DIY Cable Railing On Front Porch and Deck

Installing DIY cable railing to a home’s exteriors has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. It’s a great way to add an updated touch to decks and porches while saving money at the same time.

front porch of my home when shrubs were in place
BEFORE: HOUSE EXTERIOR & PORCH

The front exterior of my house has a modern look with ornate double front doors and angled roof lines. With all the affordable updates we have made to the exterior, we have kept this modern vibe in mind.

front entry of a 1970's ranch home that is getting a budget modern makeover
BEFORE DIY CABLE RAILING

Over the years, we had the exterior of the House Painted a khaki color, added a Slat Wall to the front with Modern House Address Numbers.

Schlage-bronze-exterior-door-handles

We also stained the slat wall to match the front doors and garage door that I Painted Both to Look Like Wood Grain. The other modern touch that was added was a Corten Steel Planter, placed on the far side of the garage door.

We knew that cable railing was the way to go to stay with the modern vibe when we removed the shrubs in front of the porch a few years ago. We not only needed a railing for a modern, minimalist look, but more importantly for safety.

slat wall on exterior on house

I didn’t want to have anyone fall off the porch, especially the delivery people who run up the steps, drop off a package and quickly turn around to leave with nothing for them to grab in their haste. My goal was to provide a safe and secure barrier.

brick porch railing posts being installed
Railing Posts Mounted Off Brick Porch Floor

We also had to figure out a way to install the railing since we were not putting the railing on a wood deck, but onto an entry porch made of brick. With a wood deck you can easily secure the posts with mounting plates and screws.

With a brick floor, drilling the holes needed to mount any ready-made cable kit posts would have damaged the brick and loosened the mortar, which we want to keep in good shape.

How We Attached the Posts to The Brick

The posts are not attached at all to the brick. What we did was install four – 2 x 4’s along the porch right up against the side of the porch. The holes in the ground for these was 24 ” so they would be solid and secure.

Next we added a shorter 2 x 4 to the inside of each post with wood screws that we counter-sinked and covered with wood filler. Then we filled the joints between the 2 x 4’s so the posts would look like more substantial 4 x 4’s.

With so many cable railing kits, systems and types of cable railing I had to do a lot of research to figure out what type would be best for our needs.

If you are not familiar with cable railing, the openness of the cables, allows you to see straight through with nothing to block a view. For my home’s contemporary design and large glass sidelights on each side of the front door, this was important.

brick front porch railing being stained before cable railing sections added.

After watching a lot of YouTube cable railing videos and drawing sketches of railings with metal posts as well as wooden posts, we decided to go with the Deck Man Cable Railing System components bought on Amazon. The system allows you to pick and choose just the components in the amounts you need.

Going with this railing installation system saved us money vs. buying a costly kit from the bigger brand name cable railing companies.

AFTER: Front Porch With Cable Railing

Completed DIY cable railing on a brick front porch of a home.
Cable Railing on a Front Porch

On the front porch, we created a wood railing with wood that we stained to coordinate with the other exterior elements.

brick front porch railing being stained before cable railing sections added.

I stained the wood using Behr Semi-Transparent stain in the color Chestnut.

brick front porch railing being stained before cable railing sections added.

We added a copper cap to the two bottom posts and spaced the cables 3″ apart.

cable railing installed on existing wood railing

We also added the cable to the upper existing deck posts and railing that only had one cross bar on the lake side of the house. We spaced the cables at 3-1/2″ apart on this deck to keep the spacing even with the wood cross bar.

DIY Cable Railing Step-By-Step Tutorial

With the Deck Man cable railing system, we opted to treat each section on the railing as a whole. We completed one section between wood posts at a time and then moved to another section.

We did it this way to keep each section of cable tension taut and not loosen over time. Installation would have been faster if we ran one one long piece of cable to thread through all the middle posts of the railing using the protective sleeves that are part of the Deck Man cable deck railing system.

Deck Man Left&Right Handed Thread lag Screws for 1/8" Decking Cable Railing Kit/Hardware,Non-Turnbuckle System

Tools & Supplies Needed:

Time needed: 12 hours

How to Cable Deck Railing DIY Installation

  1. Cable Railing Spacing – Make a Cable Spacing Template


    Figure out how many cables you want on your railing. Make sure you know the deck railing spacing code requirements in your town or municipality. Most are between 3″ – 4″. We placed the cables on the deck 3-1/2″ apart. On the front porch, we went with 3″ spacing as it fit the gap better.

    Note: To get equal spacing for your railing, you may have to make one of the spaces larger or smaller. This will be least obvious on the top or bottom section. We needed to do this on the deck railing and made the bottom cable to the deck slightly larger than 3-1/2″ so all the other cables could be equally apart.

    cable railing spacing template being held in place to drill holes at the right spacing. You can also use a clamp to hold it.

  2. Drill Holes in Posts


    To use the template, clamp it or hold it in line with a a deck post, then use the drill in the template holes to make the holes in the post. The template will help but focus on keeping the drill perpendicular so the swag screws will also be perpendicular.

    Repeat this step on all posts.

    drilling the holes into the post with wood hole template that you make for spacing.

  3. Place Cables Into Lag Screws


    Working one section at a time, measure the distance between the posts to determine how long the cables for that section between posts needs to be. Reduce the distance measured between the posts by 1-1/2″ to accommodate the swag screws, which are not fully inserted into the wood.

    Deck Man cable railing screw with cable attached into wood deck post.

  4. Cut the Cable


    Using the heavy-duty wire cutter that comes with the cable, cut the first cable to the length needed.

    cutting the cable railing wire with wire cutters.

  5. Crimp


    Crimp and install the first cable for each section to make sure the length is right. Then cut and crimp the rest of the cables needed for the section.

    We found the crimping the hardest part of installing the cable system. Either we had a defective crimper or our hand strength is not what any of the videos and blog posts we viewed showed. They made it look like a simple squeeze of the crimper was all it took. We did find one video with two contractors who had the same problem.

    This is the reason we didn’t place all the lag screw in the holes and crimp the wire in place.

    Using the cable railing crimper on a saw horse to help with leverage until you get the hang of using the crimper.

  6. Tighten Each Cable


    Using the screw turning tool that comes with the lag screws or a pair of locking pliers. For each length of cable, you will have a right hand and left hand screw. That means that the screws have to be turn in opposite direction.

    If you remember the catch phrase, “Righty, tighty and Lefty, loosey”, it won’t work. Some what coincidentally, you will turn the tool towards you on both sides but that leans you’re turning the right side clockwise and the left side counter clockwise.

    This may sound confusing but will make sense as soon as you get started, especially if you do it wrong and the cable gets all twisted.

    Deck Man cable railing system screws being turned into a wood post.

  7. Repeat the Process


    For each section between deck or porch railing posts, repeat the step-by-step process until you have all the sections filled with the cables.

    close up of Deck Man deck railing completed on a wood deck railing to update it.

  8. Installing Cable on a Stair Railing


    When installing the cables for a railing that is on the side of stairs, the installation process is the same, except when you drill the holes at a 30 degree angle so the lag screws will go in on an angle. The angle may vary depending on your steps so just ensure you are parallel with the railing cap.

    To make it easy, create a cable spacing template and when you drill the holes into it, make sure you angle the drill bit at a 30 degree angle (or whatever your steps require).

    How to install DIY cable railing along a staircase railing.

brick front porch railing being stained before cable railing sections added.
Stairs with cable railing.

We are very happy with how the railing came out and looks with the rest of the house.

DIY cable railing installed on existing wood railing
Cable Railing on a Deck

The upper deck railing also came out just as nice.

If you are a homeowner considering adding a cable railing to an area around your home or even inside your home and want to save money consider DIY’ing to save money and getting the look you want.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section of this post.

DIY Cable Railing FAQ’s

What is the Best Cable Railing System?


This will depend on the style of cable rail you want as well as your budget. Cable railing fittings can vary in cost and style. Do you want metal or wood posts? Do you want to use a cable railing kit or go the DIY route to save money?

Cable Railing Costs


Cable railing systems can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It is important to set a budget before you start shopping.

The cost to complete the porch railing for the wood, cable and hardware needed was about $500. The cost of doing the deck was about the same as we didn’t need to buy wood, but needed more cable wire and hardware for the length of the deck.

Pros & Cons of Cable Railing


Pros: Open view and clean-lined look.
Cons: Problems with cable railing is that over time the wire cabling can lose its tension and become slack or loose. It may need tightening.

How to Tighten Cable Railing


Most cable railing kits or systems like we used come with a tool to tighten the screws when needed. You can also use a pair of locking pliers. When tightening remember you need to turn the right and left sides in different directions.

Budget DIY Cable railing. Photo shows a brick entry with cable railing installed.

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65 Comments

  1. That is FANTASTIC! What an upgrade! It looks like it was always there! It adds so much to the house. Love it. Good job

  2. Wow Looks great!!!
    It looks like it was done just for this home. I like that it does not detract from the front door and blends right in.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pam – Thanks. :-)

      1. Looks great!! It fits the style of your house perfectly! Bravo for doing it yourselves. It looks professionally done! Y’all are a good team.

  3. susan martin says:

    This is SOOO nice! Love it!

  4. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Outstanding results! Perfect design style and professional execution. I am also impressed with your hydrangea bushes. They are exquisite! Any special tips for those? :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Becky – I love hydrangeas and have had good and bad luck with some. I think the reason the 3 in front of my house do so well is that they get sun all morning. The rest of the day they are in the shade. The other good thing in their placement is that there are 3 lawn sprinklers under them that go off every other day in the early morning for about 15 minutes. The other hydrangeas in my yard bloom, but not like the front ones. So I think it is morning sun and water. :-)

  5. This looks amazing! What a perfect update.

  6. I love it! It goes so well with the style of your exterior.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Susan – :-)

  7. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Diane it really looks great and goes with the style of your home. Good that you could add the cable railing to another area and coordinate the look.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary Ann – Thanks :-) If building a new house it would not be a modern style. But since it is what I have to work with, I have tried to find affordable ways to accent the modern lines and make the most of it.

  8. You chose a beautiful and safe railing system for your front porch, as well as your back decks. And you added the perfect finishing touches with the stain color and copper cap. The pop of pink hydrangeas really enhances the curb appeal. You guys did great!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Deanna – It was nice that when we finished the railing on the front that the hydrangeas were in bloom.

  9. That is very attractive and really complements your home!! Great info on the how to and where to buy too.
    I know that was time consuming, but what a great look!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Lynn :-)

  10. Looks great, Diane! You guys did a terrific job. I love the way you’ve tied the front and back railings together in this way. While I may never do this project myself, I love that you provided this comprehensive tutorial. I saved the post from when you painted your countertops because you are so thorough with your directions. Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bettsi – Thank you. At first we were just going to do the front porch, but then realized adding the cables would enclose the upper deck railing and give that side of the house an update. It came out better than I planned. If you do ever do it or paint your countertops and have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. XO

  11. GREAT job Diane! It looks terrific and really updates your front porch!

    1. Great tutorial! The two of you amaze me with your talents😊. I love how transparent the railings appear. The beauty of your home still shines through.

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi June – Thank you. This project took more time in the planning stages. The actual work went pretty quickly once we got the hang of working with the cable. We both build the wood frame for the railing. Ed did the cables and I did the staining as we each know what we are good at.

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Thanks :-)

  12. Great job on your new porch railings. The style you chose is perfect for your home. Those hydrangeas look stunning!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vikki – Thanks. It was perfect timing that when we finished the railing the hydrangeas were in bloom. They are a different color each year. I would love for them to be purple and am working on adding coffee grounds and Miracle Gro MirAcid to do it.

  13. Donna Marie says:

    The front porch looks really nice and just what the doctor ordered!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Donna Marie

  14. Michele M. says:

    YES!!!!! That looks perfect, Diane! WELL DONE!! Looks great.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Michele – I did a lot of research to figure out what would look the best for our budget and dealing with the brick floor. We are very happy with it. I need to take and add to the is post another photo from what the railing looks like when standing in the house and looking out. That view really makes me smile as the plain opening now has a bit of style.

  15. Looks FANTASTIC 🤩. I notice you used Behr stain, have you used previously? I’m looking for a good solid stain for fencing, hadn’t even thought of Behr. Thanks for any recommendations 😊

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathy – I have used a lot of Behr products and have been happy with all of them from paint to stain. We used the same stain and mixed it with another Behr color on the deck, gazebo and dock. They get a lot of sun and water and have held up well. You can read more about it in this post: https://bit.ly/3NvasP6

      1. Thank you so much Diane 😊. Your outdoor transformation is truly amazing 🤩 I also borrowed your idea of using faux flowers in my upper story window boxes😎

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Kathy – Thanks. :-) The deck boxes I have the faux flowers in are going on their 3rd summer. I did buy 2 more sprays of the flowers to each box to add a bit more fullness this year, but they still look great. I do bring them inside in the fall and store them in the attic. Once real flowers start showing up in the yard, I hang the boxes back up. Thanks for following my blog. XO

          1. Diane, I’ve Been following you since way back before you even thought of moving from your last home. So many wonderful and budget conscious ideas over the years! Thanks so much for all the inspiration and projects. So nice to follow someone whose diys don’t break the budget! 😍

  16. Susan Lindeman says:

    The railings (front & back) look wonderful! And such a beautiful, welcoming front porch to enjoy.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Susan :-)

  17. That looks amazing. I couldn’t imagine what sort of railing would work, and that is beautiful and modern on your front porch as well as your deck. You are always inspirational. I was looking at the door locks/handles on your front doors and they look just like the ones we installed on our California double doors a few years ago (we have since empty-nested and sold the house). I love those locks and am thinking I probably got the idea from you, as I have so many times!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Thank you. :-). The door handles are from Schlage in oil rubbed bronze. They added a nice look to the very ornate doors. I added them about a year after we moved into the house as the wood and the doorknobs on the doors were in awful shape. I am happy to know that my ideas over the years have inspired you. XO

  18. Anonymous says:

    looks wonderful!!!

  19. Caye Cooper says:

    What a lovely difference the railing made, Diane! Now everything is pulled together as a complete unit. Those ultra gorgeous Hydrangeas are just tooo beautiful. Good job! Good job!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Caye – Luck was on our side for photos having the hydrangeas bloom at the same time we finished the railing. :-)

  20. I love this! So modern and beautiful. My porch is like this and I need to add some handrails for safety. Great job!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Leisa – The planning of the railing took me a long time as I just wasn’t sure what would look OK with the house and the inset box of a porch. I am happy that I took our time to figure it out before just doing the first idea that came into my head.

  21. this is a beautiful choice. I see where you notched your posts to the brick, but how did you secure it to the brick, fasteners or industrial strength adhesive?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi rg – Good question. I didn’t mention how we created the railing so it wasn’t attached to the brick. The posts are not attached at all to the brick. What we did was install four – 2 x 4’s along the porch right up against the side of the porch. The holes in the ground for these was 24 ” so they would be solid and secure. Then we added a shorter 2 x 4 to the inside of each post with wood screws that we counter-sinked and covered with wood filler. Then we filled the joints between the 2 x 4’s so the posts would look more like more substantial 4 x 4’s. Let me know if you have any more questions about it. I will add this to the post.

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Again rg – In my reply to your question about how we attached the posts to the brick porch, I mistakenly wrote we installed 4. 4 x 4’s. That is wrong. We installed four 2 x 4’s.

  22. Barbara H. says:

    It looks great! Such an important improvement for safety while keeping things looking good.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Barbara – I was always worried about the safety of the porch with no railing and for the since removing the shrubs I placed two large baskets on the porch on each side of the steps just as a visual guide to steps. It was funny that the delivery people would sometimes put packages in the baskets. I am happy to put the baskets away now.

  23. Kelly Elko says:

    This looks amazing Diane! My friend did this on her deck and she paid a fortune! You are so smart to find an affordable solution!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kelly – Thanks XO There are so many ways to do the cable railing and some are very expensive with all the turn-buckles and more. I wanted affordable and not too hard to do.

  24. Anonymous says:

    That looks fantastic…added so much! And your hydrangeas are spectacular!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      It was nice that the hydrangeas bloomed just in time for the photo shoot of the completed railing. :-)

  25. christine wilson says:

    Just love everything about this cable railing addition to your home. Your project design guidance from beginning to end is invaluable!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Christine. This is nice to hear.

  26. Stunning! You always think outside the box.

  27. Sharon Caulineau says:

    You guys did an awesome job! That really sets the porch off perfectly. Really makes a statement. Be blessed, Sharon

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sharon. I am happy that I took my time to research what would look best with the house instead of just putting up a traditional railing.

  28. Absolutely fabulous. It adds so much to the house. Great job.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Linda.

  29. It looks fantastic! Good job Diane and Ed. 😊

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Barb :-)

  30. Your seeking a certain look for front entry totally has paid off! Gorgeous and practical! Every blog you share involves a lot of research, effort and thought on your part. So a special thank you, Diane. I wish we were neighbors and could go on jaunts to hunt for treasures.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      That is so nice to hear. Thanks for taking the time to tell me. It would be fun to go treasure hunting with readers. When I first started blogging back when I lived in PA, there was an event held two years in a row that was just that…readers getting together with bloggers to go thrifting. We spend the whole day doing it, met new people and enjoyed a dinner together.

      1. Great job on updating the look and safety of your home. Your hydrangeas are sooooooo beautiful!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Thank you Nancy :-). I planted the hydrangeas a few years ago and they have flourished. They also have bloomed a different color each year. I know this has to do with the ph of the soil. I am adding coffee-grinds to try to make the purple.