As warm weather approaches, ensuring your deck is safe for family and friends to enjoy is critical. Every year around 33,000 people are injured due to safety issues on a deck, porch, railing, or staircase with 6,000 people suffering traumatic injuries.

May is Deck Safety month, so it’s the perfect time to review steps you can take to keep your deck safe for summer fun!

Check for Damage

Replace Any Rotten or Damaged Wood and Loose Fasteners

Rotten wood can cause fasteners to become loose due to the wood being too soft to hold fasteners in place. This causes safety issues. If you run into out of place nails or screws, replace the damaged deck boards and inspect for other loose fasteners. Make sure to only reuse fasteners that are in pristine condition and replace any that are compromised. 

When choosing fasteners for your backyard projects, Grip-Rite® is the reliable and trustworthy choice. With fasteners like Deckforce® exterior screws for wood and composite deck boards, you’re sure to find the right one for your project. For grooved deck boards, Grip-Rite® Ninja™ Hidden Deck Clip makes installations faster and creates a seamless finish.

Address Any Weather-Related Damage and Mold

Winter snowstorms and spring rain can cause high moisture levels on your deck, which can lead to rotting. To check for damage, you can try poking the area of concern with a screwdriver, and if it goes into the wood more than ⅛ of an inch, you most likely have rotten wood.

Excessive flaking and chipping of paint can also indicate rotting. Make sure you replace any damaged wood and get an assessment by a professional to make certain your deck is safe to use again. 

Deep Clean Your Deck

Remove Debris

There are more than 60 million decks in the United States with 30 million of these being past useful life, needing to be repaired or totally replaced. Keeping your deck clean by sweeping off debris and using a hose to wash it down will make it easier to notice any hazards and will help keep your deck in its best shape. 

It is important to create a maintenance plan that regularly checks on the following:

  • Railing & banisters
  • Deck boards
  • Stairs
  • Underbelly connections
  • Deck lighting

Pressure Wash Carefully

After you’ve removed all items and debris from the deck and closed all windows and doors, you’re ready to pressure wash your deck. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your pressure washer to figure out the best PSI to use so you won’t damage your deck. You can combine pressure washing with some detergents and different spray heads for a deeper clean.

Refinish if Necessary

Sand and Stain

While sanding a deck is not always necessary before staining or sealing it, it is recommended if your deck is old or has been refinished multiple times. The process gives you the ability to even out the surface of your deck and remove any old stains or finishes.

If you decide to sand and stain, do it 48 hours after your deck is washed and dried.

Begin by applying the deck stain to handrails using a paintbrush. For oil-based products, make sure to use a natural-bristle paintbrush. For water-based stains, use a synthetic-bristle brush. Stain the surface decking boards with a flat paint-pad applicator. Let it soak according to the instructions and remove any excess using a rag.

Pro Tip: Avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight and stay off of the deck for a full day to ensure it dries completely.

Seal Against the Elements

Sealing your deck protects the surface from extreme temperatures and the elements. After cleaning and clearing the deck, you’ll want to ensure you stir the sealer and then using a brush, paint roller, or sprayer apply a thin coat over a two-to-three board section.

You may have to back-roll to ensure you achieve the best-looking coat possible. Then, use a finer paintbrush to apply the sealer to more difficult areas such as railings, steps, and cracks. Lastly, allow the deck to dry completely before use.

Lighting Can Create the Perfect Mood

Having improper lighting or no lighting on your deck can pose safety concerns like slipping and tripping. Installing lighting on your deck not only keeps guests safe, but also adds to the aesthetic of the space. To ensure your lighting is installed and maintained properly, we recommend hiring a certified electrician. 

Elevate Your Views with New Railing Solutions

Timeless Railing Solutions with RailFX®

Whether you’re installing a new deck and railing or looking to spruce your existing deck railing up, RailFX® has solutions for you. For a new installation, we recommend exploring our custom railing system or RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System. Both options feature aluminum posts and various infill options, backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. For decks with wood posts, check out our Express Mount Brackets™ or newly redesigned FlexFX Fittings. Whichever option you choose, RailFX will ensure your deck is a showstopper.

Our Custom Railing System delivers an all-in-one solution to any project and has everything you could need including:

  • SEAMLESS TOP RAILS are available in lengths up to 20 feet, easy to trim on site
  • PRE-DRILLED POSTS for cable and concealed cable fittings
  • GLASS AND PICKET INFILL OPTIONS AVAILABLE as a cable infill alternative

Quick Tips for Summer

Grill Safety

  • Keep grill 2 feet from all furniture, railings, overhangs, and shade structures
  • Trim any branches or brush near your grill
  • Always have a fire extinguisher on hand

Shade for Maximum Outdoor Enjoyment

  • Add an umbrella or sun shade when trees aren’t available
  • Large potted plants can add ambiance and shade

Furniture Upgrades

  • Have plenty of seating on hand for larger gatherings
  • Weatherproof accent pillows make deck furniture more comfortable

At RailFX, we love spending time outdoors in the summer! To help you make the most of your summer nights, we’ve created deck safety and outdoor living resources you can reference. Remember: Creating a deck maintenance plan can help you spend less time on issues in the long run!

Explore our resources by visiting

Decorate Your Home for the Holidays: 7 Simple Ways to Spruce up your Staircase Railing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. While trimming the tree and putting up lights is often the focus of the fa la la, consider decorating the area that can offer the most added design drama: your staircase railing. Because the staircase is commonly the first thing people see when they walk through the door, make it a festive focal point of your home. As you deck the halls this holiday season, here are some ideas to spruce up your  staircase railing with décor:

Bring the Outdoors In

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t bring the outdoors in. A live or artificial evergreen garland is a refreshing way to include a festive flair. Blend in different types of spray for added texture and lushness. Add in some pinecones, holly, and winterberries to dress it up.

Ribbons and Bows

Ribbon can be used as a garland and connect décor like wreaths spaced throughout the stairway. Experiment with weaving colored, patterned, or textured ribbons through garland for added color and intrigue. Add bows throughout or at critical junctures in the stairway, like a turn or anchoring posts.

Ornamental Embellishments

Add a color theme like silver and gold, red and green, non-traditional colors like pink and teal, or a mixture, depending on your preferences and existing home décor. Embellish with snowflakes, stars, or your own curated ornaments. Need a touch of sparkle? Consider adding tinsel, snow, and glitter.

Lights, Lights, and More Lights

Whether clear, yellow, or multi-color, adding string lights to the staircase garland will illuminate the area and enhance the décor. The glow of holiday lights adds to the festive ambiance and can serve as a wayfinding element in the dark— something you may want to keep up all-year round.

Traditional Focal Point

Either at the base of the stairs, on a landing, or spaced evenly apart throughout the infill, add in your traditional holiday décor to create a focal point. Think family stockings, wreaths, and bells.

Flora and Fauna

Simple to exotic, add floral to your design. Poinsettia, a holiday favorite, or your preferred flower is an excellent way to add a festive touch. Birds can be popular ornaments and décor—consider adding a cardinal for a burst of red, or peacock feathers for a non-traditional holiday color scheme.

RailFX Get a Quote

Update Your Railing

Still not inspired? If looking at your staircase gives you the winter blues, it may be time for a complete railing update. Check out our inspiration gallery for staircase design ideas. We make it easy to make your dream railing a reality with our simple get a quote feature.

We’d love to see how you’ve decorated your staircase. If you already have a RailFX cable railing, share your decorations by submitting them to our photo contest.

Happy decorating and happy holidays
from all of us at RailFX!

As a contractor, you operate as a “jack of all trades.” You are an all-in-one business owner, expert craftsman, and customer service agent. Some days, as much as you love what you do, you might feel like you’re on a continuous hamster wheel. At RailFX, we get it and are experienced in keeping your railing projects on schedule and within budget.

Working alongside contractors and installers for years, we’ve learned that the best way to help you grow your business is to focus on being a partner that provides reliable support and makes your job easier. We’ve intentionally designed our customer service practices, processes, and of course our products, with you in mind. Plus, we’re constantly evolving to serve you better.

Here’s what you can expect when you order from RailFX

RailFX Get a Quote

We promise to deliver a detailed quote, through your preferred dealer or lumberyard, within 48 hours. This fast turnaround helps ensure you can provide your client with a project estimate, so the job is yours.  We’ve made it easy with our online quoting systems.

Start with the RailFX Quote Request form

Available here  or, if you prefer, in-store. Our straightforward form walks you step-by-step through each part of the product selection process. From top and bottom railing options to height, color, mounting, and attachments, the Quote Request Form helps take the guesswork out of the process and provides you with a detailed materials cost estimate.

No architectural drawings or measurements?

No problem. Share a photo of the project area, sketch it out on a napkin, share a PDF of the plan and submit it with your quote request form. If the RailFX team has questions, we’ll even contact the project owner directly to identify the job specifications required to provide you with an accurate estimate.

The role of the lumberyard. An essential partner in this process is your supplier. Your supplier will only facilitate the purchasing and billing of your order, along with the delivery of your RailFX product to the job site. The rest is on us.

“If we quote it, we own it.” Unlike other cable railing or building products manufacturers that ask the contractor or supplier to be accountable for the details of their railing project quotes and orders, RailFX assumes responsibility from start to finish. We eliminate any liability from the supplier and ensure you have a turnkey project, price, and all the product you need, to finish the job. No surprise costs or unexpected delays.

“If one of our customers is on the job site and a cable is too short, or they’re missing a part, they can call us directly, and we’ll ship it to them immediately, so there are no delays,” said John Moss, product development director. “From a customer service perspective, we take ownership, so it’s not complicated for the supplier or installer, and ultimately the job gets finished, and the homeowner is happy.”

Ready to start your next railing project? Find out where to buy RailFX aluminum railing or our other cable railing solutions. Or contact our customer service team with your questions.

Today’s homeowners want to keep their spaces beautiful and maintenance-free, using durable and design-friendly materials. RailFX® engineers’ number one goal when designing products is how quick and easy it is to install. Our FlexFX cable railing solution is ideal for a quick-turn product that makes your vision a reality for outdoor living and interior functional spaces.

Cable railing checks all the boxes – it delivers an unobstructed view and classic aesthetic while requiring minimal upkeep and a long lifespan. Cable railing is the perfect choice for professionals with the goal of exceeding client expectations.

FlexFX Installation Simplified

Often, homeowner design choices translate to complex and time-consuming installations for the pro. The RailFX team understands that while satisfying your client is a top priority, extra time spent on a project can impact the opportunity to take on another.

With the pro installer in mind, our engineering and product development teams went to work to create an easier-to-install line of fittings. The result: The FlexFX product line.

FlexFX is a line of surface mount fittings that couples with a spool of cable available in 100- and 500-feet— allowing you to customize and build the cable railing solution needed to complete any job— whether it’s a new build or updating an existing railing.

To determine the fitting options you’ll need for your projects, follow these simple steps.

  1. Determine the post material where the stainless-steel cable will be installed.
  2. Measure your level and stair runs to calculate the number of fittings you will need.
  3. Add up the tensioners and non-tensioners.*
  4. Calculate total cable footage — plus 5 percent.

*Railings measuring 36-inches need ten fittings on each end for level runs and nine fittings on each end for the stair. Railings measuring 42-inches need 12 fittings on each end for level runs and 11 fittings on each end for the stair.

FlexFX uses the RailFX proprietary Push-Lock® fittings featuring a locking wedge system that securely holds the cable, making for a quick and simple FlexFX installation that requires no crimping or special tools. The Push-Lock fitting works seamlessly with any post material including, wood, metal, composite sleeve posts, and single and double-corner posts.

Keep in mind that FlexFX is not just for exterior projects like decks and docks. FlexFX stainless-steel fittings are also well-suited for finishing interior balconies and stairways. The only requirement? Each cable run must have one tensioning fitting on the end.

The End Result

FlexFX is a win-win for everyone. Homeowners are thrilled with the result: a low-maintenance product that offers enhanced open views, creating a space that feels bigger. The win for the pro? With FlexFX fittings, deck professionals and other contractors can complete each cable railing job more efficiently, enabling them to save time and take on more projects. And what does more time for projects mean? More happy homeowners are enjoying their view.

Have you ever wondered what happens after an order is placed or when you request a customized job? As a customer of RailFX, you generally don’t get an inside peek into the day-to-day operations other than a typical phone or email inquiry. We sat down with Dan Scinto to talk process, company culture, and what brings our employees back to work each day (hint: it’s you).

Based in Carson City, Nevada, RailFX employs about 90 people across several departments, including customer service, sales, engineering, IT, accounting, procurement, purchasing, receiving, shipping, machining, assembly, packaging, and inventory control. Together, they work as a well-oiled machine with one overarching goal: building better ways to support people.

Scinto started as a consultant and joined the team full-time in late 2021 as Director of Operations at the Carson City manufacturing facility. He was tasked with migrating and consolidating the operation to make it efficient to produce whatever it is our customer wants.

“One of the goals was to create one seamless team with the ability to rotate people around through cross training while keeping our people motivated in light of the current labor scarcity issues that most American businesses are facing,” he says. “Another goal is to build upon the RailFX mission and vision—ensuring our customers know they can lean on us. “

Focused on the customer

A typical day starts and ends focusing on shipping orders and ensuring there’s stock on hand to fill those orders. High demands, rush, and customized orders are no problem for the RailFX team. Along with a quick quote turnaround, we have another competitive advantage: keeping things moving by communicating internally and with our customers. It’s that transparent culture and teamwork ethic that provides credit to our customers in every project. “I think that keeps everybody coming back to work every day,” says Scinto.

Dan says the team does a daily alignment to continually support and provide excellent customer service, starting with order fulfillment. “Are we making what customers want? And then, if our order levels are low, are we making enough to stock or replenish what we shipped the previous few weeks to ensure our stock levels are correct?”

Innovation and quality

Because innovation is at the heart of RailFX, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve performance and look at our products to provide our customers with only the best. RailFX components are made primarily of stainless steel because it’s corrosion and weather-resistant. We use marine-grade stainless steel to manufacture high-quality fittings that stand up to the elements, including in coastal areas. We work with local vendors on special order items for components like stainless steel cable. “Some components are sourced and brought to our facility, but the cable braces and other smaller system components are made locally then combined with outsourced materials, all under the same roof,” says Scinto. Despite the woes of the well-known shipping supply issues, we constantly strive to keep inventory on hand. Our focus is to ensure the machining and assembly are running smoothly to produce additional inventory to maintain levels or produce the parts or components needed for future orders.
RailFX team

A dedicated RailFX team

Scinto has been at RailFX long enough to observe how the team works and what makes them tick. When asked what three words he would use to describe the team, he didn’t hesitate with his first thought: motivation. “The workforce here is very motivated.” Second? Hungry. “They’re hungry to grow and to become more successful in their profession.” Third? Skilled. “The team here is very skilled; in some cases, our machinist employees have been here 15 -16 years.” 

Scinto continues with the last thought: 

“I have to compliment the dedication of the folks that have stayed the course during the transitions, various acquisitions, and COVID. The team here is probably some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure to lead in terms of sticking through those tough times to keep the business functioning.” 

As Scinto and his team have met—and conquered—new challenges, we couldn’t agree more. 


PrimeSource acquired Nationwide Industries, LockeyUSA, RailFX, and Ultra-tec in 2021 and is one of North America’s leading suppliers of building products. 

Maintaining Cable Railings

With modern, high-quality materials, homeowners shouldn’t have to do significant maintenance.  Keeping their cable railings looking nice and functioning correctly, even close to the ocean, is easy. Because stainless steel can rust, most manufacturers recommend periodic cleaning with water and possibly a mild detergent. Afterwards, do a thorough rinsing.

However, with more coastal areas facing extreme weather, like tropical storms and hurricanes, homeowners need to check on their railings after these events.

Cable railings are high-tension systems, and their lower overall surface areas should protect them during extreme winds. But, after a hurricane or tropical storm, carefully inspect the entire railing system, not just damaged areas. The tension of the cables may pull on other deck components and can create issues down the road. If any posts appear to be loose or twisted, reach out to your contractor.

Cable Railings Cleaning Guidelines

If you choose a RailFX cable railing system, the cleaning guidelines are easy:

  • Use clean water and a soft cloth for coated surfaces.
  • Use mild dishwashing soap with water and a soft cloth for stronger cleaning needs.
  • Remove minor scuff marks or scratches from aluminum posts and rails using a product like Soft Scrub™ (Note: bleach-based products should not be used on stainless steel.)
  • Do not use strong chemicals, household cleaners, harsh abrasives, etc. This is especially true for bleach or products containing bleach. Bleach will stain and discolor stainless steel quickly and easily.
  • Remove sap, tree seeds, bugs, etc. as soon as possible as additional sun and heat exposure can make them stick to the coated surface making them more difficult to remove (but not impossible).
  • Clean glass infills with regular glass cleaner or (made for glass) soap and water.
  • Always test cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area before applying any product.

And if you have a question about maintaining your railing system, the RailFX team is happy to help. You can email us at or call us at (206) 453-1123.

Daylight Saving Time brings with it the promise of longer days and warmer weather – inspiring many homeowners to refresh their outdoor spaces and create an oasis that can be enjoyed with friends and family all season long. With this in mind, getting your deck season-ready may have already shifted to the top of your weekend to-do list.

Consider these helpful tips as a kickstart to this year’s outdoor living season.

Inspect and Repair

Prioritizing safety is a smart start to your warm weather preparations. During the off season, shifting temperatures, inclement weather and a lack of consistent maintenance can take a toll, causing deck boards, railings, and hardware to loosen or shift. By taking the time to complete a thorough inspection you can ensure the safety of everyone and extend the life of your deck.

Check out the RailFX® article, Inspect the Deck, published for last year’s deck safety month (May). You’ll find simple – yet important – tips to help you complete an annual inspection of your deck’s structure and materials, including the railing. Likewise, our friends at This Old House have created a deck safety checklist with great advice on how to check for signs of deck damage caused by bugs and mold and mildew, along with suggestions on how to contend with cracks, rotted wood and unexpected creaks.

Refresh, Renew and Replace

Now that you’re confident your deck is safe, are you equally as positive about how it looks? There’s no better time than now to get a head start on sprucing up your deck for outdoor entertaining or an upcoming staycation. But, before you begin decorating your space, take the time to remove debris or weeds that likely collected over the winter; eliminate any corrosion that may have occurred; and clean the patio furniture. The experts at True Value share these Five Tips for cleaning and prepping your deck for summer. If you have – or are considering – a RailFX® aluminum cable railing system, cleaning will be quick and easy. You’ll appreciate the insight we share here,  on how to clean cable railing or choose one that will work best for your existing deck.

With the bulk of the work out of the way, you can turn your attention to the fun stuff – decorating. Creating a space that you’ll love is filled with decisions – is it possible to extend your indoor living, to outdoor? What are best solutions for dining, capturing the view or complementing the existing style of your home’s exterior? Check out these ideas from House Beautiful or get started dreaming when you visit the RailFX Inspiration Gallery.

Beauty and Durability for the Long-Term

Investing in updating or designing an outdoor living space is big decision.  The RailFX® FlexFX Program allows you the flexibility to fashion your deck, balcony, or stairway just the way you want – combining your choice of materials – wood, composite, or metal with durable cable railing from RailFX®. 

Is this your first-time considering cable railing for your deck? It’s a smart choice! It delivers unobstructed views, adds value to any home by offering an upscale look (in a variety of finishes) and it’s durable – backed by a 10-year warranty.

Curious to learn more? Contact us to get started.


The days are getting shorter, and you’ve replaced your shorts and sandals with hats and boots. Now’s the time to winterize your home and take steps to help improve its efficiency.

Here are a few simple ways to prepare for the cold, winter months ahead. 

Do-It-Yourself, Fast

Not all home winterization requires a big budget. The experts who work with Bob Vila created a list of affordable, yet impactful, tasks that can be completed this weekend to get your house ready for the big chill. Some of these may already be on your “honey-do” list:

cleaning the gutter

Embrace Durability

While a number of winterization or home exterior projects are strictly functional, others have the added benefit of enhancing your home’s aesthetic. For instance, when it comes to railing materials for your deck or exterior stairs, you can expect that most will require annual maintenance and seasonal protectants to keep them in good order. However, Aluminum Cable Railing and Picket Railing systems from RailFX are engineered to stand up to winter’s harsh conditions and they’re virtually maintenance-free. 

Available in a variety of finishes and styles, you can enjoy the beauty of your deck and have confidence that when the seasons change, your deck railing will look great and remain strong year after year.

Plug the Holes

Did you know that nearly 30% of a home’s energy consumption is in the heating of it?  The good news is that according to these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy, we can save 10-20% on our heating (and cooling) bills just by sealing the areas where air leaks typically occur. Look for these  common culprits:

home maintenance

The biggest cause of heat loss (35%) is drafty windows, doors and walls. If this year’s budget doesn’t allow for window or door replacement, then Popular Mechanics, recommends sealing these areas to prevent cold air from passing through to your home’s interior. Plug open seams, holes and cracks using caulk, weather stripping or an expanding foam sealant.

Uninsulated attics

The experts estimate that nearly 25% of heat loss occurs through the attic or roof a home. Start by checking to confirm that your attic and duct work is insulated and take note of the depth of the insulation. Then, visit the Insulation Institute – they’ve provided an informative guide to help you ensure that your home is properly insulated based on your region of the country. Insulation installation can be a DIY project, though you might want to search for a professional installer.


Basements and floors

Most houses have scarcely any insulation in the flooring or basement. An uninsulated, concrete basement will have less than 2% R-Value, which makes it a significant source of heat loss. Build with Rise shares these expert suggestions on how to insulate your basement  (“like a pro”) to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of your home.

We’re here to help if you’re interested in learning more about RailFX railing solutions (or want to get a quote). If you’re looking for design inspiration, visit

This time of year, many homeowners – especially those who live in climates with a striking change of seasons – begin to think about how they can savor their outdoor spaces for as long as possible. Still, others who enjoy milder conditions are looking for opportunities to refresh their outdoor living area by making simple upgrades. 

In their 2021 Outdoor Living Trends, asked experts in the home construction industry to reveal how homeowners are choosing to use their exterior spaces these days. While the backyard was considered a separate space in the past, it’s no surprise that over the past 18 months, people have started to look at their outdoor spaces differently. Nearly 50% of residential outdoor spaces are now being adapted for year-round use.

Below are a few suggestions on how to blend and enhance any home’s interior and exterior living areas so they can be enjoyed regardless of the season.

Add a new patio door to create a seamless transition.

What many used to refer to as a “sliding glass door” is now a thing of the past. Those narrow pass-throughs have been replaced with large, collapsible, or bi-parting doors that allow homeowners to blend their indoor and outdoor living settings. Doing so extends social space, delivers a better view, and gives the perception of a more livable area. Find inspiration in these indoor/outdoor combinations shared by Bob Vila. There’s sure to be something that will spark an idea.

Transform the traditional deck into a personal retreat.

Decks have become the new “bonus room.” According to Deck Specialist homeowners want to use their deck year-round; they expect it reflects their personal style and coordinates with their landscape. The good news? There’s a range of options to make this happen. Simple seasonal enhancements like adding furnishings (for example, an outdoor rug, pillows, and blankets) make for an easy transition. More permanent updates such as installing low-voltage or solar lighting are smart upgrades that create a warm setting as the days get shorter and cozy evenings under the stars become the norm. 

In the same way, cable railing from RailFX is an ideal solution for any deck design and  easily complements an existing structure.

As one of the most visible deck elements, railings can elevate and complement an aesthetically pleasing deck and landscape. The trend toward the use of seamless, low-maintenance railing options that are easy to install will continue to gain momentum into next year. Simplified railing systems such as pre-assembled aluminum railing and intuitive cable railing save deck builders valuable time and effort on railing installation while offering a coveted sleek and modern look. ~ Deck Specialist

Heat things up by adding a fire feature.

Nothing says Fall quite like time spent by a fire. Incorporating a fire feature into creating an outdoor living space creates a welcoming attraction to any deck or patio. The most common features are stone fireplaces and metal fire pits. These days, there is a variety of gas and woodburning options to choose from to fit any budget. The experts at Forbes did their fire pit research and have shared a list of top picks to choose from.

railing with fire pit

Design a beautiful balcony.

Not every home has a backyard, but that doesn’t mean outdoor living is out of the question. A balcony can easily be reimagined to provide an ideal exterior oasis or an additional functional space. Natural materials and sleek, modern textures help to create an open, upscale setting. RailFX’s low-maintenance, durable aluminum cable railing system can provide a custom look with clean site lines that help to make a smaller space appear larger and enjoyable all year long.  

Interested in creating an outdoor living space and discovering additional outdoor living features homeowners are craving? Check out this article from our friends at Builder online.

elegant deck balcony

Complete and accurate measurements make all the difference

If you’ve installed cable railing for level runs, you’re familiar with setting and installing posts and running the cable through for a completed project. When it comes to stairs, it takes more planning to make sure you have the right measurements and materials.

We’ve compiled tips to consider from some of the most common mistakes we typically see when orders come through to our team of experts. If you have a tried-and-true tip you’ve discovered while installing RailFX on stairs, we’d like to hear about it. Contact us at

Tip: Include stairs in your project drawings

Example of incomplete stair measurement details.

stair pitch rendering

We often find the stair details are missing from drawings, and simple mistakes happen. We’ve detailed some top tips to set and install stair posts for the cable to have the proper tension.

It is important to note on the stairway runs; no two are alike. Once we receive an order at RailFX, more often than not, we may ask for additional information — pictures and measurements — when stairs are involved. In some cases, we may need to requote a project if there is new information or a difference in layout from the original takeoff.

Stairs are framed differently from project to project, and most drawings we receive (including CAD drawings) do not show the stair framing. This is why we encourage our customers to submit the entire drawings including stairs.

Tip: Proper measurement and angle ensure no setback

The first step to installing stair posts is to measure the stairs’ nose-to-nose distance and angle to determine the total number of posts beyond the top and bottom. Without the proper stair angle and accompanying drawings, the cable may not follow the angle properly, a significant setback to your project’s completion.

Please note, code rules a 6-inch sphere should not pass through the triangle gap formed between the stair riser, stair tread, and the bottom edge of the bottom rail. Always check with your local building codes before installing.

Tip: Anchor the top and bottom posts first

Once the spot for each post is determined (RailFX recommends maximum post spacing 5-feet on center*, including stairs), mark each post spot on the stair treads. Anchor the top post first, making sure it’s plumb. Leave the lower post and any other flexible for installing cables.

All of our posts are pre-drilled and slotted unless a customer requests a blank post. Our stair posts come with additional length due to the differences in the rise and run, and they may need minor adjustments (cutting a bit off the bottom) as the rise and run will vary per project. Intermediate posts are slotted to accommodate the different angles of stairs and so the cable can pass through without kinking.

Tip: One less cable when transitioning to stairs

Typically, on a level run with 36-inch-high rails and without bottom rail, you will use ten cables. When transitioning to the stairs, you’ll remove a cable (nine cables without the bottom rail) because RailFX stair systems are post-to-post top rail configurations. Conversely, if there is a bottom rail desired, eight cables are required for level runs and seven for the stairs.

In the case of 42-inch-high rails, the level run will use 12 cables without the bottom rail and 10 with a bottom rail. The stairs will be quoted at 36-inches for code compliance and the top three cables will terminate prior as you transition to the stair.

Tip: Determine your handrails

No matter which RailFX cable railing system our customers order, we recommend they order either the RFX100 or the RFX250 for the stair rail. Our adjustable over-the-post hardware, which sits on top of our predrilled intermediate slotted posts, allows the rail to run continuously from top to bottom and articulate to the rake and angle of the stairs.


For example, if a customer selects the RFX300 top rail with a stair section, we will quote the RFX100 elliptical stair rail. If a customer selects RFX200 or RFX400 with a stair section, we will quote the RFX250 square stair rail. However, if a customer prefers to use our 200, 300, or 400 systems, we will accommodate their wishes.


To achieve an ADA graspable handrail option, we can assist our
customers with a RFXADA grab rail to use along with our systems.


In this case, when using our 200, 300, and 400 over the post railings, the RFXADA sub rail will be installed sitting under the preferred over the post top rail. The install is more complicated and features two rails instead of our typical post to post one rail system.


Once all posts are Installed according to your stair rise and run, follow our cable installation instructions to ensure your cables are correctly spaced, tensioned, and finished.


At RailFX, we make it easy for you. Upload your drawings and provide details about your project using our online quoting system, and we’ll contact you with any questions or concerns.

*Always check with your local building code.

Our over the post stair rail.

Over the post stair with callouts

Our RFXADA grab rail used with our RailFX400 Top Rail.