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How Much Do Cable Deck And Stair Railings Cost?

Typical Range: $2,000 - $3,250

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Cable Railing Costs

The average price for materials and installation of a basic cable railing system is about $3,000. Most homeowners pay between $2,000 and $3,250 or more. This is based on 50 linear feet of railing for a 350 square foot deck.
The average price for a cable railing is $60 per linear foot. Installation runs about $25 per linear foot while materials make up most of the project cost at $35 per linear foot. A stainless-steel frame is around $110 per linear foot, while an aluminum frame is approximately $75 per linear foot.
Cable systems are popular because they are attractive, easy to maintain, effective and flexible in their application. Cable rails can appear on decks, interior and exterior stairways, balconies, porch steps and more. They are highly durable and subtle. Many consumers prefer these because they do not obstruct the view from a balcony or deck. They are frequently used in exterior settings where the focus is the surrounding landscape for a minimalist and contemporary style.
Steel cables deliver a modern aesthetic to decks and balconies and need re-tightening periodically. Using a certified contractor is critical to install it according to code and in a way that is safe.

Cable Railing System Costs Per Linear Foot

FactorPrice
Cable$0.50-$1.70 per linear foot
Post$10-$45 per item
Top Rail$10-$20 per foot
Labor$20-$25 per foot
Total$60+ per linear foot
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Railing Prices by Cable Type

TypePrice per Linear Foot
Galvanized Carbon Steel$0.35-$0.40
Stainless Steel Wire$0.50-$1.70

Galvanized Carbon Steel

The average price for galvanized carbon steel is $0.35-$0.40 per foot.
This steel cable coated in zinc is one of the more inexpensive options on the market, so it is a favorite of homeowners on a budget. Unfortunately, it will corrode over time. As the wire breaks down, it may also lose tension. Galvanized steel degrades faster than stainless steel and needs costly railing repairs more often. This makes the upfront savings less worthwhile.

Stainless Steel Wire

The average price for stainless steel wire is about $0.50-$0.75 per foot.
This is a popular choice because it is rust-resistant, durable and does not crack or fade. It is also very attractive and shiny, which gives the railing an ornamental quality.
This product comes in different types for various applications.
  • Type 304 - most common
  • Type 316 - marine grade wire. Can withstand salty sea air and exposure to the elements around oceans. Good for those in coastal areas.

Feeney Cable Rail Costs

The average price for Feeney Cable Rail is around $0.70-$1.70 per foot.
This popular brand of stainless steel cable makes their railing in 316 grade wire, so it is popular in coastal areas and in harsh climates. This company offers a 10-year limited warranty for its products bought through an authorized dealer. You must register products online with Feeney to qualify for the warranty.

Atlantis Rail System

The average cost for Atlantis Rail System cable is approximately $0.50-$0.75 per foot.
Atlantis Rail System offers affordable 316 grade stainless steel wire to consumers on a budget. This type of system is popular for those with the experience to DIY build railings because it comes in a kit with clear installation information.
They offer a warranty for products registered through their website. You must purchase the product from Atlantis Rail or an authorized retailer. The warranty comes with the product sale unless otherwise noted at the time of purchase, and its length may vary depending on the product.
Learn More About Rail System Installation Costs

Post and Handrail Cost Comparison

Posts and handrails make up the framework that hold the cables in place. The more of these pieces in a railing design, the more expensive the finished product will be.
Posts vary in price based on many of factors, including:
  • Height. Typical heights are 36 or 42 inches.
  • Position. Options include "terminal" (on an end) or an "intermediate" (found in the middle of the railing).
  • Holes for cable. Options include with holes and without.
Consumers who need to save money on their railing project may do so by purchasing shorter posts without pre-drilled holes. It also helps to work with a contractor who has a good relationship with suppliers and can get materials on a discount.
Post and Handrail Costs
MaterialCost
Squared Stainless Steel Posts$140-$210 per post
Rounded Stainless-Steel Posts$110-$200 per post
Squared and Round Stainless-Steel Handrails$20 per foot
Aluminum Posts$75-$80 per post
Wood Posts$80-$150 per post
Aluminum or Wood Handrails$10 per foot

Squared Stainless-Steel Handrails & Posts

A typical price for squared stainless steel posts is $140 to $210 per item, while handrails cost $20 per foot. Squared posts are more expensive than rounded because they require more steel.

Rounded Steel Handrails & Posts

The typical price for rounded stainless steel posts is $110 to $200 per item, while the handrails are around $20 per foot. This popular type is a common choice for homeowners who want stainless steel on a budget. Rounded versions are ornamental for those seeking a decorative look.

Aluminum Posts & Rail

A typical price for aluminum stainless steel posts is $75 to $80 per part, while the handrails cost around $10 per foot. Aluminum pieces come in square, rectangular and custom shapes to meet the needs of the consumer. It is less expensive and requires less maintenance than stainless steel.

Wood

Homeowners pay between $80 and $150 per wood post, depending on the type and the thickness of the part. Wooden handrails cost around $10 per foot. Cedar, mahogany and a variety of hardwoods make great frames since some of them are rot-resistant.
A typical wooden frame is square or rectangular, depending on the preferences of the consumer. Although it is a popular option because of its low price point, it requires frequent maintenance when installed outdoors. For those who do not want to stain or refinish their railing on a regular basis, this is not the ideal choice.

Vinyl and Composite

Homeowners pay between $25 to $35 per post and handrails cost about $10-$20 per foot. Vinyl and composite materials are popular because they are easy to maintain and highly durable. Both materials should last for years without needing replacement.
  • Composite materials are meant to look like wood. This gives them the aesthetic appeal of wood without the maintenance of it.
  • Vinyl is shaped or sculpted to mimic wood's texture. However, most paint vinyl in a solid color. This gives it a more manufactured look than composite.

Cost to Install Cable Railing

A typical contractor charges up to $110 per hour for the installation of a railing. Homeowners who shop around and compare bids may be able to bring this rate down. However, the lowest price is not always the best deal.
Homeowners should check references and contractor reputation before making a final decision. Meeting with professionals in person and asking smart questions is another way to decide which person is best for the job.

Cable Deck Railing Costs

Cable installation averages between $40 and $65 per linear foot. The height and configuration of the deck can have a big impact on the cost, as can the cost of metal customizations. The more posts and terminal ends included, the more expensive the installation. Decks that are high up or that involve more risk for the contractor are costlier than those that are easily accessible and close to the ground.
Homeowners on a budget may prefer aluminum or wood to stainless steel, because the materials are more affordable. Those who want a high-end product lean toward stainless steel for its quality and durability.

Cable Stair Railings Prices

Cable stair railings are around the same price as those for decks because the materials are the same. The only difference is the cost of the handrail, which angles to fit between posts of different heights. Angled models may cost as much as double the price of deck handrails.
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FAQs

How Much Cabling Do I Need for My Railing?

The amount cabling needed for this project depends on the height of the posts and the number of holes.
  • 36-inch posts with 11 holes = 11 feet of cabling per foot
  • 42-inch posts with 13 holes = 13 feet of cabling per foot
To find out how much cable you'll need, multiply the number of cables by the length of the railing. Add extra cable to the order to cover for any overage that may you may need.

How Many Posts Do I Need and How Do I Space Them?

This can vary depending on a variety of factors. Check with your local building codes office to find post spacing regulations and how many you will need for the project.
You may need to provide information regarding whether the cables run vertically or horizontally. If you're not comfortable with measuring and purchasing materials yourself, contact a licensed contractor.

How Do I Get the Proper Tension or Rigidity in My Cable Wire?

To achieve tension in cable wire, experts use a turnbuckle or threaded swage. Achieving proper tension is very important because tension affects the safety, effectiveness and appearance of the structure. A loose cable can be a hazard and less attractive.
The best way to get a properly tight, long-lasting railing is to hire a contractor. An experienced professional will have the right tools and knowledge to install it correctly.
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DIY vs Hiring a Contractor

A homeowner who installs his or her own system may be able to cut costs by a third or one half. Buying the necessary tools, if you don't already own them, can add hundreds to your budget. Likewise, consumers who make mistakes or who do damage to their property in the installation process lose money on corrections and may even need to pay a contractor to finish the job. This can be very costly and may be more expensive than hiring a contractor from the start.
An improperly installed railing can have many hidden dangers for residents. Unstable installations and poor workmanship could lead to household accidents and even fatalities, and the cost of making stairs safe can be great. A reputable contractor can install railings right the first time, and without placing homeowners in danger. Look for other ways to cut costs, like bundling the project with the cost of installing steel staircases.
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