Deciding on what wire or cable to use on a balustrade project can be confusing, given the many choices available in terms of material grades, sizes and construction. According to Miami Stainless, stainless steel wire rope or cable rope is used in an array of different projects, which is why there are so many options available.

On figuring out the best material for a balustrade, Miami Stainless advises that choosing the grade of balustrade wire rope depends on the application environment. The two most commonly used grades of wire are the 304 and 316. While Grade 304 contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, Grade 316 contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum content helps resist corrosion when exposed to chlorides such as seawater and de-icing salts.

The Grade 316 wire, therefore, is better suited to exposure areas such as the outdoors or coastal environments.

The most popular wire ropes or cables used are 1 x 19, 7 x 7 and 7 x 19. For balustrades, Miami Stainless recommends 1 x 19 wire ropes for prefabricated systems as these are smoother and stiffer wires with a much more aesthetically pleasing appearance. These also meet with NCC Regulations if installed correctly. The 7 x 7 construction is another popular choice as it is more flexible and easier to work with for DIY hand swaging methods.

The wire size also depends on the balustrade system. Most balustrades will use either a 3mm or a 3.2mm wire rope. The Miami Stainless website offers an online balustrade builder that will automatically select the correct wire rope size based on the system chosen by the user.

Image: The Miami Stainless website offers an online balustrade builder