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Complete Cable Railing Spacing Code Requirements and Guidelines

Glass balcony railing systems create a modern look without compromising safety. VIVA Railings offers a stunning range of glass balcony railing systems that allow for an unobstructed view of surrounding areas, which is why understanding the complete cable railing spacing code is necessary to choosing the right railing, as well as achieving peace of mind.

Depending on the application, the horizontal cable railing spacing will fall under either the International Building Code (IBC) for commercial projects or the International Residential Code (IRC) for residential projects. These codes are model codes and are adopted as the local code in many areas. As always, when constructing a railing system, it’s important to check the local code specific to your area and project.

Cable Railing Spacing Requirements

A cable railing typically acts as a guard and can double as a handrail if it meets the handrail requirements. Cable railing spacing requirements fall under the specifications for opening limitations for guards. In both the IRC and the IBC, the spacing between cable railings cannot be so large as to allow a 4” sphere to pass through the cables.

The only exception to this cable rail spacing code is at the triangle-shaped opening where the railing meets the top stair tread and cannot allow the passage of a 6” sphere.

Cable deflection refers to the stretching of the cable when under tension. Cables can deflect up to 25% when properly supported and under appropriate tension. With this in mind, a cable railing spacing of 3”-3.25” would ensure that the 4” sphere wouldn’t be able to pass through the cables even with reasonable force applied.

Cable Railing Post Spacing Requirements

The IBC and IRC do not specify post spacing for cable railings or lay out a maximum post spacing for cable railing, but they do have load requirements which can influence the post spacing.

The IBC and IRC both require handrails and guards to be able to handle a linear load of 50 lbs. per linear foot and a concentrated load of 200 lbs. Infill components must be able to resist a concentrated load of 50 lbs.

In order to meet these criteria, industry standard post spacing for cable railing is typically between 4’ and 8’. In some cases, structural posts will be spaced further apart with intermediate posts in-between.

VIVA’s railing systems can help you meet cable rail spacing code requirements as well as the aesthetic needs of the project.

CIRCA® Cable Railing System

Cable Railing Spacing Code 5

Our CIRCA® Cable Railing System is created to capture a simple yet timeless look. This classic cable railing design meets cable railing code spacing requirements with both the cable infill and cable rail post spacing. A maximum cable rail spacing of 3.25” ensures it will meet cable rail spacing requirements, even with deflection.

Post spacing is set at a maximum 4’ and there are four top rail options to choose from. Where handrails are required, they are installed at the proper height and meet all building code handrail requirements.

Cable Railing Spacing Code 3

CUBE™ Cable Metal Railing System

Cable Railing Spacing Code 4

Our unique CUBE Cable Metal Railing System features 2” x 2” square posts topped with monolithic pyramid top caps to create continuous clean lines throughout the system. This railing is popular for exterior applications. Cable rail spacing in this system doesn’t exceed 3.25” which meets the code for cable railing spacing. Posts won’t exceed their maximum spacing of 4’.

Cable Railing Spacing Code 8

The beauty of our systems is that they provide many opportunities for customization. Our powder coated finishes can allow you to meet stainless steel cable railing spacing while deviating from the standard stainless steel look.

Cable Railing Spacing Code 6

TEE™ Cable Metal Railing System

Cable Railing Spacing Code 2

The minimal design of our TEE Cable Metal Railing System features a structural “T” section to enhance post stability against the tension from the cable strands and conceal the cable mounting hardware. The system can be top and fascia mounted depending on the needs of the space and is often used in deck railing and balcony railing application to allow for a clear line of sight. As with our other systems, 3.25” cable rail spacing and 4’ spacing between posts ensure that this railing system meets the code for cable railing spacing and can handle specified loads.