Wire Staircase Railings - Remodeling - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 10-15-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
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Wire staircase railings


So I've decided to remodel my entire stairwell - stairs included. It's a very "modern" style house, but I have to say, it's not looking so modern anymore. I'm trying to restore that look . As you'll see in the photos below, there's no railing! There were some at one point, but that was removed years ago (I recently purchased this house from my parents, btw). There's a strange "kneewall" of sorts at the top of the staircase that really closes things off - that's gotta go. Don't get me started on the carpet! But the main thing right now is the railing.

My plan is to do a sort of "wire railing" using galvanized steel wire pulled taught between 1" square steel tubing. Something like this - LINK or LINK. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has done something similar to this and could lend some advice.

I'm having trouble deciding what exactly is the best way to do it. My current plan is to bore 1-1/2" holes into the tops of the stingers and embed the Steel tubing with epoxy or some other type of adhesive. I did some sketches to get the idea across - see last image. I figured this could give a "clean" look without having to weld any special brackets for the steel. It would probably be pretty sturdy if I sank the posts in deep enough. What do you think? I'm also having trouble with how the wire cable wraps around. (highlighted in yellow in my sketch). I feel like this might be a little awkward.

Anyway, I'm just kind of brainstorming here, so any help anyone can offer would be great!

Photos of existing staircase: 1, 2, 3, 4

Sketch of railing concept: 5



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Old 10-15-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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If you will go to Project Showcase
Post photos of your projects here.

Coco, has used the SS wire in some of his rails. There are many many post in his thread. You will have to look and see where the picture are or make a post and ask Coco.


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Old 10-15-2010, 09:35 PM   #3
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Hi Pineapple...if you go to post numbers 41, 42 and 43 on my Gulf Island Building thread, there is an example of stainless steel wire - not galvanized - on the railings I did for a good friend of mine.

I'm also still in the process of doing some more stainless wire on the railing in front of our master bedroom. I don't have the post number right off hand for that, but I can certainly dig it up if you like.

Last edited by cocobolo; 10-16-2010 at 05:34 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:05 AM   #4
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1st link will never pass code, #2 might. Spacing has to be less the 4 1/2", so a child can't get their head(or body) thru it.
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:27 AM   #5
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Be sure to check your local code.

Over here the standard 4” spacing is 3” for a cable rail system due to the give in the cable.
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Old 10-16-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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I have to admit I never worked with wire railings, but if you put the wire horizontal like in your concept sketch, those newel posts better be solid as a rock. The wire is going to have to be under tension to look right. And I think we are talking about a heck of a lot of tension.
Maybe Cocobolo can explain how he handled this issue ?
I would think using stainless steel tubing would make your project a lot easier.

EDIT - OK, your concept sketch is missing the handrail, which would hold a lot of the tensile forces. But I think the tension on those cables could present issues.

Last edited by SPS-1; 10-16-2010 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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I do quite a bit of cable rail, mostly exterior. It’s all about the right hardware for a clean look.

Check out this site.

You’ll get lots of ideas with all the specs. I use a combination of my designs and materials and use their hardware.

Feeney can get quite pricey so I only buy the special connection hardware from them.
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Last edited by kwikfishron; 10-16-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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There's at least 100 companys in the US making cable railing systems, just do a Google search.
Use stainless not galzinized.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #9
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Cable rail on the rake is a pita to do. The holes are drilled at an angle so the bit wants to skip. This is really a pain on the curbed skirt, the bit wants to tear out on the up hill side of the bore. I prefer round pipe to square because you don't have to square the holes. As mentioned the spacing has to be closer so that a 4" ball with (I think) 40# of lateral force cannot pass though, however I've never seen an inspector do more than push down on one strand. Have a turner turn a piece 1" over the size of pipe and then bore for pipe OD, then slice off discs to cover bore holes. Also as mentioned your drawing will not pass code, use 2 posts for turning corners otherwise your cables run into each other.
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