A Guide to Guy Wire Installation

Around the world, professionals use guy wires as supporting elements to help stabilize tall structures. This equipment is necessary throughout various industries, specifically for utility services. It's essential to know key points regarding guy wire installation to ensure you choose the right products for the job. Additionally, you should note which types of hardware are necessary for guy wire installation.

Here, we'll dive into the nature of guy wires, including what they are, their importance for securing structures and the critical considerations behind their installation.

The Purpose of Guy Wire

This product goes by several names, including guyed wire, guy strand, guy rope, guy cable, guy line and guy anchor. It's essentially a tensioned cable or wire used for structural support. In industrial settings, guy wires often feature strong galvanized steel wires to bear high tension. Throughout many industries, professionals utilize guy wire to brace, guide or secure various tall, human-made structures. Their heights might make them susceptible to damage from the elements and present hazards if the structure were to fall.

The following structures almost always feature guy wire for support:

  • Power and telecommunication lines
  • Railway signals
  • Towers
  • Antennas
  • Masts
  • Wind turbines

A guy wire effectively transfers some of the structure's weight to the ground. One end of the guy connects to a high point on the structure, while the other end anchors to the ground. The guys create diagonal lines, usually at angles of 45 degrees or more, to create support.

When Are Guy Wires Needed?

Most structures require at least three guy strands to secure the object correctly. Though guy wires need a large area for the structure's foundation, they present a more cost-effective solution than most self-supporting structures.

Considerations Before Guying Installation

Keep in mind that installation for guy wire requires numerous steps and safety considerations. These processes include precautions to ensure the actual installation process happens smoothly. Every professional should pay attention to specific guidelines so they install the guy wire correctly.

Some core considerations to make before a guy wire installation takes place include:

  • Weather: Don't schedule a guy wire installation on a wet or windy day or when an electrical storm is on the horizon. These weather conditions make guy wire installation more challenging, presenting safety concerns for installers. Those working on the project should reschedule immediately if a storm surfaces suddenly.
  • Site location: Assess the surroundings of the installation. Take note of any electrical wires in the area that may present an electrical safety concern, along with any geographical features, such as surrounding buildings or landscape features, that may impede the installation. Additionally, determine the soil type at the installation site to determine the best anchor system.
  • Pole class: Consider the class of the pole where you're adding guy line anchors. This pole must be an adequate size to avoid buckling under tension. It's also important to know that information to determine the type of guy wires required for the application.
  • The number of guy sets: Be sure to think about how many guy sets you need for the installation, as taller structures will often require more guy sets.
  • Local regulations: Remember to consult local city planning officers before beginning an installation. Rules differ on local, state and country levels, so it's essential to ensure your installation obeys the area's standards.
  • Quality installers: A professional should always install guy wire. These individuals have the experience and tools needed to ensure proper installation. Otherwise, safety risks will arise.

These factors should be present before, during and after all guy wire installations to ensure proper and safe processes.

Selecting a Guy Wire for Installation

An installer should select guy wire based on the needs of the application. While guy wire should be lightweight, it also needs to feature quality materials and possess specific features that match the application. Because every structure is unique, installers should analyze these components for each new project.

General-use guy cables are typically 18 or 20 gauge, and you can find different numbers of wires per cable. Higher numbers of wire typically provide more strength and stability. 

Some specifications to consider when selecting a guy wire include:

  • Strength: Choose a guy wire appropriate for the application's load. The wire should support the pole's weight and handle extreme winds. Additionally, guy wires must be able to bear loads on supporting structures. Consider the yield, breaking and strength points, which may include calculating the number of wires in each strand — Bekaert offers single-wire guy strands, as well as guy anchors with three, seven or 19 wires per cable.
  • Stability: Note that anchor and rod assemblies should also match or exceed the strength of the guy wire to ensure stability.
  • Elasticity: Guy wire will need to withstand twist and pull forces from the wind and weight of the structure. This point means that it'll require the correct balance of stiffness and elasticity to prevent snapping.
  • Coating: Steel cables alone are vulnerable to rust and corrosion, weakening the wire and leading to breakage over time. To prevent corrosion, steel guy strands contain zinc as a protectant. Bekaert provides various zinc coating options to meet industry standards, including Class A, Class B and Class C zinc galvanization coatings, as well as Bezinal®, a zinc-aluminum alloy coating that provides extra corrosion resistance.
  • Size: The guy wire's size is also a key consideration, as its thickness or diameter be as strong as possible. Essentially, it has to match the application's strength needs. Note that size is an additional factor when selecting guying hardware.
  • Length: All guy wire should be long enough for the needs of the application. Anything too short won't connect to the anchor, which makes it pointless. Be sure to specify the length needed for each guy wire in the installation.

When you work with a quality supplier like Bekaert, we can work with you to select a guy wire that meets your needs in each area described above.

Other Hardware for Guying Installation

In addition to the guy wire, guying installations require additional hardware to attach wires to poles. While the guy wire is clearly an essential component, you also have to use other parts to ensure a complete installation. These elements are just as essential as the guy wire.

Key pieces of hardware needed in a guy wire installation include the following:

  • Big grip dead ends: For high tensioning applications with galvanized strands, you can use big grip dead ends, or performers. These one-time-use tools help with tension, but you can reapply them to newer guy wire installations for re-tensioning.
  • End sleeves: End sleeves, also known as ice clips, are necessary tools in installations that require big grip dead ends. These end sleeves go at the end of a guy wire to prevent unraveling while installing a high-tension guy wire.
  • Drop forged wire rope clips: These fittings clamp the loose end of wire rope after it's looped to form an eye. They feature two nuts, which help secure the saddle and U-bolt. Guy wire assemblies typically use at least two or three wire rope clips to secure loops in the guy wire.
  • Shackles: Shackles are connecting links used to attach wire rope, as well as chains and slings. Bolt-type shackles are the most commonly used version for guy wire applications due to their longevity, but shackles come in a wide range of styles and sizes to meet any installation need.
  • Thimbles: Wire rope thimbles go inside the loop of a wire rope. This accessory aims to protect the loop from wear and tear and prevent it from being crushed.
  • Turnbuckles: This hardware features internal screw threads that push or pull guy anchors.
  • Screw eyes: Screw eyes provide anchor points for guy wires to ensure stability on poles and other structures. Look for those that are at least 5 inches long.

Determine which pieces of hardware are necessary for your installation beforehand and source them from a reputable supplier.

Necessary Gear for Guy Wire Installation

Guy wire installations present various hazards to installation professionals. Falling poles, snapping guy wires and the presence of electrical wires and conductive materials can all pose a danger to installers. As a result, workers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for the installation.

Every installer should wear specific PPE, including items like:

  • Hardhats: All installers must wear hardhats when installing guy wires. Because they're working on tall structures, they may be at risk of falling equipment or parts. Additionally, wires and poles may break, presenting additional risk, so hardhats are essential for protecting against head injuries.
  • Rubber-soled boots: Especially when working with utility poles and other electrical installations, installers need to wear PPE for electrical safety. The most essential of these are rubber-soled boots, which insulate the wearer from the ground, helping to minimize electrocution risk. Installers should also wear insulated gloves when possible.
  • Protective sleeves: Professionals should also wear long-sleeved shirts and protective jackets during guy wire installation. These long sleeves can help protect against lacerations caused by broken wires, pole splinters and other environmental factors.
  • Fall arrest systems: In some cases, installers may need to climb existing poles as part of the installation process. In these instances, installers climbing up 4 feet above ground should wear a fall arrest system to protect them in the event of a fall.
  • Roofing tar: For pole-based applications, you can use roofing tar to cover up the screw eyes of your guy wire. 

Installers will often wear or carry additional equipment depending on the needs of the application. For example, installers working on utility poles may carry additional electrical safety equipment. Note that some applications may also require eye protection if drilling is necessary.

How to Install Guy Wire on a Utility Pole

Installing a guy wire is relatively straightforward. You must start at the top of the pole and work your way down. Follow these steps for a successful guy wire installation:

  1. Start by fitting the wire at the top of the pole with your guy ring and clamp. Attach the wires to the upper half of each mast section before attaching the antenna. Run the mast ends of the guy wire through the holes in the ring. To keep the guy wire from unraveling, wrap it around seven or eight times.
  2. Anchor the wires 45 degrees from your pole using screw eyes set 120 degrees apart. Check that your screw eyes are firmly in place and at least 5 feet away from the pole to ensure stability.
  3. Cover up the screw eyes with roofing tar.
  4. Attach your fully extended turnbuckles to the guy wires. Keep them at least 1 foot away from the screw eyes and hold the mast vertically. After pulling the screw eye ends of the wires through the eyes, tighten the ends. You want them tight enough to prevent the wires from hanging but not so tight that they can't flex in windy conditions. When you're happy with it, wrap the ends of the wires another seven to eight times.
  5. Lastly, rotate your turnbuckles with a screwdriver. Your set of guy wires likely has three of them. If you have an installation with more than one set, use different screw eyes for each wire to get a tighter fit. One screw eye might not provide enough anchorage for two or more guy wires.

Thanks to your properly installed guy wire, you should now have a more stable structure that can better withstand the elements and other threats.

Why Choose Bekaert?

Guy wires are used in a range of applications, handling any number of challenges. With variables including high winds, tension and weight, guy wires need to provide stability, which only happens through quality products. If you're looking for reliable steel guy wire that can handle the unique needs of your application, Bekaert is here to help.

Bekaert is a leading manufacturer and supplier of quality steel guy wire, also producing the broadest range of guy anchors available. We strive to meet and exceed our customers' expectations with a range of manufacturing capabilities that allow us to meet every specification. However, our product range is just one of our many benefits. On top of our product selection, Bekaert offers unparalleled service.

Here are just a few reasons to choose Bekaert:

  • Quality production: At Bekaert, we have complete control over the production process from start to finish. This level of control, combined with our detailed quality assurance process, means we can achieve top quality in every order that we fill. Our guy strands meet and exceed every industry standard, from ISO to ASTM.
  • Global presence: Bekaert manufactures most of our steel wire solutions in North America in Van Buren, Arkansas, but our presence is global. With a worldwide manufacturing footprint across 70 countries and a worldwide network of sales and support professionals, we provide expert assistance at the local level.
  • Design flexibility: Bekaert's production facilities are capable of incredible manufacturing flexibility. We can manufacture steel wire with many characteristics, including unique shapes, compositions and mechanical properties. Our specialists will work with you to develop a plan for your customized order, so you can receive wire that meets the specific needs of your application.
  • Fast turnarounds: We know efficiency is essential to your bottom line, which is why Bekaert focuses on achieving some of the best lead times in the industry. We provide fast delivery for clients around North America and are competitive worldwide. This performance means your company can complete installations and projects faster.
  • Thorough documentation: Bekaert maintains comprehensive documentation throughout the production process to promote transparency. We can also provide documentation of quality for any of our products as needed.
  • Expert advice: Bekaert has served clients across a range of industries and regions for over 140 years. Our extensive understanding of client needs, industry trends and global markets means we can offer expert advice for practically any project.
  • Detailed support: Our technical support teams serve locations worldwide with our signature quality service and have the knowledge necessary to provide you with the detailed information, advice and assistance you need.
  • Extensive product range: Bekaert offers various items to meet numerous industry needs, from utility services such as energy and oil companies to agriculture and automotive applications.

With over 27,000 employees worldwide and global manufacturing capabilities, Bekaert proudly serves customers across 120 countries, delivering quality products and advanced solutions.

Request Custom Guy Wire Products From Bekaert

Guy wire must meet the needs of your application — and Bekaert is here to manufacture steel guy wire to your exact specifications.

Bekaert is the North American market leader in commercial steel wire and strand manufacturing. When you choose Bekaert, you select a partner for all your guy wire needs with a wide-ranging portfolio of steel guying wires and accessories. We pride ourselves on manufacturing high-quality products and pairing our clients with the guy wire solutions they need.

Request a quote today to learn more about Bekaert's guy wire options or call +1 404-201-0223 to speak with a representative.