Hi, I’m Scott and I’m going to be installing some cable railing here, and the cable railing is made by AGS stainless incorporated on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
They’re sponsoring this video and we’re going to go ahead and show you how to install it, and we’re going to take a little tour to get an overview of how this rail is made, how your orders processed and just so you could see how it goes.
“I’m here with Doug at AGS Stainless and Doug is an estimator and he is going to tell us what he does for the customer when the customer calls.”
“First thing we do is ask them where they need their cable railing And if they can send us a drawing, a simple hand-drawn sketch. They can either email or fax it to us. Or if it’s something simple that we could discuss over the phone, something of this nature, where I can write down the dimensions. Then we figure out all the components needed for that particular project and e-mail the estimate back to the customer.”
“Okay, great. After you make the estimate and the customer receives it, then what happens next?”
“We follow up with the customer to make sure they received it. And if they placed the order, we get the information from them for their credit card and the signed paperwork. And we send that off to the detailer.”
“Okay, well, I’m gonna go into detailing now and ask them what they do for us. All right, well, thank you, Doug.”
“All right. Okay. This is Cody and he is a detailer. And that means he draws stuff and he’s using auto CAD* here. So he’s gonna draw my railing. And, Cody, when a customer is done in estimating and Doug or Brandon hands them off to you, what do you do for the customers?”
“What I do for the customer is take their dimensions and put it into our program, lay out our posts based on their dimensions that they give us. Once I’ve done that, I’ll send the customer an e-mail with a drawing with their post placements. And when they verify that it’s all correct, they send it back signed. Then I push it through to get reviewed.”
“Okay. And once it’s reviewed what’s, what happens next? Are you done with the customer then?”
“After that, once I have finished that, I’m done with the customer and it will be pushed through to get fabricated and then, it leaves a shop here and goes to you.”
“Okay. Okay. So I guess i’m going to head out to the shop and see how they put this stuff together for me.”
“Alright. Have fun. It’s nice meeting you.”
“Hi. I’m Ryan. The first thing that we do from detailing is we’ll bring them over to cutting. We’ll cut the post all down to length and we’ll load ’em up into the CNC to get all their holes drilled into them. And I’ll bring ’em off the welding. At welding. we’ll weld on the two hole top* and we’ll weld on the base cap. And different kinds of post too, we’ll weld on a base plate or round top, depending on what you request. And from the welding station will bring them over to cleaning here, which we’ll take our Scotch Brite and our, and our cleaning stick here. We’ll just polish the base plate and we’ll go up to the top, we’ll polish this part also and polish the whole post, make it look all good. And then we’ll bring it over to our packaging station, where we’ll put it in poly tube and put bubble wrap around either end of the post. And then we’ll package them up in a box and send them out to you.”
“There you go. Have a good one!”
Ok, that’s the top rail, that’s what you grab onto with your hand. Here are the instructions. The actual cables and two posts with extra fittings and the other stuff.
All right, here we go. We’re going on un-package this main bundle right now. And the last thing we deal with is the cable. So, I’m going to leave them in the package for now, to keep them together. But I’m going to do what men don’t traditionally do, I’m gonna open the instruction sheet first. There’s also packing slip in here, so I’m gonna double check this bundle when I get it. I guess I could count these. I’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Seven of those. Unless, I’m counting wrong. And it says cable option to bend. There should be nine. So what do we got here? They only got one end on them. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. There we go, okay, nine. Only one ends on there.
And then I got one top rail. So, that’s good. Be careful not to actually cut into your posts. Don’t scratch the post with your knife, even though it’s stainless steel and stainless steel is durable and strong, a metal tool against the metal tool…you’re just asking for damage. So better safe than sorry. Oh, this thing is messed up.
Okay. It’s bonding agent and…I got one bonding agent. They got a kit, that’s a cleaning and passivating kit. You got that.
Got one package of cable fittings. Nine pieces. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
They’ve got a hardware bag, and they call out probably every piece in there, right? Eighteen of each. They got some redhead, stainless steel anchor bolts and the different nuts.
They got the crimper tool and the cutters.
Okay, and then we’ve got two rail… posts here. So, got a top one and bottom one. Okay, that’s that. All right, here’s our two posts. Again, do everything you can not to scratch because you’ll see it later, right? Or your wife will, right? One of the two. Somebody will see it. In our family’s case, it would be me. I’d see it, I’d complain “look, you scratched it!” That’s one of the good things, this is a complete kit and they, AGS looks ahead for you. One of the things you get in the kit is this passivating kit and there’s also a piece of scotch bright in here, right here. So, if you do scratch it, you can work out the scratch and bring it back to looking like it came from AGS. Okay, well, everything’s here, our inventory is complete. Look at that. They take good care to package it. So, we’re ready to start the install.
Okay, We’re going to talk about drilling your holes for your anchor bolts and I recommend using a longer bit. If you don’t own a bit already, it’s even better to go buy a longer bit, it’s a few dollars more, but long term they just work out better. They’re more useful and that’s part of the reason. The other part of the reason is it allows you to get less of an angle when you use a longer bit you can get closer here when you’re drilling the shorter bit will force you away because of the size of the body of the drill. Now, my drill motor has a really narrow body, so it wouldn’t be as critical with me. But if you have a big, if the body of your drill motor is fat, it forces you away from the post and this just let you get a straighter, a straighter hole.
And what you need to do is set your depth on the hole and I like to go deeper than the hole. Deeper than the length of the fastener…and because I don’t have to clean the powder out of the hole, it just goes to bottom of the hole. And then, when you know your depth, it’s easier to use a piece of tape than the depth gauge that comes with the drill, the depth gauge may not land in the right spot. In this case, it may land over here, and it’s just, piece of tape is easier. Okay, so you want to drill one hole, you’ve got to start somewhere. Okay, this guy can stay right here.
With these bolts because they won’t go through these holes, the anchor bolts won’t fit through this hole to pound in. You can’t pound them in, so, you have to put one in and then start to tighten it up and then drill one other hole after straightening this up, to get it all straight like you want it. Then you put another one in. Do it again. You have to take it off, put it on, tighten these two up to hold it still and pilot these, get them going and then take it back off, drill them, put the last few in. But you want to make sure that this is square before you drill your second hole because that gives everything, everything’s going to be in reference to where that is. One of the tricks you can do to protect the finish on the posts is you can put some tape over the over the face of the wrench. If you’re doing these ones here on the cables, you might do that to protect the finish here. In this case, there’s a washer. So the washer does that work.
And you can see the post isn’t square now. We’re going to square it up later. But I’m going to start tightening this guy up a little bit, till he’s snug. And I’m gonna end up taking it back off after I drill the holes here. So, we’re going to call that good for now. Now, loosen it back up. What we’re going to now, is kind of get the post parallel to where it goes this way and you can do it kind of by eye. You have a little bit of movement. I do this good. It wouldn’t hurt to get the other post in if you’re not confident. Get the other post in with one hole, make sure you put it where it’s supposed to be and then, put a straight edge between the two of them to get them this way. It’s this way. It’s not this way you’re worried about right now, it’s this way. So, I’m confident in my skills that that’s going to be good right there. Okay. So, Jason, come here and hold this, would you?
So, I’m going to drill the second hole. Always when you’re drilling holes, when you want something to be straight, it’s always best to go the furthest the distance apart, so the kitty corner hole is the best told the drill next.
So, we’re going to start this other hole. Okay, when you put your fastener in, you’re gonna put your fastener in until it’s in far enough that it will grab. You don’t need to put the nut in the bolt on here if you’re careful when you pound it in….or the washer and the nut on here. And it will go down in there, just be careful..these last few strokes, this is where you could lose your fastener. So, I want it to be just deep enough so that I get a nut on here. I’m kind of a little…maybe anal-retentive on this stuff.Okay, that’s where I want it. First few threads, make sure we’re tightening.
Okay, we’re gonna put the post back on. Okay, all right. We’re going to go ahead and drill these holes here, and at this point, we had to put the, because the spacing on this post is kind of dependent upon the handrail. We’ve stuck the handrail in there and made sure that it’s pretty much square when we start to drill. So, I’m going to go ahead and mark this hole right here. If you go too deep you won’t be able to use this bolt. So I’ve got, like, three threads on there. That’s good enough to start. I need to bring it up so it’s above this so you can put that bolt in. Okay, put it back on the bolt. Okay, again, you want to check all your square. So you’re going to have hold that for me, that way.
Drill the kitty corner hole. Because this is kind of locked in with the top handrail, I’m going to go ahead and start these other holes. Alright, we’re going to take it off and put the…. put the lock anchor bolts in the other holes. Okay, you want to pound these in and don’t go too deep again. Make sure you leave at least about three threads to grab with a nut.
Okay, what we’re gonna do is, we’re gonna glue this part in and use this little piece of cord here to clamp it. And then we’re going to put the cables in. So, okay, hold this. And we have to, before we can tighten these all the way down, we have to actually do it before we can tighten down the anchor bolts. So, it’s nice not to get this stuff on you can help it. There’s no way to do this elegantly so. And it wants to get everywhere. Okay. Alright. Okay, you want to get it on here and give it a little bit of a turn and kind of spread it around. I have kind of made this into a little clamp here. So…can you get down here? Okay, so, I did here was I made a clamp and a loop and that can come down here and that can put a good deal of strain on it like that. Yeah, we’ll want to come back… as soon as I get the first cable in. I’m going to use the first cable to take the place of this, and then I’ll take this off and wipe it. The stuff that’s oozing out, you want to wipe it off as soon as you can using acetone. It’s about the best thing for this job.
Okay, so what we’re going to do is put the first piece of cable in there. Okay, so now we’re going to take this cable and we’re going to use the first cable. I’m actually put in the second hole. Use the first cable to replace this as my clamp. So, put it through the hole here, get regular nut on there. And then you want to go ahead and put a castle nut on there or an acorn nut on there to lock it in place so it doesn’t come loose where you’re doing the rest of it.
Okay, then we’re gonna come down here and we’re going to cut the cable to length. And we’re going to cut back three-eighths of an inch from the post here, which is just shy of half an inch aligned up with where the hole goes.
Okay, now we’ve cut it. What we’re gonna do is go ahead and crimp the fitting on here. If you slide the fitting end you’ll see it goes in about an inch and a half or so, and you want to put two crimps about a half an inch apart. So, if you come to here. You gotta make sure you get the cable it all the way in the bottom of the hole and then go about a half inch up. Okay, that’s it, it’s crimped.
Okay, then you’re take it, your lock nut and your castle nut and put it in your holes here. Now we’re gonna take it seven sixteenth inch wrench and we’re going to take a pair of vise grips here and kind of hold on to this a little bit. I’m gonna try not to grab it too hard because I don’t like leaving marks on stuff. So, we’re going to tighten it up, you’re going to do that on both sides to get kind of even pull. And then, you’re gonna lock the lock nut against the, or the acorn nut against the regular nut. Okay, then we’re going to do that again and again. But right now, we’re going to take off this.
Our cable now is doing the job that this temporary clamp rope was doing. And at this point, I really want to wipe off the excess bonding agent before it cures too much. Okay, I’m not going to put the rest of cables on, what I’m gonna do is level this post, and this isn’t really what you would normally do for the rest of a cable installation…. because it’s on the stairs and because I had to have this piece in before I leveled this post, I had to do it in this order. You… on a regular, on a top mount, you can level all the posts before you make the final attachments, but I can’t do that.
So to level the post, you’re going to use the nuts here. I’m level that way. Okay, and I’m not quite level that way. So, basically, you tighten the side, that the bubble is not in the middle toward, and it will pull you to the center so… now it’s perfect. So is that way. Okay, so basically, it’s leveled. I’m gonna go back and put the rest of the cables in. So, I’m actually I’m going to take this all down more.
All right, we’ve got the cable in and we’ll clean that off in a while. See what that is…just some gunk. We’ll clean all that off in a while. We’ll go ahead and put the rest of the cables in and probably speed this up time-lapse. Make sure you get all the bonding agent off because it’s a bear to get off later. It works really good. So, okay, so we’re gonna put the rest of the cables in.
So, I’m gonna go back and tension the cables evenly and put the lock nuts on there. So, they get enough threads here to do that. Alright, so, we’re in the final state. We’re going to go ahead and put the tension on these that we like. You can actually bow your posts in a little bit, there’s a lot of pull here. So just snug is good… and you’ll find if you start snugging, it’s going to chase you up and down the posts, they don’t over tighten. As I tighten, one another one becomes loose. Okay, we’re just about there.
Okay. Alright, now once that’s done, you want to get the acorn nuts up against the bottom nuts, and you want to lock them together. So you hold the bottom nut stationary and tighten the acorn nut against it. You’re locking them together. This is what keeps the whole thing from coming apart, okay,is this final tightening of the acorn nut, you’re locking them together. Okay, I’m going to the same thing on the other end and once the cables are all good, then we’re gonna move on to the next step.
This is the passivating kit, and it has a piece of scotch bright in it. If you have any scratches or something in here, this stuff will take it out. What you want to do is go the same exact direction that you already see and try and go straight lines. If you have to do it on the handrail or this top piece to go around. A lot of times, you have to go around this way to get this right and then come back in here with just an edge, and get this little spot right here so your lines…. if you want to be that accurate. So, that’s basically it. You got everything you need.
Yeah, you probably should passivate it. There’s a bottle of passivating cleaner here so you clean and passivate it at the same time. And that helps it not to helps… “corrosion resistant steel” is the proper term for stainless steel, it’s corrosion resistance. That doesn’t mean it won’t corrode if you care for it properly. It’s last you a long time. It’s less likely to corrode and proper maintenance is great. If you use, so you can use a good quality car wax on here, it will protect the finish. If you leave water marks on here for a long time, you can again, use the scotch bright and get rid of the watermarks. Okay, just make sure that you go the same direction as the as the grain that’s already on the product. And that’s it, it’s pretty easy to install.
Stairway is harder than the rest of it. A straight cable is really easy compared to the rest, but it’s all relatively easy, looks great. The joints are perfect, both top and bottom angles. Perfect. What more could you ask?
…in this video
Summary: Installing a Cable Railing System on Concrete Steps
29 Easy Steps for Installing a Cable Railing System on Cement Stairs from Start to Finish (Long Version)
- Utility Knife
- Bonding Agent
- 7/16 Inch Wrench
- AGS Extra Long 7/16 Inch Drill Bit
- AGS Stainless Steel Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
- AGS Cable Cutters
- AGS Cable Crimpers
- Take Inventory of Your Railing System Parts
Taking inventory of railing system parts in their packaging before beginning your installation is important to reduce waste and inefficiency. Just imagine how disappointed you would be if you spent hours putting together a railing system only to find out that all of the parts weren't there. If you are hiring other people for your installation, then you would have had to finish it yourself or pay them to come back a second time to finish the job. At AGS Stainless, we understand the impacts of rising labor costs on the job site and do our best to make sure that doesn't happen. However, if you do lose a part or see that one is missing, then you can contact us at (888) 842-9492 to get a replacement shipped to you immediately.
- Carefully Cut Through the Packaging with a Knife and Take Out the Pieces
Why Should I Be Careful When Cutting Through the Packaging?
Being careful while cutting through the packaging will prevent you from scratching the railing system parts with your knife. Stainless steel is a very durable material, but a metal tool can leave scratches that might mar the beautiful, brushed finish. If you accidentally scratch the brushed finish, you can bring it back to normal by working out the scratch with the pad that is included in the Stainless Steel Cleaning and Maintenance Kit from AGS Stainless.
- Put an Extra-Long 7/16 Inch Bit on Your Drill
An extra-long drill bit can be attached to a drill for the purpose of creating deep holes. Extra-long drill bits have more applications than short bits and are easier to keep level while drilling holes. As shorter drill bits spin, they will be more likely to push your drill away from posts. In addition, they might force you to hold your drill at an angle. For straighter bolts, you will need an extra long 7/16" drill bit from AGS Stainless. If you are comparing metal drill bits, then you should know that stainless steel drill bits are preferred since they are affordable and resist corrosion. You should also be aware that there are several drill bit sizes and types. For example, the type of drill bit for wood is very different from a drill bit for metal. AGS Stainless supplies an extra-long 3/16" x 12" drill bit since creating deep holes in cement requires a large drill bit that is much longer than a regular drill bit. If you don't install and secure your drill bit properly, it could fall out of the drill and damage your stainless steel posts.
- Put a Piece of Tape on Your Drill Bit to Mark the Depths of the Pilot Holes for Placing Your Posts
A pilot hole is a hole that is drilled for the insertion of concrete anchor bolts. If you don't measure the pilot hole depth, then the concrete anchor bolts for securing your posts won't go all the way down. You will need to clean powder out of the holes if you drill deeper than the lengths of the concrete anchor bolts.
- Create a Level Pilot Hole By Running Your Drill Through the First Hole in a Metal Post Base Plate
A steel base plate is a flat piece of metal that is attached to the bottom of your post. CLEARVIEW railing systems from AGS Stainless feature square base plates with four holes because that is the most popular base plate design.
- Pound in the First Concrete Anchor Bolt with a Hammer
Any future holes will need to line up with the holes on the base plate whose position will be determined by the location of the first hole.
- Use a Level to Make Sure That the Base Plate is Square and Parallel to the Steps
If your posts aren't square, then your railing system could become slanted or warped.
- Create a Second Pilot Hole By Running Your Drill Through the Base Plate Hole That is Diagonally Opposite the First Pilot Hole
You should do this because it is the best way to ensure that your post stays straight.
- Pound in the Second Concrete Anchor Bolt with a Hammer
The ends of concrete anchor bolts need to be exposed for attaching the base plate. If you make a mistake, anchor bolts are very difficult to remove because they expand inside the concrete.
- Put the Base Plate on the Expose Concrete Anchor Bolts
You will need to stick the exposed concrete anchor bolts through the holes in the base plate.
- Step 11: Repeat Steps 5-10 on the Base Plates for Each Post
- Step 12: Repeat Steps 5-10 for the Remaining Holes in Each Base Plate
- Squeeze the Trigger on the Tool to Apply the Bonding Agent Along the Inside End of the Hollow Top Rail
A bonding agent is an adhesive that hardens for attaching the top rail to the posts.
- Connect the Top Rail By Sticking the Welded Top of the Post Inside the End with the Bonding Agent
Twisting the post a little bit will do this for you.
- Use the String to Temporarily Clamp the Posts by Tying a Trucker's Hitch Knot or a Similar Knot
The trucker's hitch knot is recommended for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) installations where you don't have other people to help you maintain the tension.
- Use Acetone to Wipe Off Any Excess Bonding Agent
Acetone is a solvent that can be used to dissolve adhesives.
- Use the Wrench to Screw Jam Nuts onto the Concrete Anchor Bolts That Are Sticking Through the Holes in the Base Plates
Remember that you will still need to attach the base plate eventually.
- Put the End of the Cable into the Fitting and Use Steel Cable Crimpers to Crimp the Slots 1/2 of an Inch Apart
AGS cable crimpers match the size of the slots on the fitting.
- Slide the Cable with the Fitting on It Through the Hole in the Post
You can pull the exposed part of the cable fitting out the other side of the post if necessary.
- Put a Jam Nut on the Exposed Fitting to Secure the Cable
A stainless steel jam nut looks like a hex with a circle through the middle.
- Pull the Cable Toward the Other Post and Line It Up 3/8 of an Inch Behind the Hole
The cable must be this long to fit inside the fitting.
- Cut the Cable with Steel Cable Cutters
AGS cable cutters were specifically designed for cutting 1/8 inch cables.
- Repeat Steps 19-21 for the Other End of the Cable
- Use a Level After Installing the First Cable to Make Sure That the Posts Are Still Plumb
You can tighten or loosen the nuts on the concrete anchors, which are sticking through the base plates, to make the posts plumb.
- Repeat Steps 19-25 Until All of the Cables Have Been Installed
- Clamp the Cables to Release Slack and Tighten the Jam Nuts Even More with a Wrench
Clamping too hard could leave marks on the cables.
- Put Acorn Nuts on Top of the Jam Nuts and Lock the Nuts Against Each Other
A stainless steel acorn nut looks like an acorn with a circle through the middle. To lock the nuts together, hold the jam nut stationary and tighten the acorn nut against it with a wrench. If the acorn nut and the jam nut are not locked, your cable railing system could fall apart because locking the nuts is what keeps it together.
- Tension Jam Nuts and Acorn Nuts with a 7/16 Inch Wrench Until the Cables Are Barely Taught
If you apply too much torque to the nuts, the combined force of all the cable can bend or deform your posts. Even these few, small cables are capable of applying many tons of force to the posts. Do not overtighten.
- Clean the Railing System with a Non-Abrasive Pad, a Passivation Solution, and a Cleaning Solution
AGS Stainless recommends using a non-abrasive cleaning pad that is included in a Stainless Steel Cleaning & Maintenance Kit since it won't leave scratches on your railing systems like steel wool or steel brushes would. You will receive acetone, a cleaning pad, and an instruction booklet that covers how to clean CLEARVIEW railing systems. You can clean posts by rubbing the cleaning pad in the direction of the brushed finished. Cleaning top rails involves rubbing the cleaning pad around in a circular motion. In order to maintain your steel railing system in the long term, you will need to apply a passivation solution to it on a periodic basis to recondition the surface and remove water spots. This passivation solution is included in the Stainless Steel Cleaning & Maintenance Kit by AGS Stainless. Proper care and maintenance procedures can prevent the significant occurrence of damaging rust or corrosion. If you just want to make your stainless steel railing system shine for a short period of time while entertaining guests, you can apply the cleaner solution to it as needed. This stainless steel cleaner by AGS Stainless can be purchased separately. To remove water spots from a stainless steel railing, dry off the surface of your railing system. Put some passivation solution on a rag, or the non-abrasive cleaning pad, and apply it to the surface. You should wait 15-30 minutes for the cleaner to penetrate the surface. Then follow the proper techniques to clean spots off stainless steel. After that, you can rinse the railing system with clean water to remove chlorides, which cause rust, from the surface.