How I install cable rail on composite decks

Honestly, cable rail looks the best on a composite or Trex deck but it does cost a bit more.

Why do cable rails cost more than standard handrails or guard rails on decks?

1. Stainless steel cable and hardware

2. Composite posts cost more than twice as much as standard 4X4’s

However, installation costs are nearly the same with the exception of stairs.


Below are some photos of cable rail on a deck in Fairbanks, Alaska. Here the posts were custom-made by the owner and we installed them.

cable rail Fairbanks Alaska

They are made of 1/4″ black steel and standard 1/4″ cable.  Using standard cable saves more than 50% from stainless steel cables and turnbuckles.  Turnbuckles also come in a variety of metals. Stainless is the most pricey on down to galvanized. Use galvanized, it saves money and still looks cool.



IMG_0922   IMG_0925

Tips on how to install cable rail and posts.

1. Make a jig that spaces your cables at 3 7/8″ so you meet code when it’s assembled.

2. Pre-drill your posts using the jig and a drill press. This is a must for keeping the holes straight for the cable and consistent in spacing.

3. Pre-drill holes for the lag or through bolts that will secure your posts in place.

4. Layout the post positions evenly (check local codes)

5. Secure posts to deck face making sure they are plumb.

6. Use eyes on the starting post and start threading the cable through the proper hole in the series

7. Run to the turnbuckle at the terminus

8. Have ALL of your turnbuckles loosened nearly all the way but also MAKE SURE they are loosened about the same amount.  This will help the initial finish product look even and organized.

9. Once you have looped the cable back through the turnbuckle and tightened the U-bolts, cut the cable with a sharp cable cutter the TAPE IT using electrical tape.  Do a neat job with the tape, please.

That’s all I got.  Any questions? Ask here or at Straight Ahead Construction if you don’t have a wordpress account.

Fairbanks Alaska best contractor


About Mike Knoche

Straight Ahead Construction is a licensed, bonded, and insured general contractor, construction company based in Fairbanks, Alaska. View all posts by Mike Knoche

2 responses to “How I install cable rail on composite decks

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