for instance where you have a straight run directly into a stairway. You must have a tensioning device on both ends of the corner where you used cable sleeves.

HandiSwage™: There are two basic types of cable railing hardware available, surface mount and through post. The HandiSwage™ products represent our through post tensioning system. The tensioning and fastening is done on the back side of the post using a simple hex nut and your choice of decorative cover to use. HandiSwage™ Instructions