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Deck Cable Railing Design Ideas

July 08, 2024

If you want to decorate your deck in a sleek, modern way, cable deck railings may be the perfect choice for you. Cable railings have an industrial look that originally appeared in restaurants, stadiums, and other large venues around the city, and are now popular in homes as well.

So, what are the pros and cons of cable deck railing systems? Are they safe? What are some ideas for cable railings? What other railing systems are available besides cable railings?

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What Is a Cable Railing?

If you want to build a deck railing, you can use stainless steel cables instead of the more common railing or fence. In most cases, cables are stretched horizontally between posts, but they can also be stretched side by side. Since cables are installed in frames made of wood, aluminum, or composite materials, cable railings are a hybrid of different types of materials.

In most cases, long cables can pass right through the center post. There are not only horizontal cables, but also panel systems, which can be fixed to each post instead of going through them.

Instead of traditional wood, metal, or composite railings, you can use cable railing on your deck. It can be constructed with standard support posts made of different materials and cable railings can be attached to these support posts.

How to DIY Install Cable Deck Railing?

Cable railings are made in a variety of ways and products, ranging from complete protection systems to simple cable and screw fastener products. These manufactured products must be installed in place according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Following the installation steps will result in an installation that is as close to the test results as possible.

Guardrails at the edge of elevated decks play a large role in preventing people from leaning or falling onto the deck. In order to prove that their products can withstand the design loads of the building code, manufacturers must test or engineer them.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cable Deck Railing Systems?

Cable deck railing systems are great for homes in many ways. On the other hand, they also have some problems. Take a look at the pros and cons of cable railing systems.


Advantages of Cable Deck Railing

  • Low maintenance. Since they don’t rust, cable deck railings can last for years. They can be cleaned with just a damp cloth. You don’t have to paint or repair the railing, and wood posts don’t require much maintenance, which will save you money.
  • The view will not be obstructed. The cable profile of a deck cable railing system is thinner and blocks the view less than standard railings and other options.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. Cable railings look sleek and elegant. The simplicity of the design adds to the natural beauty of the deck.

Disadvantages of Cable Deck Railing

  • Cost. Cable deck railings can be more expensive than wood or composite railings because of the appropriate hardware.
  • Cable bending. Over time, cables tend to lose tension. Codes state that wires must “bend” as little as possible. When these wires lose tension, this requirement cannot be met.
  • Permits. Some towns do not allow cable railings.

Are Cable Deck Railings Safe?

Cable deck railings are safe if installed correctly. To ensure a safe installation, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the building codes in your area.

When installing cable railings, experts also recommend using stainless steel cables and hardware to ensure that the railings won’t rust and will stand up to the weather. When properly installed, a deck cable railing system will add safety and beauty to your home.

Stainless steel is commonly used for cable railings because it is a soft steel that stretches over time. You will need to tighten the turnbuckles from time to time as the cable stretches to its normal limit. During installation, be sure to leave the threads in place in case they are needed in the future.

Building codes state that the space between guards should not allow a 4-inch sphere to pass through. This means that cables should not be spaced more than 3.5 inches apart. This will provide you with extra security in case you don’t fix loose wires in time in the future.


Cable Deck Railing Ideas

When looking for deck railing, porch railing, or cable deck railing ideas, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to choose the right material. When it comes to cable railings, you can choose between aluminum and stainless steel. Also, consider the gauge of the cables. This will have an impact on the strength and cost of the railing.

Once you have chosen the right material for your railing cables, you can start planning the design. There are different types of cable deck railings available, such as horizontal or vertical cable railings.

Horizontal Cable Deck Railing

In many homes, horizontal cable deck railings are preferred. A great alternative to the standard wood or metal railing is the horizontal cable railing.

Horizontal cable railings have many advantages:

  • A clearer view. The slim cables don’t interfere with your view and you can barely even see the cables. This is great if you want to enjoy a beautiful view.
  • Sturdy and durable. Since the cable wire is made of stainless steel, it won’t rust or break easily.
  • Doesn’t require much maintenance. Cable railings are easy to clean and do not require sanding or painting. Wipe it down with a damp cloth and it will look brand new.

Vertical Cable Deck Railing

If you are looking for cable railing ideas, a vertical cable deck railing system is something you can consider. Adding vertical cable railings to your deck can give it a modern look.

Advantages of vertical cable railings:

  • Easy to maintain. They don’t require much or any maintenance. Simply wipe them down every so often to keep them looking new.
  • Long service life. Vertical cable railings are made using stainless steel and hence are very strong and can last for a long time.
  • They are safe. If you have small children or pets, these railings are a good choice because the vertical wires form a barrier that prevents people from falling.

Alternative Options for Cable Deck Railings

There are a few other options that can give your deck the same look as cables without any problems.

One such option is a pole railing. Pole railings are made of metal rods that are screwed to the deck railing. They can be made to fit your deck perfectly. Unlike most cable railings, pole railings do not lose tension over time. They also retain their shape and strength without needing to be re-tensioned or adjusted.

Another way to make your deck aesthetically pleasing is to use glass railings. Brackets attach the glass railing to the posts. They can be seen clearly from the deck and are simple to keep clean.

Mesh railings are another option for cable railings. Mesh railings are made of metal mesh and are attached to posts with brackets. In addition, they do not block the line of sight.


Knowing the pros and cons of cable railing systems for decks will allow you to choose the right type of railing for your home. If you choose a cable railing system, make sure that you use quality products and hire a reputable contractor.

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Galen Content Writer
Galen is a content creator and decorator with five years of experience designing home decor. In his daily life, Galen is constantly on the lookout for the latest, great examples of house design and further optimizes his solutions. Additionally, he writes articles related to outdoor design, interior design, and architectural decorating materials to help brands build more engaging relationships with their audiences.
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