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Common Concerns With Cable Railing and Their Solutions

Cable railings are a fantastic design option for homeowners looking to build their dream homes or redesign their existing homes. It offers unimpeded views of beautiful scenery and picturesque landscapes, adds a touch of luxury to your home, and provides safety for your family.

While numerous homeowners have enjoyed the openness and aesthetic appeal offered by cable railings, some are still on the fence. In this blog, we discuss some of the common concerns homeowners may have regarding cable railing, as well as what concerns are warranted and how to circumvent them with proper foresight.

Structural Integrity and Stability

Some homeowners raise concerns about the structural integrity and stability of cable railings. However, this type of railing is one of the most structurally sound options for rails and fencing. A typical cable railing installation is subjected to about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of tension. Each frame can easily carry around 200 to 300 pounds of load per cable rail, providing better stability and safety.

High quality cable railing systems can be DIY-friendly, but otherwise it’s best to work with seasoned installers since you need to account for different factors. This includes the load carried by the entire rail system, the different layouts for each installation and the specific types of posts you need to use. A weak frame can bow badly or fail when the cables are tightened up in a poorly-constructed setup. 

At Stainless Cable & Railing, our team uses the right setup and materials to prevent structural issues. For instance, we offer four different types of top rails with varying dimensions and materials depending on what clients need. Our posts have reinforced walls to handle the tension of cable infill without bending, and they can be mounted to any surface in a variety of ways: deck (surface), fascia (side), or core (embedded). Our mounting plates, brackets, and hardware will provide additional support and ensure stability on the posts as the cables are tightened.

Cable Sagging

Cables can sag due to insufficient tension and will also naturally tend to sag over the course of many years. However, this is only a minor issue that you can resolve easily using your own tools. If you find that your cables aren’t taut, you can make the adjustments using our comprehensive guide.

Cable sagging can also occur when posts are spaced too far apart. In these installations, the posts are not able to properly support the cables, increasing the weight and strain on each cable. This makes it easier for the cable to sag or deflect. It is best to adhere to the prescribed post spacing for proper installation. 

Ladder Effect and Safety Issues

The ladder effect is another safety issue raised by some homeowners. They may be concerned that children can feel tempted to climb over horizontal cable rails. However, this was already studied heavily by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which found that horizontal rails do not create this perceived issue.

There is, however, a risk that children may squeeze their head through an opening in any railing and become stuck. This safety issue can be eliminated by following safety standards during cable installation, which requires cables to be spaced no more than 3 inches apart in horizontal and vertical installations. This satisfies the sphere rule, which dictates that a 4-inch sphere (about the size of a small child’s head) must not be able to pass through the space between cables. We recommend 3in spacing over 4in spacing in cable applications, since the cables can be spread further apart given sufficient force.


Contractors are often asked, “Is cable deck railing expensive?” It’s more expensive compared to wooden picket railing but it’s a worthwhile investment. You’re paying a premium price for superior structural longevity, building materials that require less maintenance, and an unmistakable aesthetic you can’t get from cheaper options.

Product Dimension Issues

Project measurements can be tricky to obtain and communicate effectively. Misunderstandings regarding dimensions can lead to specific products not working together or fitting the space properly, which may result in having to reorder or replace certain parts of the railing. This potential issue is easy to circumvent, however, through open communication and meticulous measuring.

You will want to be working closely with your estimator. Follow their instructions for how to measure the project area and make sure all your measurements are based off the actual physical space and not guesses or projections. If components aren’t fitting as intended during installation due to unforeseen variables or honest mistakes, we will do our best to help rectify the situation.

Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality

When designing your home’s cable railing, you’ll want to balance aesthetics with functionality. Our specialists design structurally sound railing systems to ensure your family’s safety while improving your property’s curb appeal. In addition, we provide a range of options so you can create stunning interiors featuring distinct focal points and unrestricted open spaces.

Further, our team follows railing standards and international building codes (IBC) ensuring the stability of your railing system. These regulations have minimum specifications that must be met for the project to be deemed compliant. These requirements include maximum spacing between posts and cables, minimum tension on the cables, and the number of cables to be used. Building codes also contain standards for different types of materials, so make sure to check them out before beginning your project.

While we make sure during our collaboration that your railing system will be compliant with IBC, we rely on our customers to familiarize themselves with their unique local building codes and communicate them to us effectively to ensure full compliance. 

Upgrade Your Home Railings With Stainless Cable & Railing

It’s only natural to have concerns about the materials used for your home. For instance, you may ask, “does cable railing rust?” before considering it for your deck or balcony. All metal materials will corrode or rust given time. However, at Stainless Cable & Railing, we minimize corrosion and rusting by passivating all our stainless steel cable railing products. The process of passivation entails removing the free iron from the surface of the metal using a chemical-free citric acid solution, which helps remove and prevent rust. Once the surface iron is removed, other components of the alloy (primarily chromium, nickel in some cases) are left behind as a surface layer over the underlying steel. With periodic repassivation, our cable railings can be kept durable and corrosion-free. 

As a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-quality stainless steel cable railing solutions, Stainless Cable & Railing offers expert advice to help you get the most value out of your home railing system. Whether you’re dealing with problems with your current home railing installation or considering your options, our experts are ready to assist you. Give us a call at 888-621-4574 to talk to our experts today.

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