Five Tips for Horizontal Cable Railing Installation - Gauthier De LaPlante

Five Tips for Horizontal Cable Railing Installation

More and more homeowners are choosing to install horizontal cable railing to modernize their balcony, patio, deck or for any other indoor project. The main reason our customers install cable railing is to maximise their view on their yard, lake, river, sea or the forest. In urban area, owners choose cable railing to give a modern, elegant and refined style to their exterior design, especially for small deck. No matter where you live and what is the style of your project, here are some tips to take full advantage of this trend.


1 - What does the building code says about Horizontal Cable Railing?
According to the Canadian National Building Code (NBC) 2015, the installation of a horizontal cable railing systems is allowed up to a height of 4.2 meters (13'). In fact, the NBC stipulates that for guardrails protecting a level located less than 4.2 m above the adjacent level, the notion of guardrail not allowing climbing no longer applies. The majority of Canadian provinces have adopted these guidelines. Regulations can always vary from one municipality to another. We suggest you to validate with local authorities to right guidelines of your project. In the majority of municipalities, the installation of horizontal cable railing systems is allowed.


2 - Choice of materials for the railing structure
It’s up to you. If you choose to install a deck railing with wood posts, we recommend that you install 4”x4” end posts. If you want to install an aluminum or stainless steel railing (see our Posts & Handrail section), we recommend that you install 1½’’ x 1½ ’’ posts. Many of our customers also opt for 2’’ x 2’’ posts and sometimes 3’’ x 3’’ posts. Overall, it's a choice that depends on the look you want to create. All our products have been designed to meet these different options.

You should normally install intermediate posts at every 48". They make sure to keep each cable runs straight and they aim to support the top handrail.

It is essential to install a top rail. The handrail maintain the integrity of the structure once the cable runs have been tensioned. If you are installing aluminum post, you can install an aluminum handrail or even install a wooden handrail. The metal-wood look is often preferred by our customers and the result is superb. 

Read more on this topic: 

How to plan a cable railing project with metal posts?

How to plan a cable railing project with timber posts?


3 – Cable railing systems and stainless steel wire rope
It’s is easy to calculate the cost of the fittings needed to complete your project. The first step is to determine how many sections you have (between two end posts). For each new section (when turning 90⁰), you will normally need to install another cable railing assembly kit. The longer your sections, the less it will cost you!! Indeed, the same tensioner kits are installed whether you have a 4’ section or up to a 60’ section.

Then, you just need to determine the number of cable runs you want to install. For example, for a 36" high railing, we recommend installing 8 runs of cables. For a 42" high railing, we recommend installing 10 runs of cable.


4 – Choosing fittings and hardware
There are various types of tensioners and fittings on the market. It is absolutely necessary that the hardware used be made of quality stainless steel. We recommend choosing cable and hardware made from marine grade 316 stainless steel to ensure maximum durability and superior corrosion resistance.

At GauthierDeLaplante, we use marine-inspired hardware for its modern design and exceptional durability. All the hardware offered is of superior quality. The difference between the different sets lies in the design and installation methods. Some kits are made for straight runs while others are more suited for stairs.

5 - Installation
Once your railing structure is assembled (wood or metal) and you have the cable and hardware in hand, you are ready to install and tension the cables. The first installation step (and possibly the longest!) will be drilling the holes for all of your posts. If you purchase aluminum posts from GauthierDeLaPlante, the pre-drilling and painting of the posts will be done beforehand at our factory in Quebec city.

Then, you will have to install all the turnbuckles and fittings to the end posts. If you purchase the material from GauthierDeLaPlante, an installation guide will be included, according to the choice of hardware.

The installation of your horizontal cable railing system (10’ x 20’ x 10’) should take less than half a day, whether you do it by yourself or have it installed by a contractor.


Next thing to do is to enjoy the view!