Here Are the Top Benefits of Steel Cable
Did you know that just two steel cables hold up the massive Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Even more astonishing is that the wires those cables are crafted from reach about 80,000 miles in length.
That this icon of American engineering has stayed standing since 1937 certainly tells you something about the strength and resilience of steel cable.
Today, builders use steel wire ropes in everything from residential stair and deck railings to part of a construction site crane’s pulley system. They lift elevators up and down skyscrapers and pull trams along their lines.
Why is braided steel cable still such a popular material? Read on to find out.
Braided Structure Provides Strength
What makes steel wire rope and cabling so strong is its unique construction. A single cable consists of multiple steel wires arranged in a spiral pattern around a solid core. Manufacturers lubricate the strands to reduce friction.
This innovative structure results in a steel wire rope that beats out almost any other metal when it comes to flexibility and strength. Industry specialists also covet stainless steel is coveted for its long lifespan. It does equally well in hot-temperature climates as it does in the cold.
The way the wires sit around the cable’s core can vary depending on what a buyer wants to use the rope for. Manufacturers use thinner or thicker wire strands to create a rope that ranges from light to heavy-duty.
Because it’s so tough, you need to know how to cut steel cable the right way. Avoid ripping or tearing at the wires with your wire cutters, as this will result in dangerous jagged edges.
Unobstructed Views and Safe Stairs
Among America’s elderly, falls are the number one cause of injury-related death. And a 2017 study conducted over 23 years reported more than 24 million patients ended up in the emergency department due to stair-related injuries.
It seems our desire for aesthetically pleasing stairways and balconies outweighs our need for safety. But what if you could have both?
Adorn your patio or deck with steel cable railing instead of less durable wood, glass, or other metals like iron. It’s contemporary, affordable, and easy to maintain. You’ll get more safety and still keep those sightlines to the mountains, forest, river, or ocean views clear.
Stainless Steel Cable Doesn’t Rust
Do you live by the beach? You’ve probably noticed the damage the salty, humid air does to your home’s exterior. A rusty balcony railing doesn’t induce much confidence when you grab onto it as you’re admiring the ocean view.
And it’s not just a beach environment you need to worry about. Dirty, polluted city air, extreme heat or cold, and extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, storms do a number on buildings big and small.
Stainless steel is better at withstanding harsh environments than other common cable metals like galvanized steel. If you’re looking for something particularly tough yet still affordable, using steel cable, especially marine-grade wire rope, is an excellent choice.
Just be sure to brush up on your steel cleaning knowledge before investing in cable for railings or other home projects. Avoid using any products with chlorine in them, hard water, or abrasive cleaners. All you need is a mild soap, similar to what you might use on your car, and a soft polishing cloth.
Fire and Heat Resistant
Given the devastation caused by forest fires over the past decade, construction companies seek out naturally fire and heat resistant materials. From the cables themselves right down to the steel cable clamps that hold them in place, steel wire rope is fast becoming a go-to solution.
Stainless steel can withstand temperatures up to 500°C without weakening, melting, or scaling.
In a fire, stainless steel cables may help prevent a building from collapsing or buy valuable time for the inhabitants to escape. Today, construction firms are even replacing plastic cable ties with stainless steel in electrical wiring, despite the higher cost.
Stainless Steel Is Green
Manufacturers can recycle stainless steel cabling almost endlessly without losing its beneficial strength, corrosion resistance, and flexibility.
Believe it or not, but more than 60 percent of “new” stainless steel on the market is, in fact, recycled. And when a building is torn down, or a car is scrapped, as much as 90 percent of the recovered metal is sent for recycling.
Construction companies can earn valuable LEED points for using sustainable steel cabling over other less environmentally friendly materials.
Stainless steel also doesn’t impact the health of people working with it or living among it. Workers can cut, grind, and weld stainless steel cables without worrying about emissions. The metal doesn’t need any harmful or toxic surface coatings, and manufacturers only water and electricity to make it.
Steel Cable: Architecturally Elegant
Due to their lightness and long-life, steel cables and cable mesh are increasingly used to add a contemporary touch to a building.
High-grade steel ropes work just as well for indoor and outdoor architecture as they do to hold up a bridge. When it comes to using them in a construction or design project, contractors are only limited by their imagination.
Create a waterfall-like fall barrier in a stair-lined corporate foyer. Use high-tension cables in place of beams as exterior building braces. Fit a tiny home’s indoor mezzanine with cable railings to create a sense of space.
Ever the Pioneering Material
Steel cable has been a champion material in machinery manufacture, engineering, construction, and now architecture and interior design industries since its invention in the 1830s.
Of course, when selecting the type of stainless steel cable you want to use, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Safety requirements, building regulations, the style of the building, and the local climatic situation. Whatever you select, it’s sure to add elegance and durability to your build.
Are you interested in reading more on building? Have a browse through the other articles in our Real Estate section.