Railing News

How to Tension a Cable Railing

Cable Railings | January 28, 2021

It is important to make sure that the cables in your deck railing system are properly tightened so that they will meet cable railing code requirements and standards for your area. If you are unsure about how to tension a cable railing, the expert team from Vista Railings can help guide you through the process, preventing overtightening or under tightening of your cable railing system.

Learn about the advantages of cable railings.

Tensioning a Cable Railing

Start by connecting your non-tensioning fitting to the end post. Then anchor the cable into the non-tension fitting by inserting into the opening on the aforementioned fitting. Once a cable has been anchored to the non-tension end of the system and has been threaded through all of the mid-posts and intermediate picket spacers, you will need to hand pull the cable to the score line on the tensioner fitting and then cut the cable at the score line. Remove the female end of the tension fitting from the ‘male’ anchor portion of the tensioner fitting, and insert the cable into the female end of the fitting by pushing the cable into the opening on the tensioner fitting. 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 of the already installed male portion of the tensioning fitting..

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, make sure to pull sharply downward mid-span to help set the wedges and then to re-tension as necessary in the same sequence.

How Tight Should Cable Railings Be?

When tensioning cables for your deck railing system, it is important to ensure that they will not be so tight as to bend the railing or posts and that they will not be loose enough that they can be stretched, widening the space between the cables to more than four inches. Code requires cables to be tensioned to 200lb of tension pressure, cables should be tight enough that they cannot be stretched apart to a space larger than four inches to not allow an object that is four inches or greater to pass through. Engineered Cable rail systems will be designed to be tightened to meet the requirements of code to give you piece of mind.

Maintaining Cable Railing Tension

Cable railing systems that have been professionally engineered will already be calculated to hold up and to meet 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.

If you would like to learn more about how to tension a cable railing, or if you are interested in one of our cable railing systems, please contact Vista Railings at 1-800-667-8247. We would love to help you select the best cable railing system for your space.