Decks can be terrific places to enjoy at your log home. However, if your view is one of the aspects you’d like to include in your enjoyment, safety requirements for railings and balusters can effectively block your seated panorama. One way to meet safety codes and open up the views is to use stainless steel wire to run horizontally. For years, commercial architects have been using stainless steel “rope” and fittings from the marine industry to provide a strong, safe and low-maintenance solution for railings.
The appropriate materials to use come from marine rigging. We spoke with James Marchant, proprietor of Port Rigging in Portland, Maine, to get his take on a recent project he completed at a cottage on Lake Sebago. “If you’re looking for low maintenance and great views, then marine rigging is the way to go.” Sailboats have been using stainless steel, multi-strand wire to equip standing rigging to secure masts to decks, safety lines and other applications. The components are designed to withstand thousands of pounds of tension, and hold up when exposed to the harsh conditions found on both salt and freshwater locations, he explained.
You’ll want to sub-contract a professional rigger for this project as they have a clear understanding of how to assemble the wires, attach the ends to stainless fittings and finish the ends. Marchant uses pad eyes on the corner posts for adjusting and tuning. To provide a solid structure he favors a strong, dense wood for the posts— like the teak pictured here—or stainless steel or aluminum tubing. These posts support the tension of the rigging and hold the balusters in place, so they need to be sturdy. The turnbuckles and toggles are coldpressed onto the wires using a process called swaging.
If you decide to substitute rigging for your deck railings, a good time to schedule this project is during the winter, when riggers are typically looking for extra projects when the sailing season winds down. If you’d like to learn more, contact Jim Marchant.