A Guide To Statement Glass Staircases

Our Guide To Statement Glass Staircases

The Glass

Glass is a brilliant material for staircases because it is both practical and looks fantastic. It’s most obvious advantage is that light is able to pass through the panels, ensuring that the space remains light and airy.

Any statement glass staircase will be made with a form of toughened glass to ensure that it can cope with the demands put upon it. Toughened glass undergoes certain heating treatments to vastly increase its strength. In the incredibly unlikely event that the glass should shatter, it has been designed to do so in a way that causes the minimal amount of injuries possible.

The Design

When it comes to statement glass staircases, you have a wide range of design options to choose from. They typically fall into three categories:

  • Traditional- featuring the standard rises, treads and stringers, a traditional staircase simply reaches up the floor of one room to the space above, potentially doubling back on itself in order to save space.
  • Cantilevered- also known as a floating staircase, cantilevered glass staircases seemingly hang in mid-air. Each individual tread is anchored into the wall with no visible connection between them, leaving the distinctive gap. This technique creates a stunning, eye-catching illusion.
  • Spiral- perfect for tight spaces, the treads on a spiral staircase wind their way around a central column. The footprint of a spiral staircase is far less than that of a traditional staircase. In order to establish the number of rotations the staircase will make, you need to know where you want the entry and exit points to be.

All three styles of staircase work well with glass and can produce outstanding results.


The Lighting

From a safety perspective, staircase lighting is incredibly important. That doesn’t mean however, that it can’t be used to make a stand-out impression.

A significant benefit of glass’ transparent nature is how well it works with coloured lighting. With a simple flick of a switch, you can flood your entire staircase with colour. It could be bold and bright or elegant and sophisticated, depending on which colour you decide on. If you can’t decide on one colour, why choose? Create a gorgeous rainbow effect with different coloured LEDs.

For much of the day, you’re unlikely to have the staircase lights turned on so think carefully about what your lights look like at night. It’s then that they’ll have the greatest impact. If you really want to make an impression, why not choose staircase lights that operate on a motion sensor? As you approach the stairs, they will automatically turn on. Not only will this impress visitors, it can also be a handy feature when your hands are full and you need to go up or down stairs.

LEDs are so small yet powerful that they can be fitted in a number of locations. You might choose to embed them into the side of the wall or into the every edge of each tread. Either way, the statement glass staircase should be sufficiently illuminated that you feel confident moving up and down it safely. If young children or the elderly are going to be using the glass staircase, we would certainly recommend investing in additional lighting.

If our guide to statement glass staircases has sparked your imagination, get in touch with Glass & Stainless. We can design, build and install your perfect bespoke staircase.


How To Transform Your Hallway With A Staircase Refurbishment

When thinking about interior design, homeowners neglect their hallways at their peril. Your
hallway is often the main reception point where you welcome guests, giving them their first
glimpse into your home. And as they say, those first impressions count.

For this reason, many people are dissatisfied with their hallways. The dingy, narrow,
cramped walkways they are stuck with do not at all convey the look and feel they want to
create in their home. Deep down, they want guests to be struck by how bright and modern
their home is, not shuffling in single file to squeeze past the coat rack.

What they need is a staircase refurbishment. This is how to transform your hallway with a staircase refurbishment.

How To Transform Your Hallway With A Staircase Refurbishment

Unless you own a bungalow, nine homes out of 10 have their staircase located in their
hallway. This plays a major factor in making reception areas feel cramped and
claustrophobic. Stairwells take up a significant amount of space and are often ‘closed’
underneath, i.e. the space between the treads is used as a cupboard or cubby hole.
One obvious way to create more space in your hallway is to open up your staircase.
‘Floating’ stairs come in all sorts of designs, but the main principle is to create additional
room by leaving the space underneath the treads open.

There are many options for expanding on this theme to create an even greater impression of
space. One is to have no riser between each step, meaning you leave the back of each
tread open. An alternative to having no treads at all would be to use glass, which provides
additional safety and support but still gives the same spacious feel being able to ‘see
through the stairs’ creates.

Benefits Of Glass Balustrades

Glass is an extremely useful material for opening up a staircase to give your hallway a
bright, contemporary feel. More common than glass risers, we are seeing more and more
homeowners opt for glass balustrades on their stairs rather than a traditional spindle and
handrail system.

Glass balustrades make a perfect pairing for open staircases because of the way they open
up lines of sight. In complete contrast to the typically closed, cramped feel of a standard
hallway, opening up the space under the stairs and using glass on the staircase itself means
you can quite literally see more of the space available, making it look and feel bigger. In
addition, because it is transparent, glass allows you to make the most of natural light as it
offers no restrictions to how it filters down from upstairs windows or in through the front door.

Another great reason to use glass to transform your staircase is its versatility. If you really
want to go all out for a sharp, cutting edge look in your hallway, glass balustrades are commonly paired with stainless steel posts and handrails to achieve an highly effective
contemporary look. On the other hand, if you want something a little more traditional that
nonetheless creates a brighter, more open look, glass can also be effectively paired with
timber to achieve a very sophisticated staircase design.

Now your clued up on how to transform your hallway with a staircase refurbishment, get in touch with Glass & Stainless to discuss how we could help you with the design, production and installation of the necessary parts.

Why Choose A Glass Staircase With Lights?

If you want an incredibly elegant staircase which compliments every style of architecture and allows an abundance of light to pass through, glass is your best option. As well as being simple to maintain, a glass staircase can be further transformed by the addition of lighting. LED lighting can be used to light either the stair treads themselves or the accompanying balustrade or wall. Whatever you choose, the outcome will be utterly stunning. So why choose a glass staircase with lights?

Why choose a glass staircase with lights? Colour

The transparent nature of glass makes it the ideal material to use in conjunction with LED lighting. With a simple flick of the switch, the entire glass panel can be flooded with eye-catching colour. The shade you choose is completely up to you. If you have used a particular accent colour in the rest of your interior decor, that would be an obvious choice. Alternatively, you could choose a set of colour-changing LED lights. These will allow you to change it up with your mood, season or party theme.

Blue and green shaded lights work particularly well with glass staircases as they nicely complement and enhance the natural tint present in much glass. However, if you would prefer to use a warmer toned colour such as red or orange, simply choose a low-iron content glass. This should have no noticeable tint.

Bright and bold colours will typically contrast well against darker walls, balustrades and handrails, especially those made from wood or metal. The splash of colour will quickly draw attention and positively invite people to head upstairs.

Why use LED lights?

At Glass and Stainless, we would alway recommend using LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for this sort of work. They offer a far brighter light than traditional bulbs, making them ideal for use on a staircase where clarity is so important. Incredibly long-lasting, LEDs are also highly energy efficient. Unlike traditional bulbs, barely any of their energy is wasted as heat. Furthermore, when installed correctly LEDs are certainly durable enough for use on a staircase.

The small and slim nature of LEDs means that they can fitted into the narrowest of spaces, including the tread or edge of a staircase. A qualified professional should be able to fit a LED lighting strip so that it sits flush with the glass, stopping it from becoming a trip hazard. The earlier you get the fitter involved with the design of the staircase, the higher the quality of the finish will be. At Glass and Stainless we can design a bespoke staircase that accommodates any additional features that you are interested in.

Most LEDs can be installed with the option of a dimmer switch, allowing you to increase or decrease the intensity of the light as needed. For an additional touch of magic, you could connect the LEDs to an infrared motion sensor. As you approach the staircase, the lights will switch on automatically like something straight out of a sci-fi film. As well as looking impressive and dramatic, such a sensor can also help reduce your energy consumption by minimising the amount of time the lights are switched on for. Remote control is another fun option for you to consider.

Glass and Stainless can help you choose a glass staircase with lights that will make a clear architectural statement. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Renovate Your Staircase With Glass Stair Panels

When we’re looking to spruce up the interior of our homes, staircases can often be sadly overlooked. We might look to change the decor, room layouts, even install new windows and doors. But how many of us even think of the opportunities available right there on the stairs? That’s where glass stair panels come in.

It is all too easy to accept that a staircase is purely functional and offers little opportunity to improve your home aesthetically. In fact, this is one of the places where you can make a truly radical difference to the overall look and feel of your home.

The easiest way to do this is with choice of materials. Glass stair panels offer an outstanding alternative to the timber frames most domestic staircases use. Just as sturdy and robust, glass stair panels can transform a dark hallway into a bright, airy space, allowing light to pass through unhindered without casting shadows.

Glass is a versatile and reliable material in all sorts of circumstances, and glass balustrades add a stylish contemporary twist to home decor. A staircase in a main reception area is the ideal place to show this off to visitors, transforming first impressions of your entire home.

Blending the traditional and modern with glass stair panels

One of the great things about glass stair panels is how they can be used to achieve a variety of different looks to suit your home.

If timber is to your taste and you want to keep an air of tradition about your home, glass panels can be paired with wooden balustrade posts, treads and handrails for an elegant, refined look. The use of glass stair panels instead of wooden spindles creates the impression of space, avoiding the ‘heavy’, imposing look you can get from too much wood.

For a more contemporary feel, glass is a natural companion to stainless steel. The bright sheen of polished stainless steel balustrades and posts perfectly complements the transparency of glass stair panels, creating visibly lighter spaces.

For an added modern twist, you could opt to do away with the balustrades entirely and go for a frameless glass balustrade system. The use of glass only on your staircase panels accentuates the light and space-enhancing qualities. With no obstructions at all from posts, lines of sight are left completely open through the glass panels, creating an even greater sense of space even in the tightest of spaces.

Finally, for a truly radical take on a contemporary look, why not consider pairing glass stair panels with glass treads. This is an option for those who really want to make a statement in their homes, challenging convention completely with a stunning modern look. Glass treads are particularly well suited to open staircases, where you have no boxed-in area under the stairs. The glass treads add to the extra feeling of space and light this creates – and make people using the stars feel like they are walking on air!

At Glass and Stainless, we can help you choose and install the perfect glass stair panels. Get in touch today to discuss your specification.

What is laminated glass?

Laminated glass is constructed using a simple sandwich style structure. Two pieces of glass in a range of thicknesses, have a semi structural or structural Resin, PVB, EVA or SGP interlayer sandwiched between them. This produces a thicker and heavier glass panel.

The distinctive feature of laminated glass is the way in which it breaks. If the outer layer of glass is broken in anyway, the plastic interlayer acts like an adhesive, holding everything together and keeping the panel stable. Ultimately, this prevents any holes developing within the glass or large shards flying off. Instead, you will simply see a spider web pattern on the surface. Should any bits break off under repeated pressure, they tend to be far smaller and blunter than those from a standard glass break. This explains why laminated glass is often referred to as safety glass.

The Advantages of Laminated Glass

Given that it is difficult to smash a hole through laminated glass, it is an excellent choice for burglary prevention. It is widely used in car windscreens and shop front windows but is suitable for any commercial or domestic environment. Should a burglar put in the necessary hard effort to break through the glass, the noise they make in doing so will certainly alert you!

Equally, laminated glass will offer you a degree of protection against the natural elements e.g. severe thunderstorm.  If you decide to use it extensively in your windows and doors, please do ensure that there is an alternative emergency exit route as you will struggle to easily smash your way out through the glass.

Also on the point of safety, we will always use laminated glass in our frameless glass balustrades. Should the first pane fail in anyway, the 2nd pane will remain intact and continue to protect anyone on the stairs or balcony.

Thanks to the thicker width of a laminated glass panel, it holds a few more advantages over a standard glass piece. These include both better insulation and great sound-deadening qualities. Furthermore, the plastic interlayer helps to block UV radiation, vastly reducing the amount of time before your curtains and other soft furnishings begin to fade.  Whilst laminated glass is a costlier investment than the standard offerings, it is less likely to need replacing thanks to its strengthening qualities.

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we offer laminated glass as part of our renowned bespoke glass service. Get in touch to discuss your requirements and situation in greater detail.

Bringing the Traditional and the Contemporary Together

One of the great pleasures of working in interior design is the creative freedom you have to take different elements – different styles, different materials, different techniques – and make something new and unique from them.

new build with glass and stainless balustrades

One recent project we were commissioned to work on offered a great example of how this can often involve combining elements of the traditional with the contemporary. The client in question owned a large detached property built with a nod to the past – the stone arch detail around the front door, for example – but also with plenty of contemporary features, such as the large floor to roof feature window dominating the front elevation.

Glass and Stainless was contracted to carry on this theme with three installations, namely a staircase, a balcony and a Juliet balcony.bespoke oak and glass staircasebespoke oak and glass staircase

Although we specialise in glass and stainless steel, our aim is always to deliver the right solution for each individual project we work on, regardless of the style or the materials we use. So after discussions with the client, it was clear they had something specific in mind for the staircase – a cutting edge ‘floating’ installation in glass balustrades, but instead of stainless steel posts, they requested a more traditional oak wood, to match the wood flooring already in place.

A floating staircase is a wonderful way to leave space open around a stairwell installation, as there is no boxing off of the space underneath the boards. In this case, with three rises involved, the ‘no supports’ floating look achieved a stunning effect, creating a real visual feature for the space.

To complement this, we also chose a ‘no newels’ design, with no posts between the glass balustrade panels. This added to the sense of light and space created by the floating design, providing clear lines of sight through much of the staircase. That left the treads, riser and handrail to be constructed out of solid oak, finished in Osmo white oil to match the flooring – a perfect combination of tradition and cutting edge.

Glass Features

Elsewhere on the project, we decided to compliment the modernistic look of the property’s exterior by pairing a frameless glass balcony with the feature window. This installation of a single 21.52mm toughened laminated glass panel straight onto the available stonework to create a balcony balustrade created a simple yet striking effect, adding to the overall aesthetic impact of the glass used in the feature window.


frameless glass balcony

Finally, we installed a 316 grade stainless steel Juliet balcony with 12mm toughened glass infills. In this case, the stainless steel was required to create the balustrade frame for the Juliet balcony. As there was no other wood on the exterior of the building, stainless steel felt a better choice than oak, and offers much greater durability, especially the ‘marine grade’ low corrosion 316 steel we use as standard on our external installations.

How to create space using a Glass Staircase

How do you transform a dark, cramped hallway into a bright, spacious reception area with a real designer feel?

Simple – go for a glass staircase that adds impact and a real talking point to your home.

Glass is a fantastic material for opening up space because of the light it lets through and reflects around your home. Even when you cannot physically create extra space in a room, glass gives the impression of space.

Here are some starting points for how to use glass in your stair design to give even the most cramped corners an airy new lease of life.

Open Glass Staircase

The easiest way to create space with a stairway is not to close off the space in the first place. Open staircases leave the space under the tread open, i.e. not boxing them off to make a cupboard or storage area.

An open staircase can have an open riser as long as the gap is no more than 100mm, which allows light to filter through and leaves lines of sight open. This works particularly well with glass in your design, accentuating how freely light can pass between the spaces above and beneath.

Open staircases work particularly well in larger rooms, as the open space blends seamlessly with the wider area. So if you really want to capture those extra dimensions, consider knocking through a wall in your hallway and going open plan.

Glass Balustrades

Glass balustrades give a cutting edge contemporary look, which is growing increasingly popular with interior designers concerned with making the best use of available space.

Glass panels can be combined with stainless steel or timber stair frames to create attractive see through balustrades on your staircase. Again, the trick with glass is the sense of light and space it creates, rather than boxing off your stairs solid balustrades or spindles.

Cantilever Treads

If you want a really ultra modern look, cantilever glass treads create a sleek minimal floating effect. The ‘floating’ effect achieved by fixing treads directly to a supporting wall minimises the supporting structure required, making the staircase more open and creating a greater sense of space.

Perhaps more than any other staircase design, it is the cantilevered staircase that really stands out as something special, creating the illusion of floating, unsupported and weightless treads.

It manages to be minimalist while at the same time creating a massive impact and offers enormous variety in terms of configurations and materials.

Off the Straight and Narrow

An important consideration for creating space with any staircase is the layout of the elevation. Straight staircases require quite a large stairwell, or the overall space required. This is seen most obviously in the space that must be taken out of the upper floor to allow elevation to emerge.

Adopting an alternative to a straight layout can save considerable space. L-shaped staircases with a quarter turn and U-shaped staircases with a half turn offer a proportional reduction in the size of the stairwell required – a U-shaped staircase demands half the space. A spiral staircase uses space most efficiently of all forms of layout.

Combining a space-saving layout with glass again only adds to the effect. The less obstruction there is to light, the more you see the benefit of taking up less space.

Safety in structure

While feature staircases are designed to be admired, many people do express concerns over the safety or how they will conform to Building Regulations whilst dreaming them up.

Providing the treads satisfy the minimum requirements in terms of how far they are apart and that the maximum and minimum pitches for domestic staircases are adhered to (see Approved Document K of the Building Regs), it is the lack of handrail that worries most people.

However, Approved Document K states that: ‘Flights should have a handrail on at least one side if they are less than one metre wide and on both sides if they are wider than one metre. There is no need for handrails beside the bottom two steps of a stairway. Minimum domestic handrail heights should be 900mm for both stairs and landings. It is also a Building Regulations requirement that no openings in any balustrading should allow the passage of a 100mm sphere.’ The installation of a solid glass screen will satisfy this requirement and be true to the minimalist look of the staircase.

Of course, you will still need to consult with your Building Control officer to check your staircase complies with the Building Regs, and consider the safety implications if you have small children.