Tips for Properly Tensioning Your Cable Railing

Last Updated on June 16, 2023 by Steffi Nell

A new cable railing can greatly add value to your home and enhance its appearance. If you DIY it, you must make sure to tension it appropriately. If you don’t, you risk damaging your home and creating a safety hazard. Learn how to do it right with these tips for properly tensioning your cable railing.

Don’t Make It Too Tight

Don’t feel embarrassed if you find tensioning your railing to be difficult. Tensioning is a common challenge for people with wire cable railings in their homes.

Although you may consider making your cable railing extra tight, you should avoid doing so since it can hurt your railing system. Such an approach can cause your posts or rails to bend, which won’t make them look good and result in you having to spend money replacing them.

Don’t Make It Too Loose

Another tip for properly tensioning your cable railing is not to make it too loose. Although you may feel like easing up on the tension after the previous tip, it’s possible to make the cable so loose that it ends up hanging down and looking poor.

Having the cable too loose can also be a safety hazard. If your child can climb through it or stick their head between two cables, it can be a danger to their well-being.

Make It Safe by Following the Standard

Thankfully, there’s a middle ground between making your cable railing too loose and too tight. Inspectors usually demand that you tension the wire at 200 pounds of pressure and make it tight enough so that you can’t easily squeeze a four-inch sphere between them.

This tension should be enough to stop a child from pushing their head and shoulders through and make your home safer. It should also improve the appearance of your cables since they won’t be so loose that they hang down. Tensioning your wire cable railing correctly gives you the best of both worlds. Not only can you be proud of a new feature in your home that’ll make your neighbors envious, but you can rest easy knowing that your railing isn’t a safety risk.     

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