5 Facts About Stainless Steel Cable Railing That Will Impress Your Friends

All stainless steel cable railings are not created equal. Here are 5 facts about stainless steel cable railing that you should be aware of when fabricating and installing a new railing system.

1. Stainless Steel Is Rust Resistant, NOT Rust Proof

In architectural applications, the most common stainless alloys are Type 304 or Type 316. Type 316 has a higher resistance to corrosion but all stainless steel alloys are subject to rusting if not properly maintained or if used in environments conducive to corrosion. Follow these steps when cleaning stainless steel.

  1. Don’t use chlorine bleach or any product containing chloride
  2. Don’t use steel wool, steel brushes, steel files or any steel cutting tools – these can leave iron particles which will rust over time and breakdown the stainless steel’s passivation layer.
  3. Don’t use abrasive cleaners
  4. Don’t use gritty, dirty or excessively hard water as it can leave spots or brownish stains.
1 x19 stainless steel cable railing
1 X 19 Cable Strand

2. Not All Stainless Steel Cable Railing Is Created Equal

For cable railings, you want to use a cable that is as rigid as possible and does not stretch. For most applications, we recommend 1 x 19 construction, type 316 stainless steel strand (cable). Other constructions can be used, such as 7 x 7 or 7 x 19, but they are rarely recommended because they are less rigid than 1 x 19, and have elevated levels of stretch. The breaking strengths for 1 x 19 construction are also higher than 7 x 7 and 7 x 19.

3. Stainless Steel Cable Railing is Green

Stainless steel has always been green.  Stainless steel is recyclable. Not only is it recyclable but it is 100% recyclable into the same product without a reduction in quality.

The source for stainless steel is recycled scrap metal — over 90% of all new stainless steel is produced from scrap and 92% of stainless steel used in architectural applications is recaptured and recycled.  As such, its use will earn you Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points.

4. Cable Spacing is Important

When a drop of 30″ is present, the model codes require a guard be in place. As part of the requirements, no opening in the guard can be large enough that a 4″ sphere can pass. However, do not place your cable on 4″ centers.Even when properly tensioned and installed, some flexibility remains in the cable.

Even when properly installed and tensioned, some flexibility remains in the cable. The cable spacing will vary based on cable size, post spacing, and tension but you should expect to place your cable at around 3″ on center.

Review your needs with Wagner.

cable-railing-view5. Great Sightlines

The popularity of stainless steel cable railing is in large part due to its great sightlines. Second only to glass as a means of maximizing the view, cable railing provides minimal obstruction making it an excellent choice when the view is too good to cover up.

Cable rail fittings have been redesigned over the years to make them sleeker. The cable clamps and turnbuckles that were generally used in the marine industry have been redesigned to make them sleeker and less obtrusive. You can view these components and kits on our e-commerce site.


1 comment

  • Stainless steel being 100% recyclable is a great benefit. I have been building a new home and I have been wondering what I want to do for the railing on my balcony. I would love to try stainless steel balustrade with cabling to see how that can help the visibility and look.

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