Cable Tensioning, How much should I tighten my cables?

Posted By Devin Mergens on May 1, 2020


Hello! Thank you for your interest in cable tensioning for your cable railing system. This is all we do and we love to share our insight with our awesome customers.

On extremely common question is: How much should I tighten my cables?

The answer in short: Tight enough to pass code which in most areas is tight enough to ensure a 4-inch sphere does not push through the lines easily.

The Key to cable railing is cable spacing and the spacing between support posts.

If you space your posts 4 feet from each other and the cables 3 inches apart you will pass any code that we have ever heard of or have come in contact with. The further your support posts are from each other the easier it becomes for your cables to be separated. For the 4″ sphere rule your lines should only be able to move 1/2″ up or down.

But what if I do not want a bulky post every 4 feet? Devline Rail can send you a simple and sleek 1/4″ thick flat post as cable support and you are set! Space your structural posts every 8 feet and using flat intermediate posts in between your rail will be even more of a space opener and view shower! 🙂

Tightening or Tensioning Cable railing systems is like tuning a guitar at first in the sense that you will need to tune the lines once or perhaps two more times after the initial setup. The system under tension will settle over the first week or two and will need to be adjusted but should only be slight.

Be careful:

As you tighten each line you may discover that the previously tightened cables are now loose again. If you overtighten a line just back it off slightly as overtightening effectively loosens the other lines. These wires and tensioning devices are strong 🙂 Tighten by feel and try to tighten up to, not beyond the previous wire.

Cable Railing is a fun process and will last the test of time with minimal cleaning and maintenance. We hope this information on how to tighten cable railing has been helpful. Feel free to call and one of our pros will guide you along your way.

In gratitude, Devin

Cable Railing Specialist DEVLINE Rail
Cable Railing pro tips and insight in a single phone call
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