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Cable Railings for Saltwater Environments

Stainless steel cable railings are very popular, but if they’re not done right, then they can turn into a nightmare! At Edwards Ornamental, we will only sell custom cable railings that have been properly fabricated, Kynar 500 coated, and installed when dealing with a saltwater environment. Do not cut corners if you are near the ocean or Intracoastal waterways! When fabricated like this, we can offer up to a 20-year warranty on the frames. Here are some pointers:


Here you can see how to properly string railings after being Kynar 500 coated. We only use Feeney 316 grade stainless steel cables with composite isolation bushings in every hole. The isolation bushings are incredibly important as they protect against a dissimilar metal reaction between the stainless steel cables and the aluminum frames, which would lead to a failure in the Kynar coating. Believe it or not, the different size bushings cost around $1.20 each on average – so multiple that by 22 per post times however many posts you have with a post every 60″ or so. It adds up quickly! And it is a very common way for low cost competitors to sell a quick job that will have coating failures in a very short time.


This photo shows some venting holes drilled in the bottom of the frames and base plates necessary for the Kynar coating process. The frames are “internally vented” in other non-visible areas before being welded together for a cleaner look. The most important aspect of Kynar coating is the amorphous chromium phosphate pre-treatment process. During this process, the aluminum rails are lowered into a vat to be coated inside and out with the chrome solution. This is the only way to protect against the corrosive effects of salt that will find a way under a cheaper powder coat finish and bubble it off in short order. A resin colored coating is then applied on top of the chrome treated aluminum frames. With the addition of a 3rd clear coat, you can receive up to a 20 year warranty on the Kynar coating. If you go with powder coating anywhere near saltwater, you are just asking for problems.


And here is a pallet of custom frames fresh off the truck ready to be strung with cables. There are very few Kynar coating facilities in the country due to the highly regulated processes involved. After we finish fabrication of the aluminum frames, we load up our truck and deliver them to Windsor Metal Finishing in Kissimmee, FL for the coating. This is the closest facility to the Jacksonville area.

We hope this has been helpful! If done right, cable railings can be a fantastic low maintenance option to add a modern touch to a residence or commercial building. If corners are cut, then they can be a total disaster. Call, email, or find us on social media for more information!

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