Any time you are running cable railing around a corner sharper than 45 degrees, you should terminate the first cable run at the corner. Then, start a new cable run in the direction of the corner’s “turn.” This allows you to properly tension your cable without damaging your deck, staircase, or balcony railing.
Can Cable Railing Go Around Corners?
You cannot run a single piece of cable around a corner with an angle sharper than 45 degrees. A cable that is forced to make a 90-degree turn will be loose and have a poor appearance. Attempting to tighten the cable will put a large amount of stress on the corner post and may break it.
- Cable railing cannot bend around corners sharper than 45 degrees.
- When you reach a sharp corner, end your first cable run there.
- Start a new cable run leading from the corner.
In order to create taut, durable cable railing around corners, you have to run two lengths of cable. Run the first length of cable from the start to the corner. Then, run a new length of cable from the corner to the next post. This keeps your cable runs straight, which allows you to tighten the cables properly.
7 Steps for Installing Cable Railing Around Corners
For this tutorial, we will be providing instructions based on this cable hardware kit. It’s one of the easiest to work with and allows your cables to be at the same height all the way around your deck. However, these same steps can also be used if you are using lag receivers in a wooden post. If you are using through-post cable receivers, your steps will be slightly different. This video covers the process for through-post installations.
Mark Cable Receiver Height on Front of Post
Using a pencil, mark the height where the cable will run directly through the intermediate posts to the corner post. Mark the corner post at the appropriate height so the cable will run in a straight line through the intermediate posts to the corner post.
- Mark the place where the cable should run to the corner from the intermediate posts.
- Make sure the corner post markings are level with the cable height as it travels through intermediate posts.
- Hold the cable receiver hardware up to the post.
- Line up the cable receiver with the cable height markings you made.
- Use a pencil to mark the screw holes in the cable receiver hardware
After marking the desired cable height, hold the cable receiver up to the post in the desired location. Use your pencil to mark both screw holes. This way, when the receiver is screwed to the post, the cable will run to it at precisely the right height.
Drill Pilot Holes for Cable Receivers
Equip your electric drill with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw size you are using. This guide will tell you exactly what drill bit to use for your pilot holes in wood. For instance, if you are using #9 deck screws to secure the receiver to the corner post, use a 9/64 drill bit to drill your pilot holes. For pilot holes in metal posts, reference this guide.
- Drill a pilot hole in each place where you marked a screw hole for the receiver hardware.
- Size your pilot hole based on your screw size.
- Pilot holes prevent your corner post from cracking and splitting when you drive screws into it.
Drill a pilot hole in each location where a screw will be driven into the post. Pilot holes are essential. They will prevent the wood from splitting and cracking if you have wooden posts. If your deck posts are metal, pilot holes allow you to drive your screws in easily and precisely.
Attach Cable Receivers to Post
Use screws to attach the cable receiver hardware to the post. If your deck has wooden posts, use a deck screw rated for wood. A length of 1.2–1.5 inches is sufficient. If your deck has metal posts, size the screws so that they do not go all the way through the post. You can use shorter screws on metal than on wood.
- Secure the cable receiver hardware to the face of the post with screws driven into the drilled pilot holes.
- Use wood or deck screws for wooden posts.
- Use screws designed for metal surfaces if your posts are metal.
Once all your cable end fittings are screwed to the post, you can move on with cable railing installation. The following steps allow you to make the corner turn by adding a new cable run.
Mark Cable Receiver Height on Side of Post
Mark the desired height of the cable run on the side of the post where the new cable run will begin. So, if you’re making a 90-degree right turn, you will mark the right-facing side of the post. Use the same steps from before to mark desired cable height, followed by marking the position of the screw holes by using the cable receiver hardware.
- Mark the desired height of the new cable run on the face of the post where the run will begin.
- Mark the height of all desired cables.
- Hold the cable receiver hardware to the post and mark the screw holes on the post.
- You can make your new cable run at the same height as the previous one.
Because the hardware system we’re using does not go all the way through the post, you can position your new cable run at the same height as the one you terminated in Steps 1–3. This allows you to have a seamless, symmetrical cable railing all the way around your deck or balcony.
Drill Pilot Holes in Side of Post
Use the same drill bit from Step 2 to drill pilot holes at each marked screw hole. Make sure the pilot holes are at precisely the right height to provide a level cable run leading from the corner post. Also, make sure the pilot holes are centered left-to-right on the post for the most professional finished product.
Attach Cable Receivers to Side of Post
Repeat the method in Step 3 to attach the cable receiver hardware to the side of the post. It’s best to use an electric drill to drive in the screws. This will save time and ensure the screws are snug. Do not overtighten or strip the screws. However, the hardware should be securely fastened to the post.
Tighten Cables to Receivers
Now that you have installed the hardware, you can do two things. First, you can terminate the first cable run at the front of the corner. Second, you can start a new cable run leading away from the corner post. To do this, stainless steel cable must be cut and crimped with the appropriate tools.
- Use this tool set to cut cables to length and secure cables to the cable fittings.
- After securing the cable to the cable railing hardware, tighten it until it is taut.
- Do not overtighten the cable.
Once you’ve completed cable cutting and crimping, you can tighten your cable. The cable system we used includes a turnbuckle on each receiver for tightening. Tighten slowly until the cable is taut. Overtightened cables can damage your deck, so tighten the cable until it runs straight but can still flex up or down with pressure from your hand.
How Do You Install Cable Railings on a Single Corner Post?
To allow your cable railing to make a turn when you have a corner with a single post, you must end the first cable run at the front of the post. Then, make a new cable run beginning from the side of the post, to do this:
- Mark the height where the cable receiver hardware should be attached to the front of the post.
- Drill pilot holes to allow you to attach the hardware to the front of the post.
- Drive a screw into each drill hole to attach the hardware to the wooden or metal post.
- Mark the height of the cable run on the side of the corner post, leading away from the corner.
- Drill pilot holes in the side of the corner post so you can attach the cable receiver hardware.
- Secure the cable hardware to the side of the post.
- Run cable from corner to corner and tighten.
These steps apply to most cable deck railing systems. Whether you are using wood or metal posts, this will get the job done and result in a beautiful cable railing.