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Old 07-28-2009, 10:25 PM   #1
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Horizontal cable rails for decks


I'm deciding on a style of railing for my deck. I like the open look of cable balusters as shown on this website

http://www.cablerail.com/standard/photogallery.shtml#photo6

but wondered if they were safe with kids around. The codes around here don't prohibit horizontal balusters, wood or cable, but I have heard in other areas they are not allowed since they create ladders for kids to climb with possible tragic consequences if its a high deck.

Just wondering if anyone out there has experience with cable rails.

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Old 07-28-2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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Horizontal cable rails for decks


The 2000 International codes prohibited horizontal or ornate parts of guardrails that created a ladder effect. That verbage was removed as part of the 2003 codes, and subsequent code cycles. My understanding is that the people that make ornate wrough iron guardrails with all sorts of scroll designs in them threw a fit and got that language changed. I know when I worked for a city that was under the 2000 code I turned down literally hundreds of those guards, and each one was a dramatic controversy.

The code does require that the guard prevent passage of a 4" sphere. Although a bit interpretive, I don't feel that stops with just taking a measurement in the case of a cable guard system. I'm going to make a reasonable effort to see how loose or tight the cables are and see how easy it would be for that 4" sphere to be pushed through. So the cables had better be mighty tight. I've encountered tight ones and loose ones in my years as an inspector and have turned some of the loose ones down.

Do I feel they're safe with kids around? Not at all, despite the fact that the code doesn't prohibit them. Any kid worth his/her salt will make every effort to climb anything that lends itself well to climbing. Mighty dangerous if they flex enough to permit a small child to get their head through as well.

They look cool but I'm not a fan from a safety standpoint.

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Old 07-28-2009, 11:06 PM   #3
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Horizontal cable rails for decks


I agree with KC. Ask your Insurance Agent if they would pay for a visiting child's death on your Homeowners policy. Be safe, G
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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Horizontal cable rails for decks


Thanks for the responses. Those were the insights I was looking for.
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:52 AM   #5
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Horizontal cable rails for decks


My son is 3 years old, he's been climbing everything & anything for over a year.
He was 5 steps up my 32' ladder the other day
I would never trust that with any young child (or older inebriated adult )
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