The majority of owners who choose to install horizontal cable railing systems with an aluminum structure do so in order to minimize maintenance. However, some of our customers ask us if there is minimal maintenance to be done to keep the posts, handrail and hardware in good condition for several years. Here are some facts in this regard.
Quality of fittings
One of the great advantages with horizontal cable railing systems is the durability of the fittings and hardware. The marine grade 316 stainless steel turnbuckles, cable and other fittings will not rust and will stay intact for a lifetime. Most of the large hardware retailers do not necessarily offer high quality products. Galvanized steel or 304 stainless steel are not as effective against rusting and do not have a beautiful finish. These materials should be avoided if you want to minimize the maintenance of your cable railing system.
Our customers occasionally ask us if it is necessary to retighten or re-tension the cables after a while. Usually, you will never have to do it, unless your structure is not properly stabilized on the ground. If you use quality turnbuckles and fittings, the tension will remain the same for many years. If you ever need to adjust the tension, it can be done simply if you use top quality turnbuckles. You simply have to rotate clockwise the turnbuckle to add more tension in your cable runs.
Do extreme temperatures impact hardware or cable tension? Extreme temperatures must be taken into consideration in industrial projects such as cable-stayed bridges that use huge steel cables to support the slabs. However, for deck railings or balustrades, the impact is negligible. Both in summer and in winter, if you install quality turnbuckles and cable, no maintenance will be required.
If you live in a dusty place, you may need to clean your stainless steel fittings and cable once a year. If this is the case, all you have to do is to use soapy water to clean the hardware and the cable. You can also use stainless steel cleaners. Avoid using powdered or abrasive cleansers.