Railing News

How Tight Should Cable Railings be?

Cable Railings | February 21, 2023
Cable Railing Tensioning

Cable railing systems are an appealing, durable, and safe option that can be effectively used for most residential outdoor patios and decks. Despite the many benefits of these products, it is crucial to ensure that they are sufficiently tightened to allow for optimal performance and safety over time. As a leading provider of quality cable railing systems for decks of all sizes, the team at Vista Railing Systems knows how difficult it is to determine how tight cable railings should be. That is why we have provided some information to help you ensure that your new deck railing system is properly tensioned and set up for years of safe enjoyment.

Read our tips for a smooth deck railing installation.

Cable Railing System Tension Guidelines

When tensioning cables for your deck railing system, you will need to ensure that they are not too tight as this can bend the railing or posts. Alternatively, you also want to ensure that the cables are not too loose as they can easily be moved or stretched to create an opening that is hazardous for young children and pets. While there is no single set standard for how tight cable railings need to be, cables should be tight enough that they cannot be stretched apart to allow a small object to fit through them.

In most cases, cable railing systems that have been professionally engineered will already be calculated to hold a safe amount of tension and meet relevant code requirements. When purchasing cable railings from a reputable company, you should also receive an installation guide that will provide you with detailed instructions on how to properly tension the cables in your railing system. By following these instructions carefully, your railing system should be set at the proper tension when the job is complete.

How to Tension Your Cable Railing System

Once a cable has been anchored to the non-tensioned end of the system and has been threaded through all of the mid-posts, you will need to pull the cable by hand to the score line on the tensioner and then cut the cable at the score line. The cable will then need to be pushed into the tensioner and rotated in a clockwise motion. Next, you will need to attach the non-tensioning fitting and begin to tension the cable by holding the tensioner body with a flat 3/8″ wrench while using a 3/8″ open-ended wrench to rotate the female threaded section of the fitting onto the threads.

When tensioning cables, make sure to start with the centre cables, moving up and down toward the top and bottom. As you tension each cable, be sure to pull sharply downward mid-span to help set the wedges and then to re-tension as necessary in the same sequence. This will ensure that your system is properly tensioned while helping it maintain the correct tension over time.

To learn more about our cable railing systems and other railing solutions, get in touch with our team. Vista Railing Systems can be reached by phone (1-800-667-8247), text, or email and will be happy to help you choose the perfect solution for your home.