Everything You Need For A Complete Skyline Cable Deck Railing

Cable railing doesn't have to be intimidating.

Too many homeowners have given up on the idea of gorgeous, modern cable railing because the specialized posts, fittings, and tensioners can feel overwhelming.

Enter Skyline Cable Railing: a cable setup made simple, so you can maximize your view without wading through an overwhelming sea of parts, pieces, tensioners, swages and more.

But don't just take our word for it. Check out this simple shopping checklist that breaks down the Skyline system into the easy parts and pieces you need to plan and install it. Skyline is perfect for anyone from a professional deck builder to a DIYer - and the system looks amazing on any deck!

A diagram showing the parts of a simple Skyline Cable Railing system

Check out the checklist below. For even more personalized planning help, give us a call at 1-888-824-5316, and we'd be happy to help you out!

A gorgeous Skyline cable railing on a deck near a modern screen porch

Why Skyline?

Learn why Skyline is such a game-changing cable railing system for DIYers in our video below:

Shop Skyline

Skyline Cable Shopping Checklist

Everything you need for standard level railings, stair railings, and traditional 90-degree corners.

More Planning Help

Some unique deck features might require additional parts. Follow the links for a supplemental checklist of items to add for your unique feature.

Planning Your Deck Project

A classy Skyline cable railing with a drink rail on a simple backyard deck

The first step in planning out your deck railing is to measure your deck space. It's helpful to draw out your deck's layout, measuring and labeling the lengths of each outside edge.

  1. Draw the layout of your deck
  2. Measure the lengths of each edge and label them
  3. Plan where your posts will go - Skyline cable railing can span up to 6 feet between posts
  4. At any 90-degree corners, plan for two posts. This will allow you to bend your cable run and continue it, without having to stop or start a new cable run.
  5. Fill in between the posts with rail kits, cables, and intermediate balusters, which are required every 3 feet for extra stability

Then count up the various types of posts and the various lengths of rail kits you'll need. Your shopping list will consist of:

  • Posts and post trim
  • Rail Kits
  • Cable infill
  • Intermediate baluster kits
  • Installation accessories

As always, we staff a team of experienced deck project planners to help you plan for all of your deck's unique features. Give us a call at 1-888-824-5316 or download and fill out our DecksDirect Project Planning Guide for totally personalized project planning!

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Step 1: Posts & Post Trim

Cable railing posts with the cable holes pre-drilled to save time

The backbone of the Skyline system are the sturdy aluminum posts that support the entire railing and each individual cable run. Skyline posts come with pre-drilled holes for each of the 11 cable runs for fast and easy installation.

The posts come as complete kits, including the skirt for the bottom of the post and the stylish, subtle post cap on top.

Shop Skyline Posts

To mount your post to your deck frame, use a 4-inch or longer structural screw, like these Pheinox RSS Rugged stainless steel screws from GRK Fasteners. They're compatible with wood, pressure-treated, composite and PVC decking.

You'll need at least 4 inches of blocking attached to your deck frame under each post to ensure a sturdy connection.

Use Pheinox RSS Rugged Stainless Steel Structural Screws to mount deck railing posts onto wood, pressure-treated, composite, or PVC decking

Step 2: Rail Kits

The contents of a Skyline Cable Rail Kit

The posts create the frame, and Skyline Rail Kits build the structure between them. Each post kit comes with a top rail, plus the brackets and hardware to attach that top rail to posts at both ends.

The Skyline system doesn't require a bottom rail. That's great for two reasons. First, it opens up your view. And second, it's one less piece you need to buy and install!

Shop Skyline Rail Kits

Skyline Rail Kits come specially made for either standard level sections

A level stretch of Skyline cable railing overlooking a lake

... or angled stair sections. The brackets for the stair section are designed to attach your rails at an angle, as shown below:

A set of deck stairs with cable railing extending down them

Step 3: Cable Infill

There are two more important pieces that fill in between the posts and rails.

The cable runs themselves come in complete kits that feature the stainless steel cable and all the fittings you need to attach it at both ends. You can choose a range of cable lengths from 5 feet to 70 feet so you can cover your space without wasting excess cable.

The contents of a Skyline Cable and Fitting Kit for cable railing
Shop Skyline Cable

To keep your cables from sagging at any point across your railing, the Skyline system uses intermediate balusters for support between your posts. Anytime you have a cable run longer than 3 feet between posts, use an intermediate baluster.

They also come in simple kits, including the baluster and brackets to attach it at both ends - the rail at the top and to the deck surface at the bottom.

An intermediate baluster for Skyline Cable Railing installed
Shop Intermediate Balusters

Step 4: Corner Kits

One common issue with other cable railings: 90-degree corners. Most systems don't allow cables to bend around a 90-degree corner, meaning you have to stop and start new cable runs at every corner. All those extra cables and fittings add up, ballooning your railing costs.

Not so with Skyline. The Skyline system has a unique corner solution: a specialized corner kit that includes a very short section of top rail and two 45-degree brackets. Combine this kit with two standard Skyline Posts, and you get a clean corner where your cable can bend at two 45-degree angles and continue right along to the next stretch of railing.

How to bend cable railing around corners: Skyline's cable corner kit provides a unique solution
Shop Corner Kits

The result is an elegant look that doesn't cut down on your view the way some cable railing systems do when using double posts at corners.

A deck stair landing with cable running around 90-degree corners

Step 5: Installation Tools

Everything included in a simple cable railing installation kit from DecksDirect

This simple Cable Rail Installation Kit includes all the tools you need to easily install cable railing. Among the tools included:

  • A cut-off wheel for cutting excess cable off the ends of your fittings
  • Several wrenches and Allen wrenches to twist the fittings and properly tension your cable
  • A cable gripper so you can pull the cable tight while installing
  • Two PL-Keys used to release your cables from the fittings. These are hugely important because if you make a mistake at any point, you can just release the cable and start again. Without the PL-Keys, you'd have to cut off the cable, waste the cable run, and start again.
Shop Install Tools

You'll also want to add a can of touch-up spray paint . Anytime you cut down a top rail or post to a smaller size, the cut ends will have some exposed aluminum without the powerful powder-coating. A small bit of touch-up paint will re-seal the aluminum to prevent corrosion.

Color and texture-matching touch-up spray paint for Skyline Cable Railing

The Touch-Up Paint also means that any scrapes, scuffs, or scratches sustained during installation can totally disappear. The specially-formulated touch-up paint is a perfect color and texture match for Skyline Railing, so your railing will shine like new.

Shop Touch-Up Paint

Supplementary Shopping Lists For Special Cases

If your deck has unique shapes or features, you may need to combine the shopping list at the top with one of these additional shopping lists.

What Do I Need For Angled Railing Connections?

What you'll need:

Not all decks are standard squares or rectangles. If you have angles that aren't 90 degrees (like the 45 degree angle on the left below), you can easily build your Skyline railing to match.

A Skyline cable railing that turns at a 45 degree angle without disrupting its clean continuous top rail

Just add a set of Swivel Brackets to your shopping list. The brackets are designed to attach your top rail to the posts at an angle of your choosing - any angle from 0 degrees to 45 degrees.

Specialized swivel brackets for Skyline cable railing

You'll also need some isolation bushings. These fit into the cable holes in your posts to prevent the cable from chafing on the aluminum post. That'll keep both your post and your cable looking great and holding strong for years to come.

Cable isolation bushings for Skyline Cable Railing

Can I Cut One Rail Kit Into Two Short Sections?

What you'll need:

If you need two short railing sections, you can save on materials by buying one longer rail section and cutting it into two smaller pieces you can use in two different places on your deck. Use a miter saw with a metal-cutting blade and coat the cut ends with touch-up paint.

A few things to keep in mind if you plan to cut a longer section down into two shorter sections:

You'll need an extra set of brackets. Each rail kit only comes with enough brackets to fit a single rail section. So if you're cutting one rail kit into two, you'll need to buy an extra set of rail brackets, as shown below:

A set of brackets for Skyline Cable Railing

Allow for some lost length during cutting. Make sure you buy a rail long enough to fit both your sections, plus a little extra. For example, you won't be able to buy a 6-foot section to cover two 3-foot sections - we'd recommend buying at least one extra foot. For example, buy a 6-foot rail section to cut down into two 2-1/2-foot rail sections.

Include touch-up paint to cover your cut ends. Skyline railing is powder-coated to protect from corrosion. When you cut a rail, you'll expose some of the underlying aluminum. Fortunately, a quick coating of touch-up paint will cover that surface and protect your railing from corroding in the elements.

What Do I Need For A Deck Board Drink Rail?

What you'll need:

A stretch of Skyline cable railing with a drink rail

One of Skyline's best features is how easy it is to add a deck board drink rail on top. The Drink Rail Adapter attaches securely to your top rail and you can mount the deck board of your choice for a totally custom look:

An innovative drink rail adapter that allows you to install the deck board of your choice on top of Skyline Cable Railing as a functional flat drink rail

You can use a deck board made of wood, composite, or PVC - just make sure you use a solid-bottomed board, not a scalloped bottom board. A board with a scalloped bottom won't fasten securely enough to the adapter to serve as a drink rail.

Free Planning Help

A wide shot of a beautiful home and porch with Skyline Cable Railing surrounding its deck

If you need help making sure you've got everything you need to complete your deck railing project, just give our team a call. We've got a staff of experienced deck project planners available by phone to help you get everything you need in one order - no over-buying or needing to come back for a second order.

Call Us: 1-888-824-5316

Learn more about the basics of deck framing and building in our Deck Framing Guide and learn deck parts and terminology in the DecksDirect Glossary of Deck Terms and Lingo.

Browse more deck design and railing style notes to upgrade your backyard space and deck in the DecksDirect Railing Style Guide: the quickest way to learn if your home is more suited for a classic aluminum deck railing or a showstopping cable rail setup.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new project, a deck update, or a style refresh, give our deck project planners a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our experienced team will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for an awesome deck completely personalized to your needs!