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Cable Rail How To

RailEasy Cable Railing Design and Installation Guide

This page will guide you through the proper design and installation of the RailEasy Cable Railing. You will require only a few parts and simple hand tools to complete a beautiful Cable Railing project.

Cable Railing Tools for Do It Yourself Install

1-Rail Easy Drilling Template (accurate drilling guide)
1- 1/8" Allen Wrench (for turning tensioner body to tension cable)
1- 7/16" Stainless Steel Wrench for releasing lock nut and turning cone onto stud
1- 5/16" Stainless Steel Wrench for holding stud bolt
1- 1/8" Drill Bit for drilling tensioner screw holes, and rail side mount screw holes
1- 7/32" x 5 1/2 " Drill Bit for drilling mid post through holes

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Cable Spacing

Our standard cable Spacing is 3" on center running the length of each post. Cable Railing requires support (mid post) every 4 to 5 feet or as necessary to maintain cable spans with minimum deflection.  For each foot over 5 feet that you run cable between posts you must move your cable ¼ inch closer together or use a cable stabilizer. We suggest you never run cable spans over 6 feet between post and at 6 feet your cable spacing should be no more than 2 .75". Atlantis Rail has independent test results showing that the RailEasy Cable Railing System (AKA Vanguard Rail System) meets and exceeds the requirements of the International Building Code and International Rasidential Code at post spacing up to 5 feet only. Any variance from our recomendations should be discussed with your building inspector before proceeding with a project. Post spacing over 5 feet is done at your own risk.

To calculate your cable requirement you must measure from the top of  your deck or bottom rail to the bottom of your top rail, then divide that number by the cable spacing (3") and subtract 1. example. 30 inches between deck and top rail: 30 / 3 =10 and 10-1= 9.  The requirement is 9 runs of cable.

Cable Specifications

We recommend and sell only 1x19 construction, and only type 316 (marine grade) stainless steel cable. We use a standard diameter 5/32" cable, but other options are available. Cable for railing applications come in four basic diameters and two potential constructions. The basic diameters are 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", and 1/4". For cable railings, you want to use a construction that is rigid as possible and will not stretch.

Post Planning and Installation

You will be working with three types of Post; End Post used at each starting point or ending point, Corner Post used at every change of direction, and Mid Post used to support rails and cable between end and corner post.

Cable Railing End Post and Corner Post

The attachment of the post to the decking is extremely important and should check local code requirements. Most municipal building departments provide specific drawings and examples of preferred post attachment methods.  Substantial end and corner post are always necessary to prevent the posts from bending under the cable tension, if post material is not strong enough to withstand tension it may cause the post to bow and the cables to sag. A minimum 4x4 (3-1/2 " square) post are required. 

Cable Railing Mid Post

Cable Railing Mid Posts should be placed at intervals between end or corner posts as frequently as necessary to meet building code requirements. Mid Posts should be placed every 4 to 5 feet or as necessary to maintain cable spans with minimum deflection.  For each foot over 5 feet that you run cable you must move your cable ¼ inch closer together. You should never run cable spans over 6 feet and at 6 feet your cable spacing should be 2.75". Atlantis Rail has independent test results showing that the RailEasy Cable Railing System (AKA Vanguard Rail System) meets and exceeds the requirements of the International Building Code and International Rasidential Code at post spacing up to 5 feet only. Any variance from our recomendations should be discussed with your building inspector before proceeding with a project. Post spacing over 5 feet is done at your own risk.

With cable spaced vertically 3" on centers as recommended the cable should be supported in some manner no more than every 48" along its run. Atlantis Rail makes a Cable Stabilizer Kit which includes 42 inch 1" Stainless Steel Tube drilled a 3" on center for cable to pass through and two mounting brackets. You cut the tube to your required length in the field.  If you are ising the cable stabilizer to run longer than recomended lengths you must be sure to discuss this with you building inspector before proceeding.

Cable Railing - Cable Stabilizer Kit

This is not a mid post! Specifically for use where post to post measurement spans over 5 feet. Adapts longer spans to code compliance by stabilizing the deflection of cable between post. Each kit comes with a 42 inch stantion pre-drilled to work with our standard 3 inch spacing. In most cases the stantion must be field cut at both ends for an accurate fit into your system. The Cable Stabilizer Kit cannot be used to replace the use of substantial Mid Post and should never be used in spans over 8 feet.

Part Number S0950-0060

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Adding the Rails

A top rail is always necessary when building a cable railing. The top rail should always be installed in a way that allows the top rail to absorb and deflect the pressure applied when cable is tensioned. It is a best practice to secure top rails between the post rather than simply placing the rail on top of the post.

Bottom rails add support to any railing system and it allows for a foot rest when leaning on the railing.

Cable Tensioner Selection:

Our Cable Railing Tensioner is designed to be used with only 5/32" 1x19 cable, but we have other tensioner selections available. Along with the Cable Railing Tensioner we have 3 non-tensioning cable attachment parts which can be used for a variety of applications. All of our Cable Railing attachments use the same patented RailEasy mechanical crimping technology to securely fasten the cable. The  RailEasy cable attachment utilizes an aluminum wedge that slides through the hole in the tensioner cone and crimps the cable in place. Since this aluminum wedge can react to salt water over time you must seal the end of the cone with silicone after installation. Use a very small amount of silicone as a small tube of silicone will complete a large project.  Our cable railing Sleeves can also be used to transition angles of 45 degrees or less without adding tensioners, but the directions for using the sleeves must be followed carefully.

The RailEasy Cable Tensioner is our primary Cable Railing tensioning/fastening device. The device works by crimping an aluminum wedge (6) onto the cable by tightening the cone (7) onto the threaded stud (4). Once the cable is attached the tensioner is manipulated by turning the tensioner body (2) as you hold the threaded stud by the half nut just below the tensioner cone.

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RailEasy Swivel End (non tensioning, requires a RailEasy tensioner at the opposite end): The S0981-S004 is designed for use in short runs and must always be used with a C981-0004 tensioner at the opposite end of a cable run. We recommend the S0981-S004 should not be used in a cable run over 20 feet in total length. You should always match the fittings at corners or other conspicuous positions to insure the aesthetic appearance of your RailEasy Cable Rail System

 

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This is the correct combination of Tensioner and Swivel Fitting

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RailEasy Lag Stud (non tensioning, requires a RailEasy tensioner at the opposite end): The S0980-L004 (left thread) and S0980-R004 (right thread) are designed for use in short runs and must always be used with a C981-0004 tensioner at the opposite end of a cable run. We recommend these fittings should not be used in a cable run over 16 feet in total length. You should always match the fittings at corners or other conspicuous positions to insure the aesthetic appearance of your RailEasy Cable Rail System.

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Rail Easy Cable Sleeves - S0915-0438 (10 packs): The Rail Easy Cable Sleeve is made to protect your wood post from chafing and incidental damage from cable rubbing around the outside of your mid post cable holes. This component can also be used to transition angles up to 45 degrees and stairways coming off a straight run. We recommend that the Cable Sleeve not be used in conjunction with cable runs of more than 16 feet on either side of a transition. The outside diameter of the Cable Sleeve is 1/4 inch and requires a 1/4 drilled hole, this should provide a tight fit. The inside diameter is 7/32 which gives the cable a total 1/16" clearance.

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Cutting Your Cable:

Cable should be cut only after you have all of your post, rails, Tensioners and other cable railing  components in place. Generally we advise that you string one run of cable in a give cable section and fasten it into the tensioner and then pull the cable tight against the tensioner or fitting at the  opposite end. Once pulled tight to a position approximatly at the bottom of the opposite cone you can cut the cable and remove it by pulling back through your post and undoing the tensioner stud  where the cable was connected and lay it out on the deck. Now remove the next tensioner stud in the series and connect a new cable run to it and have an assistant hold them even while you un-spool the cable to match the length. Cut the next cable and all subsequent cable for that same run to the same length. Once all cables are cut, pull them through all of the mid post to the opposite end and put the tensioner studs back in where removed. Now you are ready to intert the cable into the far tensioner cones and fasten the cable for tensioning.

Tensioning the Cable:

Now you are ready to complete your installation by tensioning your cables.  Simply follow the directions per Cable tensioning illustration and make sure the follow the proper tensioning sequence per the diagram

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Completing Your Project:

You may need to tension your cables a second time depending on what type of railing material and design you used, but once you have your cable tensioned to the desired tightness you should clean all components with a chloride-free cleanser  (car wash liquid is perfect) and if near sale water you should use a passivating fluid, available from Atlantis Rail. The passivating fluid does an excellent job of removing any potential iron deposits left from tools during installation. When you have cleaned everthing it is recomended that you put a small dab of silicone around the tip of the tensioner cone to seal the cone and interior wedge, this is a preventative measure to prevent water  (particularly salt water) from entering the tensioner cone and causing potnetial problems years later. You will not see the silicone after application.