Frequently Asked Questions Feeney Cable Rail

CableRail Kit FAQs

(Please also take a look at our comprehensive cable railing kit guide for selecting the right parts for your project)

  1. Are there any specific requirements to consider when designing my railing frame for use with Feeney CableRail infill?

    Properly installed cables typically have a tension load of 200-300 lbs per cable, so it's important that your frame is designed and built strong enough to support these loads. Frames can also be designed to use cables more efficiently, thereby reducing the total quantity of cables needed and the overall cost. In most cases, just adding some simple reinforcing features and design changes will do the trick. For basic guidelines to help you prepare your railing frame, see the Feeney CableRail Installation Instructions as well as Frame Requirements for Wood or Frame Requirements for Metal or give us a call if you need assistance.

  2. Why would I consider using intermediate pickets on my railing frame?

    Intermediate pickets (also referred to as vertical spacers) are used as a frame design option to replace some of the larger, bulkier intermediate posts in order to achieve a more open railing design. They are non-structural members and are only intended to maintain cable spacing and minimize possible cable deflection. Intermediate pickets are typically made from 1"x 2" or 2"x 2" wood strips, 1" copper water tubing, or 1/4" thick metal flat bar, but other slender materials may be used as well. You may also use our pre-drilled, powder-coated Aluminum Intermediate Pickets (accessory items #7648 & #7649).

  3. How far apart can I space the cables?

    The International Building Code states that a 4" sphere cannot pass through any opening in your railing, and since cable is non-rigid, the flex of the cable must be taken into account. Therefore, we recommend spacing the cables no more than 3 inches apart in order allow for possible cable deflection and meet the intent of the code. Before starting a CableRail project, the installer should always check with their local building department to see if there are any special local requirements for using and installing cable railings.

  4. How far apart can I space my posts?

    We recommend having a post or vertical member (intermediate picket) at least every 3 feet. With the posts/verticals spaced 3 feet apart and the cables spaced 3 inches apart, you should be able to tension the cables so that they won't open past the 4-inch sphere code requirement when a reasonable force is applied.

  5. What’s the longest cable run I can have?

    When using our standard CableRail Kits, we recommend that straight runs of cable (no corners or bends) should not exceed 70 feet. Runs with corner bends (using double corner posts) should not exceed 40 feet and should not have more than two corners per run. Maximum run lengths may be less if using CableRail Conceal Kits or other Quick-Connect® or swage-type fittings, so give us a call to confirm the maximum run lengths for your specific project.

  6. What tools are needed to install Feeney CableRail?

    The beauty of the standard CableRail Kits is that you don't need any special crimping tools. The basic tool list would include safety glasses, work gloves, tape measure, pencil, electric drill & bits, hammer, 7/16" wrench, locking pliers, hacksaw, cable lacing needle, cable cutters or electric grinder with cut-off disk. We also recommend using our Cable Tension Gauge (#6004-PKG) to measure final cable tension, and if you have a lot of cables to install, our Cable Tensioning Tool (#6005-PKG) can save even more time.

  7. What happens if I need to remove the Quick-Connect® Inset fitting from the cable?

    Should this occur, use our Quick-Connect® Release Tool (sold separately, #3128-PKG) to unlock the jaws on the Quick-Connect® Inset fitting.

  8. Why would I need to use a Cable Lacing Needle?

    The CableRail cable is made up of 19 individual wires that are twisted together. Sometimes, these individual wires can splay open and snag when lacing the cable ends through the post holes. The reusable Cable Lacing Needle slides onto the end of the cable and keeps all of the wires contained within the needle allowing you to quickly guide the cable through the holes without snagging.
  9. Can you pass the Cable Lacing Needle through the Quick-Connect® Inset fitting?
    No! The diameter of the Cable Lacing Needle is too large and will become wedged in the Quick-Connect® Inset fitting, rendering the fitting useless. Be sure to remove the Cable Lacing Needle and cleanly trim the end of the cable before inserting the bare cable into any Quick-Connect® style fitting.

  10. What is Feeney CableRail made of?

    All CableRail cables and fittings are made from high quality 316-grade stainless steel (also referred to as “marine grade”). This high quality stainless steel offers beauty, superior weather durability, high strength, and low maintenance characteristics that far exceed other traditional railing infill materials.

  11. What will I need to maintain Feeney CableRail cables?

    CableRail cables and fittings are made from high quality 316-grade stainless steel for weather-tough durability and very low maintenance. However, while rare, corrosion or staining may sometimes occur on stainless steel due to airborne contaminants, humidity, and other factors, especially in coastal environments, so periodic maintenance is recommended. Wipe the cables with soap and warm water and use either a rag or non-abrasive synthetic pad to keep them clean and free of salt or other contaminates. We also recommend our Stainless Steel Cleaner & Protectant Kit (#5064-PKG) with Feeney SteelProtect™ and SteelRenwal™. The SteelProtect™ product provides a protective layer that can help maintain the performance and luster of the cables and fittings. And if any staining does occur, biodegradable SteelRenewal™ cleaning gel effectively removes staining and other contaminants without scrubbing. Simply apply, allow it to sit, and then rinse it off. Be sure to also check the cables periodically for proper tension and re-tension as necessary.

  12. Is there any additional maintenance required for harsh environments?

    For CableRail installations with harsher conditions, such as coastal environments, we recommend cleaning your cables and applying our Feeney SteelProtect™ protectant product regularly. Please see the information above to learn more about cable maintenance, including re-tensioning the cables and recommended use of our SteelProtect™ and SteelRenewal™ cleaner and protectant products.

  13. Do the cables need to be attached with fittings at every post?

    No. The cables are laced freely through holes in the intermediate posts and are then tensioned with end fittings that attach to only the end or corner termination posts.

  14. If there is no access to drill through an end post, can the fittings be attached to the face of the post or wall?

    Not with the standard CableRail Kits. The cable fittings used with the standard Kits are attached by drilling holes all the way through the end posts, and the fittings then bear up against the outside faces of the posts. If your railing frame runs into the face of a post/wall, you have two options: 1 ) install an end post three to four inches away from the wall face to allow access for attaching the standard Kit cable end fittings or 2) select fittings and cable from our build-your-own or custom hardware options on our website to create assemblies that are specifically designed for wall or post face mounting. For recommendations and assistance, please give us a call, 1-800-888-2418.
  • Can I run the cables continuously around a single corner post or do I have to terminate?

    In most cases, you will need to terminate the cables at a single corner post. In order to run the cables continuously around a corner, you would need to have double posts at the corner. For basic guidelines to help prepare your railing frame, please see our Feeney CableRail Installation Instructions.

  • How accurate do I need to be when measuring for my cable run lengths? 

    While it is always best to measure as accurately as possible, CableRail Kit allow for quite a bit of flexibility because they are sold in pre-fabricated, pre-cut lengths that are designed to be trimmed to exact length in the field. We recommend that you measure from outside-face to outside-face of the end posts (the posts you will attach the fittings to), and then add one foot to that length. You can then select a CableRail Kit that is at least as long as the augmented dimension. If you’re not sure, just give us a call.

  • Do I need protector sleeves at every hole?

    No. Protector sleeves protect the wood from cable abrasion, and they are only needed at those hole locations where the cable enters the post at an angle and would have a tendency to cut into the wood. Typical locations are at the transition posts on stairs or ramps or the outside faces of double corner posts.

  • Where would I need to use beveled washers?

    When using CableRail Kits on stair railings, you will often need to attach the cable end fittings through an angled hole in the stair end posts. This will cause the fittings to protrude from the post at an angle. The beveled washers are then used to compensate for that angle and provide a flat bearing surface for the end fittings.

  • Can I cut the cables with a pair of wire cutters?

    No. Wire cutters will crush the cable and cause you significant frustration during installation. You should use cable cutters that are designed to cleanly shear the cable (see our Cable Cutters #2972-PKG). Another option that works very well for trimming both the cable and the excess threads on the Threaded Terminal fittings is an electric grinder with a cut-off disk.

  • Can I buy one long cable and lace it back and forth like a shoelace?

    No. As soon as you bend the cable more than 45 degrees, it will kink and you will not be able to achieve the require tension. Each horizontal cable needs to be a separate assembly.

  • What is the cost per linear foot for horizontal CableRail?

    The cost per linear foot varies depending on the length and quantity of CableRail Kits need for your project. The main expense is in the end fittings, so the longer the cable can run, the less fittings you’ll need, and thus the cost per linear foot will be less. Another factor is the height of your railing frame. The taller the railing frame, the more cables and fittings you’ll need, and this will result in a higher cost per linear foot. An authorized Feeney CableRail dealer can help determine what you’ll need and provide pricing options; see our Dealer Locator to find a dealer near you.

  • Do you do installations?

    While we do not do installations, the CableRail system is design to be easy to install. Anyone who is comfortable using tools should have no trouble installing CableRail Kits. If you would like someone to perform the installation, we suggest consulting your local authorized Feeney CableRail dealer for contractor recommendations. We are available for technical assistance at 888-260-7444 and can assist with any questions you or your installer may have regarding the installation.

  • Can fittings and cable be purchased separately for fabricating assemblies in the field?

    Yes. We offer a wide selection of cables and fittings, many of which include our Quick-Connect® automatic locking-jaw technology, all engineered for easy installation in the field. See our Build Your Own CableRail page for more information.

DesignRail® FAQs

  1. Can I install DesignRail® myself?

    We engineer the DesignRail® aluminum railing system to be user-friendly. Basic carpentry skills and tools will accomplish most tasks. A good quality chop saw with a high quality metal cutting blade is needed for cutting and mitering the aluminum extrusions. And be sure to check out our DesignRail® Railing Kits; they can make installations even easier.

  2. How durable is the powder coated finish?

    Our finishes are applied in a new state-of-the-art powder coating facility that achieves 2604 AAMA specs. In common terms this is a "marine grade" finish that performs well in even some of the harshest conditions. Plus, DesignRail® horizontal cable infill posts are drilled before they are powder coated, ensuring the powder coating is applied to the edge of the drill hole, another Feeney quality benefit!

  3. Do the posts come pre-drilled for the cables when using horizontal cable infill?

    Yes, we do offer pre-drilled posts for both level and stair conditions.

  4. Do I need a bottom rail with a 42" tall horizontal cable system?

    While not required, we highly recommend using a bottom rail with a 42" horizontal cable system. We have found that a bottom rail design not only strengthens the framework but also reduces the number of cables needed which reduces the amount of compression on your end posts.

  5. Can I have single corner posts with the horizontal cable system?

    Yes, we do offer a specially designed, pre-drilled corner post that allows the cables to be laced continuously through a single post. Pre-drilled single corner posts are available for both 90° and 45° corners. With this type of corner post condition, we recommend that cable runs do not exceed 30 feet and that no more than 2 corner posts are used per cable run. This will ensure that the cables can be properly tensioned.

  6. Why do I have to have a vertical picket between my main posts in a horizontal cable system?

    The picket is not a structural component. It is simply a railing element that helps minimize cable deflection, making it easier to meet the 4" code requirement.

  7. Why do I have to keep the cables at 3" on center?

    We recommend the cables be spaced 3" on center to allow for up to an inch of deflection between any two adjacent cables and still meet the 4" building code. See the CableRail FAQs (above) for specifics on horizontal CableRail Infill solutions.

  8. Can I get the posts in stainless steel?

    No, currently we only provide powder coated aluminum.

  9. Can I get round posts?

    Not at this time. We only provide square posts.

  10. What kind of mounting methods do you provide?

    Fascia mount, fascia bracket mount, surface (base) mount, and stanchion mount.