Glass Stairs Overview

Are you looking to create a unique focal point that enhances the amount of natural light penetrating between floors?  No need to search for any other product!  GlassWalk™ offers structural glass flooring options to create stunning glass staircases and even landings.  These stair treads come in a pre-engineered system which includes our 3-ply structural glass used to create each stair tread.  As time and design styles have changed, a new design where mounting screws are hidden has helped to ensure a clean glass staircase installation.

The GlassWalk™ Stair Treads (ST) system can achieve glass stair tread spans up to 48″ with only two-sided support.  This engineered system features 3-ply stair treads 1.245″ thick.  Like the structural glass units in the GlassWalk™ glass floor system, the stair treads are made with ceramic frits baked onto the walking surface for slip resistance.  The units are set into specially designed support brackets made of aluminum with a satin finish.

Do your stairs have landings? Combine GlassWalk™ stairs with GlassWalk™ structural glass floor systems for the landing areas. Check the image gallery for recent examples.

Architects: For a CE unit in any of 6 different programs, take our free online class: Glass Floor Walkways and Stair Treads.

glass walk glass stairs treads

Glass for Stairs

The GlassWalk glass stairs system features specially designed support brackets and 3-ply stair treads for a free span up to 56″ wide with 2-sided support.  Ceramic frits or acid etch anti-slip surface treatments can be applied to the top surface of the glass to provide a safe walking surface.  This glass stair system can also accommodate for glass risers, helping clients to comply with building codes while preserving an open, airy effect that makes maximum use of available light.

Glass stair treads are available in standard glass or low iron glass options.  Colored interlayers are also available for the addition of extra color to any glass staircase.  Low iron glass has a “crystal clear” look to it and is known to let slightly more natural light pass through compared to standard glass.  Standard glass has a slightly greenish/blue hue to it due to iron level left behind by the glass manufacturer.  The hue of standard glass aids in adding privacy to any floor from the reduced clarity of the glass panel.  Standard glass does not have color that is obtrusive to the design by any means and is typically noticed when attention is given to the edge of the glass tread.

Glass stairs also have transparency and translucency options available to meet any projects’ design.  Translucent stair treads still allows large amounts of natural light to penetrate into the surrounding spaces, while it does not reveal a distinct image of the object on the opposite side of the glass.  Transparent glass can maintain privacy by incorporating a sandblast finish to the top surface of the glass panels.  Regardless of the glass you select for your staircase, glass stair treads maximize the amount of natural light moving through any space.

Glass Stairs Installation

Installing a glass staircase can seem daunting for some people.  With GlassWalk’s easy-to-install stair tread and riser system there is no reason to look for any other glass stair system.  All necessary building material will be shipped precut, per approved shop drawings for any project.  Before beginning installation, make sure all structural components including support brackets, glass stair units, and/or a vertical glass riser are all present and match dimensions on shop drawings.

Be sure that everything is clean and dry of any oil or grease in the surrounding areas before starting the installation.  We recommend painting or refinishing surrounding areas prior to the glass stair installation to avoid any damage to the glass or framing system.

The first step to installing glass stairs is to install the perimeter members into the prepared opening. Install any spanning and spacing members, followed by the precut cushion.  Finally once all that has been placed, the glass unit can be set in the opening.  Apply sealant around each glass unit and your glass staircase is complete!

For more detailed instructions contact an installation expert today.

Glass Stairs FAQs

Stunning, sculptural focal points are not inexpensive. The price tag of a glass staircase can vary widely based on several factors, including the design, materials, size, and the complexity of the installation. The cost breakdown includes materials (glass panels, supporting structure), labor for design and installation, and any additional features such as lighting. Architects and property owners often find the results are worth the expense and budget to allow this feature.

Factors influencing the cost include:

  • Glass type: The type of glass used (clear, frosted, tinted, etc.) can affect the cost.
  • Support structure: The material and complexity of the support structure impact costs.
  • Design complexity: Elaborate designs or custom features may increase costs.
  • Size of the staircase: Larger staircases generally cost more due to increased material and labor requirements.
  • Extra features: Lighting, or other customizations add to the overall cost.

Glass stairs require regular maintenance to keep them clean and free of smudges or marks. While glass is a smooth and non-porous material, fingerprints, dust, and other elements can affect its appearance. Here are some considerations for maintaining clean glass stairs:

  1. Clean frequently: Regular cleaning with a mild glass cleaner or a solution of vinegar and water can help remove fingerprints and smudges. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the glass.
  2. Avoid abrasive cleaners: Avoid using abrasive cleaners or materials that could scratch the glass surface. Stick to non-abrasive cleaning tools to preserve the clarity and finish of the glass.
  3. Anti-stain coatings: Some glass surfaces are treated with anti-stain coatings that can make cleaning easier by repelling water and contaminants.
  4. Preventive measures: Place mats or rugs at the entrance of the staircase to reduce the amount of dirt and debris that can be tracked onto the glass surface.
  5. Professional cleaning: For larger or more intricate glass staircases, it may be beneficial to schedule periodic professional cleaning to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process.
Several factors affect the strength of glass stairs. These include the type of glass used, the thickness of the glass, the design of the staircase, and the supporting structure. Tempered glass and laminated glass are commonly used for glass stairs due to their enhanced strength and safety features. Tempered glass is heat-treated to increase its strength. It is generally strong and can withstand the loads associated with regular use in stairs. Laminated glass consists of layers of glass bonded together with a layer of plastic (usually polyvinyl butyral or PVB) between them.

The support structure of the stairs, usually made of materials like steel or aluminum, also contributes significantly to the overall strength of the glass stairs. Proper engineering and compliance with building codes and safety standards are crucial to ensure the stairs can safely support the intended loads, including the weight of people walking on them.

When professionally designed and installed, glass stairs can be quite strong and capable of meeting safety requirements. However, you should always work with experienced architects and engineers to ensure the design and materials chosen are appropriate for the intended application and meet all necessary safety standards.

Yes, a glass staircase can add value to your property. Many people consider glass staircases modern and visually appealing, contributing to the overall aesthetic of a home or commercial space. The transparency of glass creates a sense of openness and can enhance natural light flow, making spaces feel larger and more inviting. Additionally, a well-designed glass staircase can serve as a focal point, adding a touch of sophistication and contemporary style. Homebuyers and tenants often appreciate unique and visually striking features, which can positively impact the perceived value of a property. The actual impact on property value can vary based on regional preferences, market trends, and the overall design and condition of the property.

Deciding whether to get a glass staircase in your home or commercial property depends on various factors, including your personal preferences, the overall design of your space, budget considerations, and practicality. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Aesthetic preference: If you appreciate modern and sleek design, a glass staircase can be a visually striking and contemporary addition to your home or business.
  • Space and light: Glass staircases create a sense of openness and allow natural light to flow through, making spaces feel larger and more inviting. If maximizing light is a priority, a glass staircase could be beneficial.
  • Safety: Don’t let safety concerns deter you from getting a glass staircase. Modern glass stairs are designed with safety in mind. Tempered or laminated glass is commonly used for its strength, and handrails and non-slip treatments can be incorporated for additional safety.
  • Maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements. Glass stairs may need regular cleaning to maintain their appearance, and factors like fingerprints and dust may be more visible.
  • Budget: Glass staircases can be an investment, with the cost varying depending on factors like design complexity.
  • Architectural harmony: Consider how a glass staircase fits into the overall architectural style of your home or building. It should complement the existing design.

Before deciding, consult with professionals, including architects and contractors, to ensure that a glass staircase aligns with your preferences, meets safety standards, and integrates well with your space.