How Does a Cable Tensioner Work in a Cable Railing System?

Cable Tensioner Work in a Cable Railing System

As with any railing system, cable railing is made up of many components that need to be correctly anchored and tensioned to meet safety standards. One of these important components is a cable tensioner, which allows you to quickly and easily create the right amount of tension on your cables. This is a necessary step in cable railing construction and one that should be completed by a trained professional to ensure your system meets building code.

A typical cable railing system will be composed of one or more “cable runs” which are broken up by factors like 90-degree corners, obstructions or runs that span over 75ft. Each run will be anchored at one end by an end stop and the other end will have either a post or a tensioner. The tensioner is used to create the proper level of tension in your cable railing and to ensure that all the necessary components are attached properly and that they’re at the correct height.

The majority of your cable railing system will be joined to the actual cable through a process called swaging. This is when the fitting or end cap is pressed down onto the end of the cable to create a strong connection between the two that can hold incredible amounts of force. Viewrail offers easy-to-use handheld swagers to make this process quick and painless.

How Does a Cable Tensioner Work in a Cable Railing System?

Some cable railing systems will also be constructed with swageless fittings that are not pressed down on the cable but rather locked in place with some type of locking mechanism to prevent the cables from being pulled out. These types of fittings are less common and are typically used on stair posts.

Once you’ve installed all of your cable terminals and other required hardware, it’s time to start stringing your cables. Start at the center cable run and work your way out to the ends in an alternating pattern, until you’ve stretched all of your cables to the appropriate length. Using a Feeney Cable Tension Gauge will help you ensure that your system is properly tightened and will not have any loose or damaged connections once it’s complete.

A well-designed cable railing system will minimize the deflection in the cable to the point where a 4″ sphere will not pass through it when it is properly tensioned. This is a requirement by most building codes and can be achieved in a number of ways depending on the overall design of the frame. These factors include the size of the cable, the diameter of the top rail, the intermediate posts (or cable spacers) spacing and cable to cable spacing. A skilled engineer will work with you to design a frame that will meet these requirements and provide a safe, structurally sound system that’s built to last.

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