How to Install Cable Rail on Stairs
Laying out, installing, and tensioning cable for a deck staircase railing takes a little more planning than a horizontal railing, but the process is basically the same.
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Installing cable rail on stairs is an easy-to-accomplish task. Here’s an overview:
For layout, the bottom cable, or bottom rail, of the guard assembly, should be installed low enough that a 6-in. sphere can’t pass through the triangle created at the riser. The spacing between cable rails should not exceed 3 in. Here, we’re using a 3-in.-wide board to illustrate the angle of the run. Depending on the manufacturer, you may need to install the upper hardware below the center of the run and the lower hardware above the center of the run to maintain the correct cable spacing.
To install the hardware, predrill holes before driving hanger bolts into position, and use thread compound to secure the fittings to the bolts. At the upper post, we’ve installed the adjustable tensioning hardware, and we’ve installed the nonadjustable hardware at the lower post. Always install cable at the nonadjustable end first, then mark and cut to length with high-quality wire cutters.
Once the cable is installed, hand-tighten the adjustable fitting to take up the slack, and give the cable a firm tap to ensure it’s seated securely.
Finally, with all the cables installed, tension them, working from the center cable out, using a wrench or a manufacturer’s tensioning tool.
More about cable railing and staircases:
Installing a Cable-Rail System – Cables and intermediate aluminum pickets create a taut, clean-looking railing.
Building Strong Deck Stairs – Learn several methods for supporting and connecting stringers and guardrails.
Handrail Required? Count the number of risers, and check the nearby topography.