How to Design

How to Design Your Cable Railing System

The following elements are a guideline to help you design your unique cable railing project.

  1. End Post: The most important element due to its supportive function of the cables' tension.

    The following are the most common types of post and spec.

    Wood Post: The 6" x 4" wood post is strongly recommended to support the tension. 

    Square Tube: 1/4" thickness is recommended.

    Round Tube: Schedule 80 or thicker is recommended.

    Angle Post: 2" wide x 1/2" thickness is recommended. 

    Flat Bar: 1/2" thickness with double bars and bridged between 2 bars to withstand the tension. 

  2. Middle Post: The middle post should be no more than 4 feet for a horizontal railing and 3 feet for a vertical railing. Since they are just for supporting the cable, they do not require the same strength as the end post. 


  3. Hole to Drill: It depends on the type of fittings you choose. If you use the pre-fabricated assembly, the holes should be large enough to pass through the cable assembly on the middle post. If you choose the DIY fittings, the holes on the middle post can be smaller. In this catalog, we indicated the hole's size requirements to drill on each of our fittings. 


  4. Cable Diameter: Although we carry cable and fitting from 1/8" to 5/8", the most common and cost efficient sizes are 1/8", 3/16", and 1/4" for residential and commercial applications.


    We supply cable:
    1/8" Diameter - Cable Types: 1x19, 7x19
    3/16" Diameter - Cable Types: 1x19, 7x19
    1/4" Diameter - Cable Types: 1x19, 7x19


  5. Cable Type: We offer 1x19, 7x7, and 7x19 in construction, but the most suitable one is 1x19 because of its stiffness, which prevents stretching. 


  6. Cable Length: Within 30 ft., "Tensioning End Fittings" can be used on both ends, between 30 ft-50 ft. A "Turnbuckle" is recommended at least on one end for better adjustment. 


  7. Cable Spacing: Check with your local city for building codes. We recommend spacing to be between 1/2" to 2" less than the building code requirement.


  8. Cable Tension: We recommend 35 lbs. of tension for each cable. The strength on the end post is critical. 


  9. Machine Swage vs. Hand Swage: Most of our fittings are machine swage. It requires a special roller machine to swage the cable into the fitting, which will guarantee the safety and load limit of the assembly. However, we do offer some fittings that customers can swage at the job site with our special hand tool. Unlike the machine swage fittings, the hand swage fittings will provide between 60-70% of the cable strength if done properly.

    Feel free to call us if we could be of further assistance.