What Are the Differences Between Wood and Cable Railings?

Railings are a staple in most homes, both for decor and safety purposes. And seeing as how the second leading cause of accidental injury is staircase accidents, railings are more important than ever. However, when it comes to choosing a railing, homeowners may have a difficult time deciding between all of the available options. So to help make this process easier, we’re going to look at some key differences between two common types of railings: cable and wood.


Wood Railing


Wood is a traditional material for railings. This is especially true when it’s used on staircases or decks that are also made of wood — this aesthetic is a reason many people choose wood railing materials. Additionally, wood has a low cost and can be fairly easy to assemble. However, wood materials are more prone to rot and pest infestation, so they require extra care. Outdoor wood railing materials will have to be sanded and stained regularly. So for homeowners who are looking for a railing that requires minimal care, wood may not be the way to go. And while wood railings are aesthetically pleasing, they may obstruct the view from an outdoor deck or porch because of the thick posts.


Cable Railing


Cable railing supplies are becoming more and more popular for both indoor and outdoor use. This type of railing offers many benefits, like minimal maintenance — stainless steel cables are durable and can withstand corrosion and wear and tear, even in outdoor environments. Also, cable railings offer aesthetic benefits. Because of the slim cables, they can easily be seen through. This makes this type of railing great for decks or porches where homeowners have a view they want to enjoy. And on stairs or landings, it can allow homeowners to see who is on the stairs or below the landing with ease. And with the ability to adjust the stiffness of cables and cable rail fittings, homeowners can ensure they’re tight enough to prevent anyone or anything from falling through, increasing the safety aspect.


As you can see, there are some major differences between wood and cable railings. Choosing a cable railing can offer increased aesthetics and safety while decreasing maintenance. So if you’re interested in a cable railing for your home, call American Cable and Rigging Supply today for more information.

types of lifting slings

Common Types of Lifting Slings

Falls are the number-one cause of death in the construction industry.

To help combat this, it’s imperative that you use the correct types of lifting slings and equipment for moving suspended materials.

When choosing lifting slings or cable and rigging supplies for your construction project, the following are some different types of lifting slings to consider.

Nylon Lifting Slings

Also referred to as a nylon web sling or nylon rigging sling (because of its dense, strong, web-like configuration), nylon slings are pliable, to conform to the shape of the item being lifted.

The flexibility of nylon lifting slings makes them an excellent choice for maneuvering heavy objects that are also sensitive to damage, such as finishing materials.

Nylon lifting slings will stretch as much as 8% of its length. This is important to take into consideration, as it may render them unfit for certain construction situations. Because nylon slings absorb liquid, they can be weakened if they come into contact with any kind of acid.

Polyester Round Slings

As with nylon slings, polyester round slings are sometimes called web slings or rigging slings, because they are also made of a strong, web-like fabric.

The primary difference between these two types of lifting slings is that while nylon slings stretch easily, polyester round slings have very little stretch to them (only 3% of its length). This makes them ideal for conditions in which strength is needed, but stretching could pose a liability.

Also unlike nylon, polyester slings are safe to use even when acids are present.

Chain Slings

Chain lifting slings are ideal for very rugged conditions. Naturally, they are incredibly strong and resistant to abrasion or cutting, with a lifting capacity that doesn’t change in extreme temperatures.

Chain slings are usually made with Grade 80 steel, which is the industry standard, although Grade 100 steel is also available.

Because chain can be linked together in practically unlimited ways, a custom sling assembly can be constructed using chain slings, to perfectly suit any task.

Wire Rope Slings

Like chain slings, wire rope slings provide incredible durability and high tensile strength, but they are lighter and less costly than chains.

Different categories of wire rope are defined based on the number of wires in a single strand, and how many strands are wrapped around the core. The category defines a wire rope’s flexibility and resistance to abrasion. While fewer wires give the rope higher abrasion resistance, more wires increases the rope’s lifting flexibility and resistance to kinking.


These are some of the most common types of lifting slings available to construction workers. Hopefully, this brief guide has given you an idea of what to use for your specific project.

choosing lifting slings

Common Lifting Slings and How to Choose the Right One

In 1971, fall protection measures were published by OSHA for general industry regulations. In spite of this, falls remain the most frequent cause of death on construction sites.

One way to safeguard yourself and your team from falls is by using the correct lifting slings for your work.

Lifting and moving heavy objects is dangerous and can contribute to falls and other injuries. Choosing lifting slings based on the work you have to do can help diminish the risk involved.

The following are some different types of lifting slings you should know about when you’re choosing lifting slings for your project.

Nylon Lifting Sling

Nylon slings are popular because they work well for multiple purposes and their structure isn’t affected by petroleum products, such as grease and oil.

Nylon slings are also unaffected by specific chemicals, including ethers, alkalies, and aldehydes. However, its durability can be compromised when in contact with bleaching agents or acids. It also shouldn’t be used in environments where temperatures are over 194 degrees Fahrenheit (or 90 degrees Celsius).

Nylon slings are also highly stretchable—up to 10% of their length—which makes it useful for wrapping securely around objects, but it won’t be helpful when elongation isn’t wanted.

Polyester Round Lifting Sling

Unlike nylon slings, polyester round slings aren’t sensitive to bleaching agents or most asides. It also has very limited stretch—only 3% of its length.

However, like nylon slings, it also shouldn’t be used in temperatures exceeding 194 degrees. It should also be kept away from alkaline or sulfuric acids.

Chain Lifting Sling

Chain slings are perfect for very rugged environments and tough jobs. They’re resistant to abrasions and cuts, and they maintain their integrity in extreme temperatures (up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or 204 degrees Celsius).

While normally constructed using Grade 80 steel, chain slings are available in Grade 100 steel when increased strength is needed. Besides being stronger, Grade 100 chains actually weigh less than Grade 80 chains.

Additionally, because chains can be conveniently linked to one another in limitless configurations, you can assemble practically any kind of sling for any purpose.

The downside to selecting chain slings when you’re choosing lifting slings for your project is that a chain hoist can be very expensive. Besides this, prices can vary because of market fluctuations.

Wire Rope Lifting Sling

Like chain slings, wire rope slings are incredibly durable and strong. They are also resistant to extreme temperatures. Unlike chain slings, wire rope is much more cost-effective.

Flexibility and abrasion-resistance change based on a wire rope’s configuration, which is represented by two numbers separated with an “X.” The first number indicates how many strands are used in a rope, while the second number indicates how many wires are used in a single strand.

For example, a 6×19 rope is made up of six strands, with 19 wires per strand.

A wire rope sling is usually made from either a 6×19 or 6×37 class of rope. 6×19 is the most common because it offers a balance of flexibility and abrasion resistance that’s ideal for most conditions. On the other hand, 6×37 rope is more flexible, but it’s also more susceptible to abrasion.


Hopefully this short guide has been useful in helping you choose lifting slings for your project. Remember that your crew’s safety can depend on the fact that you chose the right sling—so it isn’t something that can be taken lightly.

3 Considerations to Make When Choosing Cable for a Railing

looking for cable and rigging suppliesHaving strong and sturdy railings is crucial. This is especially true seeing as how an American Journal of Emergency Medicine study shows that over one million Americans sustain injuries on stairs each year. Railings are important for not just stairs, but landings and decks as well. And because railings play such an important role, people often choose cable railings due to the many benefits they offer. So if you’re thinking about investing in cable railing supplies, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking at cable options.

Safety: When you’re looking for cable and rigging supplies for a railing, the first thing you should think about is safety. Since railings are designed to prevent people from falling, it’s important to choose a cable that can withstand a heavy load. There are different minimum breaking strengths of cables so make sure you choose the right one. Additionally, when your cable railing hardware is installed, ensure it’s up to code. There are regulations regarding how far apart cables can be and railing heights so double check on those.

Stretch: Cables come in a wide variety of elasticities because they have several applications. But for a railing, you want to choose a cable that doesn’t have very much stretch to it. This is because if someone or something falls or leans against the railing, you don’t want the cables to stretch. Instead, you want a cable that is more rigid. This will prevent objects from being able to go through the railing if the cables move. So when you’re looking for cable and rigging supplies, make sure you consider stretch.

Style: Of course, when you’re buying a railing, you want to keep aesthetics in mind. Cables can be coated and painted with different colors, so it’s important to explore your options. Additionally, you may want to ask about coatings that can be applied to the cables to prevent rust and reduce general wear and tear. Overall, cables generally look the same, besides varying colors, but you should still keep style in mind. You can also choose different materials for your posts, so make sure the cables and posts look nice together.

Choosing the cable for a railing is not a decision that should be made lightly. So keep these considerations in mind to ensure you choose the best cable for your needs.