Cable railings, also known as wire rope railings, are simply a type of constructed railings. Composed of a series of vertical or horizontal cables, they act as an alternative to traditional railings made of mesh, metal, grates, panels, wood or glass spindles. They define spatial boundaries, provide an open floor plan and increase organization, traffic flow and visibility for applications in a number of residential, commercial and industrial industries. Some of the settings in which they are used include balconies, public walkways, parking garages, bank teller lines, venue queues, marine decks and more.
Cable railings consist of a few basic components, including the components of the cable itself: filaments, strands and cores; and parts that make up the railing’s framework and support system. Filaments are simply cold-drawn metal rods or wires of varying diameters. When they are braided or twisted together, these filaments form strands. The number of filaments that make up a strand directly impact its performance as a cable. Either way, to complete the cable, strands are wrapped around a core. This core may consist of synthetic fiber, organic fiber, wire or wire rope. Next, the cable is supported by posts. Typically made of wood, steel, stainless steel or extruded aluminum, and square, round or irregular in shape, they are predrilled with vertically aligned holes through which the cable can be fed. Finally, cable end fittings are added tie it all together. To work, the cable attaches into one end of the fitting, while the other end of the fitting attaches to the frame structure, or posts. It is essential that cable is properly tensioned. Cable end fittings may provide some of this tension, or they may made simply to attach. The decision of whether to select tensioning or non-tensioning cable end fittings is dependent upon application requirements, building code requirements and International Building Code (ICC) requirements. To provide further support, manufacturers place braces and mounting plates on the end posts. To increase the rigidity of the framework of stranded wire cable railings, and to relieve some of the stress put on their end posts by high cable tensioning, manufacturers routinely place intermediate posts at varying distances throughout the system. Another way manufacturers increase rigidity is by using a thicker cable. However, it should be noted that, the larger the cable diameter, the more expensive the railing system will be.
To accommodate the fact that they are used both inside and outside, most often, manufacturers make cable railings from materials like stainless steel, which is weather resistant, durable, low maintenance and sleek. Those seeking cable railings will find that they are offered a lot of options in terms of dimensions, sizes and finishes. This is especially true of personal use and decorative cable railings. Typically, though, most manufacturers recommend that users install vertical openings between cables of three inches maximum. The choices available for workplace cable railings, however, are much more limited, due to the necessity that they comply with regulations put forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA regulations state that workplace cable railings must stand between 30 and 37 inches from the ground with a mid-rail, must be set three inches away from the way and must be able to support at least 200 pounds. Though they do not necessarily have to, many residential railing installers take it upon themselves to meet these requirements as well.
To make sure their cable railing lasts and that it continues to be safe, customers must make sure. First, they must keep an eye out for signs of and contributors to deterioration, including kinks, corrosion, wear, fatigue and breakage, overloading, dangling wires, and mechanical abuse. In addition, ideally, the cable railing should ideally be free from exposure to corrosive agents and/or chemicals, as they can easily cause damage the cable railing. If the cable railing receives lubrication applications to avoid corrosion, operators must also check and reapply this lubrication regularly. Nevertheless, cable railings are fairly low maintenance railing systems, and with just a little regular inspection, they provide safe and strong services. They are even good for the wildlife community, as birds can see the cables much better than, say, glass, and they are less likely to injure themselves running into the railing. Find out more by contacting one or more of the many excellent cable railing manufacturers listed on this page.
More Cable Railing
Wire Cable Railing – Lexco Cable Mfg.
Architectural Cable Railing Assembly – Lexco Cable Mfg.
Cable Railing Informational Video