Cable railing provides a beautiful and elegant way to support the railings on your stairs, deck, or porch. Over time, however, this material can lose its tension. Keep reading to learn how you can fix your cable rail when it comes loose to ensure your structure remains safe.
Reasons Your Cable Rail Is Loose
There may be a time you need to re-tension your cables because the structure has settled or temperature changes have induced expansion and contraction of the railing. To ensure the cable holds the correct tension, you should inspect the railing once every year to guarantee nothing is loose. If the cables are loose, the solution for tightening them is simple and quick to fix.
How Tight Should the Cable Rail Be?
When tightening a loose cable rail or installing a new one, you must find a happy medium for the tension. If it’s too tight, it could cause the posts and railing to bend inward, while a loose tension will leave the railing wobbly, allowing objects to pass through the cables. Find the sweet spot between these two options so that the railing is tight enough to secure the posts but loose enough not to damage the material.
How To Tighten Cable Rails
How you fix the cable rail when it comes loose will depend on the type of system you’re using. Each manufacturer uses a slightly different fitting to hold the cable to a post. Each fitting may require a different technique to tighten the rail.
Gather your cable rail tools in one location to make the process move along faster. When beginning this process, start with the middle cable and alternate the above and below cables to provide an even amount of tension to this space.
Clamp down on the rail with a vice grip to hold it in place. Use a socket fit with a hex bit to slowly turn the screw and fittings in the post, tightening the cable. Do this on each wire, and check the tension by pinching two together—if they can still touch, you need to add more tension.
If you are unsure of the type of fittings used in your railing system, contact the company you bought the material from. It is always best to tighten and add tension to the rails as the manufacturer intended. Remember to check this cable rail once a year to ensure it has maintained the correct amount of tension between cables.