How Much Does Cable Deck Railing Cost?
$60 – $165 Per Linear Foot
The cost of cable railing installed by a contractor is $60 to $165 per linear foot based on the materials used for posts, the number of cable rails and the complexity of the deck itself.
Average Cost of Wire Cable Deck Rail Installation
The average cost of cable railing professionally installed is about $135 per linear foot. The breakdown is roughly $100 per foot for the most common materials and $30 per foot for installation labor, which includes installing the materials and getting the permit. If old railing is removed and disposed of by the contractor, additional costs will come into play.
Overview of Cable Deck Railing
Cable railing gives any deck a contemporary profile with minimal obstruction. But it comes at a higher price than most other options like aluminum or similar like metal and cast iron railings. The cost of cable deck railing is only exceeded by glass railing prices.
This cable railing price guide discusses cost factors to help you consider which materials fit your budget. A list of retail costs and a comparison of cable railing price based on what materials are used for posts and rails. Composite railings are a very popular choice and keep the modern look and appeal, when matched with cable runners. There’s a place for homeowners to submit their costs providing real-life prices for other readers. Consider bookmarking this page of Costimates and return to share your project prices with others.
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Cable Deck Rail Cost Factors
Cost estimates for cable deck railing vary widely, and most sites underestimate price. Deck Cost Guide pegs the price at $40-$60 per linear foot, but you’d have to use the cheapest materials and install them yourself into existing posts to get close to that cost. Even Home Advisor, a typically reliable site, offers a narrow cost range of $60 to $135, definitely on the low side of what homeowners are paying for cable deck rail systems.
View Rail, a retail site specializing in railing, places the cost range nearer to ours at $75 to $225 per linear foot.
Our research shows this breakdown:
Wood posts and optional rail plus cable: $65 – $115 depending on whether you use existing posts or install new posts. The DriveTite cable railing system is about $75 per foot when existing posts are used.
Aluminum posts and optional rail plus cable: $105 – $150. An average system from ViewRail is about $130 per linear foot.
Stainless steel posts and optional rail plus cable: $145 – $220
Wondering whether to go with aluminum or stainless steel? Aluminum is lighter and costs less. The chief advantage of stainless steel is that it holds up better to marine/salt spray environments and those with heavy amounts of pollution. Otherwise, aluminum is the cost-effective option.
Here are more specific cost factors about materials and labor.
- Post Material – As shown above, this makes a big difference.
- Use of Existing Wood Posts – If your deck is in good condition but you want to replace thick balusters with cable to improve the view, this is your cheapest option.
- Rail Material – The material used for the top and bottom rail affects cost significantly, though not as much as post material.
- Rail Choice – In most materials, you have the option of narrow, cost-effective top rails or wider rails often called drink rails which are wide enough to securely hold a glass or plate.
- Cable Material – Stainless steel cable is the best long-term choice, but it costs more than galvanized steel cable.
- Gates – The cost of a gate is about twice the price per linear foot of posts and cable.
- Accessories – As with all deck materials, cable railing can be accessorized with upgraded caps and LED solar lights. They raise costs.
- Deck Complexity – The number of corners and the addition of stairs with railing push labor cost toward the upper end of the spectrum.
Cost of Repair Supplies
Many homeowners install cable into existing wood posts when refurbishing or repairing an old deck. Whether you’re repairing an existing deck or constructing a new one, here are cable railing cost comparisons for materials.
- $18 – $24 each | Treated Pine Posts, not pre-drilled.
- $45 – $95 each |Cedar Posts not drilled, starting at $45, or pre-drilled at a cost up to $95.
- $50 – $115 each | Ipe Hardwood Posts, with cost based on whether they are pre-drilled.
- $70 – $125 each | Aluminum Posts with Foot Cover. Pre-drilled.
- $135 – $200 each | Stainless Steel Posts made from 304 stainless (starting at $135) or 2205 duplex stainless (up to $200) each. Pre-drilled.
- $2 – $3 per linear foot | Treated Top and Bottom Rail.
- $6 – $9 per linear foot | Cedar Top and Bottom Rail.
- $14 – $18 per linear foot | Ipe Top and Bottom Rail.
- $18 – $28 per linear foot | Aluminum Top and Bottom Rail.
- $21 – $32 per linear foot | Stainless Steel Top and Bottom Rail.
- $60 – $90 per linear foot | Aluminum Cable Railing Kits – they are an affordable choice for homeowners willing to assemble them. DesignRail kits by Feeney are a popular example.
- $35 – $60 per post | Fittings and Cable Tensioners.
- $35 – $80 | Solar Light Caps, Sconces and other light types.
- $0.30 – $0.45 (30-45 cents) per foot | Galvanized Carbon Steel Cable – Typically 8 to 10 courses of cable are used depending on whether posts are 36” or 42”.
- $0.70 – $0.80 per foot | Stainless Steel Cable.
- $850 – $1,200 each | Cable Railing Gates with wood, aluminum or stainless steel frames.
- $140 – $175 | Cable Railing Installation Kit including cable cutter, crimper, insert tool, wrenches, bits, etc.
Cost of Disposal for Damaged Decking
Old railing is easily removed, and DIY is a good way to save the $3 or so per linear foot contractors charge for the work plus disposal.
If you’re removing just railing, you can probably dispose of it a little at a time in your weekly trash pickup. If its metal, your recycling facility might take it.
When you’re removing the entire deck, renting a dumpster can reduce disposal costs, especially if you’ve been waiting to do a major clean-out project or have a couple neighbors you can share the cost with. This makes sense because the larger the container you rent, the less it costs per cubic yard of capacity.
All the details are in our Dumpster Rental Costimate.
Sample Cable Railing Deck Railing Project Costs
Let’s consider 3 decks, each 500 square feet, with the railing professionally installed.
The examples will show how cost raises with number of linear foot, which is obvious, but also with the complexity of the deck.
Rectangular 20’ x 25’, single-level Deck with 65 feet of cable railing with top rails:
- Wood posts and rail: $5,525
- Aluminum posts and rail: $8,450
- Stainless steel posts and rail: $12,350
- Installed Cost Range: $85 – $190 per linear feet
L-shaped deck, single-level deck with 100 feet of cable railing with top rails:
- Wood posts (new) and rail: $9,200
- Aluminum posts and rail: $13,800
- Stainless steel posts and rail: $19,600
- Installed Cost Range: $92 – $196 per linear feet
Two-level Deck with Stairs & Rails between levels, 115 feet of cable railing with top rail:
- Wood posts and rail: $12,650
- Aluminum posts and rail: $16,330
- Stainless steel posts and rail: $35,150
- Installed Cost Range: $110 – $213 per linear foot
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $30 – $150 | A permit including an inspection is required for any deck with a railing. Deck size and where you live determines exact cost of the deck permit.
Related Costs and Installation Time
Here’s what DIY cable deck railing installation will save you. The low end is for decks with predrilled wood and metal posts, while time/costs go up if wood posts must be drilled onsite.
- $16 – 28 per linear foot | Labor Cost to install cable deck railing.
A team of two experienced installers can install 8 to 15 linear feet of cable deck railing based on job complexity. There will be a little setup and clean-up time too.
- 3-5 Hours | 50 Feet of “Easy” Railing Installation
- 4-7 Hours | 50 Feet of “Average” Railing Installation
- 6-8 Hours | 50 Feet of “Complex” Railing Installation
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Installing cable deck railing is a moderate to difficult job, so your skillset will determine whether to tackle it or not. It’s also time consuming, so factor in how quickly you want to use the deck when deciding.
DIY involves the standard challenges of ordering the right materials in the right amounts, so you don’t come up short and experience a delay, plus adequately spacing and securing the deck posts. It’s certainly easier if you’re using existing posts, as the homeowner did in this video from This Old House.
Special challenges include getting the holes absolutely level and evenly spaced plus installing lag terminal assemblies to keep the cable taught, as shown here. Here’s a good resource with both written manuals and video tutorials. Take a look, so you know what you’ll be getting into if you decide to tackle the job.
In short, if you’re handy and have the time, we think you can handle this job, especially if using pre-existing posts.