Floating Stairs, well custom stairs in general, are a hard thing to master. The transition from one level to the next.  Simple, right?

Even though most of us walk up or down them, every single day, have you ever stopped to think about what went into the making of these? Why your foot fits so perfectly on each tread? Why the stairs are at the right angle, so they are not to steep, nor to straight? Well let me tell you, A LOT of time, and effort goes into - and that's just the building of them! What about the design? The colours? The material?? 

While building our current home, we came across a number of interesting issues and details that I honestly had never thought of before and by the end of the build, I was a seasoned professional! Never be afraid to ask questions, and then make sure to ask some more! We gained a better understanding of stringers, wiring, exact measurements,  foot placement, proper coding and rules.

Needless to say, there is a learning curve - developing a strategy to make it work, and at the same time make it beautiful. We all love to see a design come to life, grow and excel. It's exciting and interesting. And, to be very frank, complicated. I love to figure these things out. How do you want the treads to be attached? What is your railing like? What material will I do it in? One question leads to another. To begin the process I encourage clients to find photos of stairs they like. Be sure you know who you're hiring. A great company will help you and walk you all the important decisions. We learnt this the hard way and had to hire a second company to clean up all the mistakes and put us back on the right path. Although one or two funny stories came out of the errors, hire carefully, it makes all the difference! 

Here are the basic elements of floating stairs:

  1. The stringers - these are the main structural support for the stairs. They are the pieces that will attach to the different levels of your home. They are typically done in wood or metal. They can be a single stringer in the middle, a double stringer, or a side stringer. 
  2. The treads - these are the steps on the stairs. Thing to take into consideration are the thickness of the tread and the material it will be made in. They can be done in wood, concrete, metal or acrylic. Another consideration is the span of the tread; how wide you want your staircase. There are also treads that appear to be attached directly to the wall - this is done with metal plates that are inside the wall as wells as underneath the treads. This style is incredible; they create an optical illusion. 
  3. The railing - there are a number of options here. The most common is wood, glass or metal. Then comes the decision on how to attach the railing to the stairs. There are some very creative ways to do this. When choosing your material, keep in mind what you want to see as you are coming down your stairs. If you have a beautiful view you might want to consider glass. If you have kids, dogs or husbands be prepared for the upkeep of fingerprint and nose print removal. 

A floating staircase becomes a major design feature in a home. It creates a more open and airy feel. While not inexpensive, they will add value. Engage a design professional to help you plan your beautiful stairs! 







Alyx Walsh