What are Floating Stairs?

Floating stairs are a type of open-rise stairs that are supported by a single stringer or a recessed stringer in the center or the side of the staircase. This unique staircase design gives the visual effect of the stair thread being "floating" in space.

What are Floating Stairs?

Floating stairs are a type of modern staircase design that improves the aesthetics of the interior space and is an example of minimalistic interior design. This article ensures to provide you a complete guide on floating stairs and their features.

Features of Floating Stairs

1. Floating Stairs have No Risers: Floating stairs have no risers and therefore are a type of open riser stair. All floating stairs are open risers, but all open risers stairs are not floating stairs. Here, the threads are not connected to one another but are connected using stringers.

2. Floating Stairs are Supported Using Stringers: To give a floating effect to the stair, unlike conventional stairs, the stairs are supported by a single stringer/ mono stringer running through the middle of the stair (Fig.2(a)), or by a recessed stringer (Fig.2(b)). 

Floating Stairs Support
Fig.2. Floating Stairs Support

3. Types of Floating Stairs: Different types or styles of the staircase are classified based on: 1) The position and type of stringer and 2). The directional run of the staircase. Based on the position of the stringer, it can be a mono, double, or cantilever floating stair. Based on the directional run of the stair, it can be straight, L-shaped, curved, spiral, or winder shaped.

Double Stringer Floating Stairs
Fig.3. Double Stringer Floating Stairs

4. Dimensions of Floating Stairs: As per the Building Regulations followed in the United Kingdom, the dimensions required for floating stairs are:
  • Maximum rise: 220 mm; Minimum rise: 150 mm
  • Width of each step from nose to nose: Maximum is 300 mm, and the minimum is 220 mm
  • Handrails are a must if the flight has steps with a width of less than 1m ( for safety) [ 1 Sided rails]. If the width is greater than 1m 2-Sided handrails are necessary. 

5. Cost of Floating Stairs: Floating stairs are not cheap. They can be customized and designed or bought as a kit and installed. Based on this the construction cost varies. A top-class customized floating stair costs anywhere between £15k and £20k. We can reduce this cost if we do some clever planning or go for a ready-to-install floating stair kit.

Different Floating Stair Styles

The different styles of floating stairs are related to how the stair thread is supported to attached. Based on this we have:

1. Mono Stringer Floating Stairs

Mono stringer floating stairs as shown in Fig.2(a) use a single stringer to support each thread. These stringers are usually made of wood or steel. Each thread is supported either by a bracket or a notch arrangement on the stringer. 

Mono-Stringer Floating Stairs
Fig.4. Mono-Stringer Floating Stairs
Image Courtesy: Arch Daily

2. Double Stringer Floating Stairs

It is the same as the above type, but it will feature two stringers. It is employed when the threads are wide. 

Double Stringer Support for Floating Stairs
Fig.5. Double Stringer Support for Floating Stairs

3. Cantilevered Floating Stairs

Cantilevered floating stairs are constructed by connecting threads to a recessed stringer or onto a wall nearby, giving an appearance of steps projecting out of the wall. The other end is kept free or connected to a rail. 

Cantilevered Floating Stairs
Fig.6. Cantilevered Floating Stairs

Floating stairs are now modernized into a variety of designs by employing different materials, railings, directions of flight, etc. There are several unique railing systems for floating stairs currently employed to improve the beauty of stairs. Customized floating stairs are nowadays gaining popularity as they are designed to rightly fit the given space. 

For clients looking for cheap floating stair construction, prefabricated floating stair kits are available, that can be installed DIY or with expert guidance based on the instructions from the manufacturer. 

Also Read On:
Classification of Stairs Based on Utility

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