DIY Cable Railing - Prefabricated Railing System vs Wood Framing

Cable railing is a great way to add safety and style to your home. It's easy to install and maintain, and it looks great in any setting. Let's look at the different options for DIY cable rail. 

Post Types for Cable Deck Railing

When considering cable railing installation, you have two main options: Cable Railing Kits or Wood Framing.

Cable railing kits are a way to DIY cable railing in a simple, time efficient way. Cable railing kits are usually made from aluminum, which means that they are less susceptible to corrosion than wood posts. The stainless-steel cable is also very durable, ensuring that it will last for many years. There is also less maintenance required to maintain this deck cable railing due to being made with metal posts. Additionally, cable railing kits are also already tested to meet building code requirements, so they are guaranteed to meet safety standards. Pre-designed kits make your cable railing project simple and efficient. 

Another way to approach your cable rail project is wooden framing with cable wires. One advantage to wooden posts is customizability: you are able to choose your own materials, color, style and shape. Wooden posts also have the edge over predesigned kits in being more able to meet a wider range of budgets. If you want to use stainless steel cable but need the most bang for your buck, then wood posts might be the way to go. Cable railing kits are pre-designed to meet building codes, wooden post kits have to be customized to meet building code criteria. 

Choosing the right type of post for your cable rail project is essential for ensuring you are happy with the process and outcome.

Design - Determine how much DIY you're up for - comparing predesigned cable railing systems vs using wooden post

Predesigned cable rail installation kits have the advantage of being less work than DIY cable rail. Those who are looking to do as little DIY as possible will want to look at these systems. These are able to be installed by both amateurs and the experienced handyman. Cable installation with predesigned railings are doable for any skill level-Key-link's predesigned cable assemblies come with thorough installation instructions and all cable hardware. Each section of rail comes in standard length and are then cut down on site to perfectly fit your deck space. The posts also come with pre-drilled holes, which increases the speed of installation and cuts down on potential errors. 

There are many options with the cable rail kits to customize the cable rail design. The post options for predesigned kits include corner posts and line posts with upgrade, which helps reduce overall cost by not having to terminate cables yourself. This also leads to a faster install and is great for those without experience with cable railing.

Horizontal stainless steel cable infill with aluminum posts from a cable railing decking kit.

Wood post systems are usually custom built using stainless steel cables- more of a DIY cable railing project. Using the wood post kits from Key-link, you are able to install cable railing on pre-existing wood railing or create a custom look from a new railing.  The wood post kits can be used to install cable wires into any wood post. Wood posts can also be durable, pending which type of wood is used. This will include needing to do some cable cutting. Wood posts can also be used to maintain the elegance of earlier era design while capitalizing on the benefits of cable railing.

Wooden post deck rail project with stainless steel cable infill. Cable railing system that meets code requirements for a barrier while maintaining the ambiance of wood posts.

Hardware and Posts for Cable Railing

Key-link's predesigned kits include the rail, intermediate support balusters, brackets, and screws. Recommended tools for installation include a drill, measuring tape, and a cable cutter. 

Post options for the pre-boxed kits include newel posts, post with welded plate, and 6-inch aluminum post wrap, each with a variety of choices for post caps and trim. These come in 10 different color options to further customize your deck. 

Newel posts are simple square posts, perfect for simple and elegant deck projects. Posts with welded plates have a baseplate welded to the bottom, and aluminum post wrap is a square tiered baseplate with aluminum wrap similar to siding wrapped around the post. 

Wooden Posts are also customizable. Key-link cable rail wood and composite infill components can be used to retrofit existing structures. External cable fittings for wood posts add the ambiance of cable railing while maintaining the look and feel of the exterior. 

Learn more about Key-link's options for wood railing infill here:

Cable Rail Wood & Composite Infill Components - Key-Link (

Code requirements for horizontal cable railing

Deck railing code requires posts to be no more than 4 feet apart. If you are retrofitting existing wooden posts with cable, using an intermediate post where there are larger than 4-foot gaps can bring the deck up to appropriate codes. Also, the deck will need to meet the 4-inch sphere rule, which states that a 4” sphere should not be able to pass through the posts. Appropriate cable spacing and rail spacing is vital when completing your cable rail project. Code requirements can vary by municipality, so make sure that you check before installing your deck railing. 


Determining whether to use pre-designed kits or wooden posts in your deck project is a personal choice. Each has advantages and can be used to make your deck look as unique as your home while maintaining safety standards. 

Need help choosing? The staff at Inso supply can help you decide which railing will best meet your needs. Contact to get started!