Install Cable Deck Railings in 7 Steps

A cable deck railing.
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Pencil and paper
Carpenter's level
Wire cutters
Wire crimper
Adjustable wrench
Open ended wrenches
Cable spindles, available in a kit
Phillips-head screws
Screwdriver or power drill
Long wood bolts and nuts
Cable, 1 cm x 19 inch segments
Support posts, wood, metal or vinyl-clad
Hand rail sections, 2x4 planks cut to size, or same as support posts
Tempered glass panels, cut to size, if required by building code

Sturdy cable deck railing on solid wood posts lends a rugged look to your deck and helps maintain a clear view of the surrounding landscape. Designs with slim metal posts add contemporary elegance to your modern house. Follow these directions to install your cable deck railing accurately to ensure its stability, safety, and beauty.

Step 1 - Check Building Code Guidelines for Your Municipality

Be aware that in many municipalities, cable deck railings are not permitted to be constructed as they provide footholds that make it possible to climb up and over the top support of the railing. Consult your municipal building codes to ensure that your cable deck railings will conform to safety guidelines. Rather than not install them at all, you may be able to reinforce one or both sides of the cable deck railing with tempered glass.

Step 2 - Measure the Total Length of the Cable Railing Sections

Measure the total length of the cable railing sections. Keep the distance between them to a maximum 24 inches, to be supported by a post made of wood, metals with a powdered paint coating, tubular stainless steel, or vinyl-coated aluminum.

Step 3 - Measure the Height of Your Railing and Install Support Posts

Railings should be between 25 and 46 inches in height, including a top handrail if desired, measured from the deck surface. Drill holes through the deck to attach support posts with the long bolts. Secure them below the deck with nuts.

Step 4 - Measure the Spacing for Cables

Plan for five horizontal cables 3½ inches from the top and bottom of a 25-inch high railing, 6 cables for a railing 36 inches high and 7 cables for deck railings up to 46 inches in height. Mark the cable placement as the center of a circle formed by the

Step 5 - Attach the Cable Spindles

These trumpet-shaped metal fixtures hold the cable in place at both ends. They measure about 4 inches long, and each holds at least 1 inch of cable. Attach the base to the post with a Phillips head screw, and twist on the spike to the outside edge of the base.

Step 6 - Insert the Cables

Push 1 inch of cable into each spindle. Use the adjustable wrench and wire crimper to compress the end of the spindle around the wire, and then hold and turn the spindle with the adjustable wrench at each end to pull the wire taut. Check each strand of wire cable is level before inserting the next.

Step 7 - Attach Top Hand Rail

Attach a 4-inch wide top handrail of the same material as the support posts, or accent any cable deck railing with a cedar or redwood handrail.