Looking For Inexpensive Cable Railing

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Old 01-06-08, 05:52 PM
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Looking For Inexpensive Cable Railing

I'm building a house that is modern in design.

I would like to do cable railing on the decks and interior stairway. I'm looking at needing roughly 250' of railing. The least expensive bid I've gotten so far is in the $70. per foot range.

Does anyone have an inexpensive source for something like what Ultratec offers? I'm looking to get all the hardware for $25. per foot.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 04:17 AM
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Just the cable cost itself will be astounding. For outside use, you would be better off using stainless, which is really costly. Remember you will have to install the cable to where there is no more than 4" between the cables. They must be kept taut, and tightening 8 cables on a single run the same tautness will be a bear.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 04:34 PM
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I'm assuming that that $70/ft. bid is just for the material. You might find it for a couple dollars less, but $25/ft. is a pipe drream.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 05:09 PM
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No the $70. per foot was installed.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 05:22 PM
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I'd get a couple other bids and verify what they are using for material.

At $70/ft., the bidder has to be using really low end stuff.

And getting it installed for $25/ft. simply isn't going to happen. You couldn't even do it yourself for that, with the labor cost being zero.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:50 PM
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Lefty - you are right and I apologize for not stating my needs more clearly. I am hoping that I can get the materials in bulk for $25/ft. The installation will be a DIY.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 07:20 PM
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kayas,

No appology necessary. But I don't think that $25/ft. a realistic price for the material. Mat'l for cable railing works out to closer to $50/ft.

The customer usually doesn't realize it going in, but when I bid a deck, I know that the price of the railing is going to be roughly the same as the price for just the deck. A $20K deck -- add about $20k for the railing, depending on what they want to use. Vinyl is the cheapest, wood is next highest, but too much maintenance, metal is mid-range, cable and glass panels are slightly more and composite is above all of that.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 07:45 PM
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Lefty - many thanks for helping clear this up for me. So depending on the materials used the $72/ft bid may be very reasonable. This is the low end and the high end is a bit over $100/ft.

FWIW I got a bid - going all powder coated 3/8" steel tube - installed at $55/ft. It isn't exactly the look I'm going after, but will suit this house okay.

Again many thanks for you help.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 09:18 PM
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kayas,

Cable railing -- $72 is certainly low end. $100 or so may be a bit high, but certainly more in the range I would expect. The system has pricey parts, and installation is pretty labor intensive to get it right.

Powder coated steel at $55 is again low end for that system, but it's $8k to $12k less than the cable, and I'm sure that you are looking more at bottom line than the finished product.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 09:53 PM
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You are right about the bottom line. Unfortunately I don't have an unlimited budget. I guess I fall into the owners that have to find places to conserve money where they can.

Since the house is being built on a hillside there has been a huge amount of money spent on site prep. I have 100' L x 14' H concrete retaining wall that then steps up the driveway for another 80'. This is a big ticket item. Between that wall and the foundation walls, I'll have nearly 10 tons of rebar used on this project.

I had to forgo wood interior windows with metal exteriors for vinyl because there was a $50K difference from the same company.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not crying poor. It's just that compromises have to be made to still be able to pay for a finished house.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 10:12 PM
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Yip -- it's all about the budget!

Putting the house on a hill adds a lot to the cost. But the hill is what is going to give you the view (or at least the LOOK) that you want. To pay for that, you have to cut $50k on the windows you REALLY want, $10K on the deck you REALLY want, and I'm sure that's just the beginning of the list.

I've yet to come across the customer that tells me "this is what I want, go do it, and send me the bill". (Sure would nice if I could tho!!)

No, they all have the house of their dreams in mind, but once the estimates start coming in, they are forced to make their choices to get the house as close to that as they can that is within their budget.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 10:24 PM
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This is the property and view of my dreams - not quite the house of my dreams. Still, it will be a home that I will love living in even if it isn't exactly what I really want.
 
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Old 01-08-08, 04:45 AM
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One thing to consider about cable-rail type systems: they form "ladders" for children to climb - a particularly hazardous situation if there is a considerable drop on the far side.
 
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Old 12-11-08, 01:17 PM
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Michael Thomas,

I agree about a cable railing system being viewed as a ladder by children (and some of those "children" might actually have quite a few birthdays behind them!!)

I've installed a couple for customers who wanted them for the view, and not obstructing it. But when that is their reason for wanting cable, I suggest going to tempered glass panels.

Either one is going to be one of the higher end railings, and the cost will work out about the same regardless of which is used. Somewhat less view obstruction with cable, but glass is safer.
 
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Old 01-06-09, 07:55 AM
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cable railing systems

I do cable railings for a living, both complete installs and assists. There is no such thing as a cheap cable syste., however there are ways to save money. Some are...

Build your decks with long, straight runs as short runs eat up fittings. That's where the money is.

A cable railing has a very specific spacing on the framework. it has to be well anchored on the posts that have tensioning fittings attached and there are also intermediate posts required every so many feet to maintain the spacing. Also be aware that many manufacturerers say to install cable on 3" centers, because at 4" you can get the opening to exceed the 4" many codes require which fails the system.

Offset your corner post runs so that you do not have to use turnbuckle fittings. They are very expensive. Use threaded thru terminals at every opportunity for your tensioning fittings, and if possible for both ends.

I use CS Johnson products for my installs and will be happy to answer questions about their line or general install or lay-outs.
 
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