What Type of Glass is Used for Stairs

BY |

Having your staircase made from glass will add that luxurious feel to your home as it will promote the flow of light and add that spacious feeling of openness and delicacy.

When considering making a glass addition to your architectural masterpiece, you might find yourself at a loss and stuck because you have no idea where to begin or what to look for specifically in the perfect glass for your stairs. So what type of glass is used for stairs?

Toughened or Tempered laminated glass is the best and required glass for stairs by most building regulations. Manufacturing requires an elaborate rigorous process that ensures it is safe for both domestic and commercial use. Having your stairs made from glass can be very expensive but cost-effective in the long run.

Glass stairs can be the perfect option for you if you want that seamless, uninterrupted look throughout your home. Traditional materials used for stairs such as concrete, wood, and steel are heavy and opaque.

Staircase from such traditional materials can be overwhelming to a  minimalist.

Even though glass stairs look fragile and delicate, this is not at all the case. These stairs are robust and durable. You need to know the suitable material to pick and ensure they are correctly installed for safety.

Let us look at the glass used for stairs.

Tempered Laminated Glass


Tempered or toughened laminated glass is the best material for stairs available in the market. This glass complies with building regulations and is recommended for both domestic and commercial use.

The glass is manufactured by chemically treating and heating row materials at a very high temperature before cooling suddenly. The significance of this process is to introduce resistance to mechanical stress and thermal shock to the glass. This process is called tempering or toughening.

After the tempering process, the glass undergoes another process called laminating. Here the glass is compressed by joining different layers of glass together by a resin called polyvinyl butyral(PVB). The wax prevents splinters. Even when the glass breaks, it remains bonded together.

This rigorous and elaborate process undergone to make tempered laminated glass is the reason why they are the best option for your staircase panels, stair railing, and handrails. Glass stairs have great ornamental value. Still, they are also manufactured with a maximum level of safety in mind.

The recommended tempered laminated glass for the staircase is about 22 millimeters give or take. However, a thicker width is recommended if you plan to go for the frameless glass finish with no metal or steel for extra support.

Go for a triple-layer toughened laminated glass of about 33 millimeters, give or take half a millimeter.

If your glass panels will have tubular support or framing of any sort, then it is safe to go with a tempered laminated glass of about 21-millimeter thickness.

Glass Staircase Systems

Now that you know the clear glass to use for your glass staircase, the next thing to do is think about the stair system that will go well with your style. Here are a few options to consider

The Spiral Glass Staircase

Though the spiral glass staircases come in a variation of spiraling shapes, the most common style features a central post with stair glass panels radiating from it.

Spiral stairs are typical in small spaces and beach houses. Though they may be pretty complicated to maneuver, they have an elegant look and elevate any space.

For practical reasons, it is advised to go with a more circular stair because it is easy to navigate as the curves are more relaxed than the spiral ones.

The Marching  Glass Staircase

These are the most common stairs and are very convenient to use. Marching glass staircases are similar to ladder glass staircases but are gentle on the slope.

Floating Glass Staircase System

Maybe you are looking to go with two designs for the same space. You can pick two staircase design systems and have them done in your area.

Floating glass stairs are incredible, chic, and elegant. The floating design is a breathtaking sight to behold as they feature glass panel treads with no frames, risers, or even parapets. 

The glass panel treads are attached to a wall so that support is hidden to give that floating effect.

Combine  Staircase system

Another excellent glass staircase design system is to combine two of your favorite staircase designs into one.  Ubiquitous customization has enabled everyone to achieve personalized designs of anything they can think of. Glass staircase design is no expectation. 

Think of a combination or come up with several and ask the glass staircase company you are working with to present you with some simulated design types to be entirely sure it is what you want to get made.

Things You Should Know About Glass Stairs

Now that you know the kind of glass best for stairs and have decided on the type of configuration you are going for, you should know a few things about your new investment.

Glass Staircase Require Maintenance

You are probably considering a glass flight of stairs because you love how transparent it looks. Well, to keep it looking that way will require a bit of cleaning.

 Not to panic because a bit of vinegar, some soap, and a soft cloth are all, you need. Abrasive scrubbers are a no. The last thing you need is a pair of annoying scratches on your stair panel.

Safety and Local Building Code

It is essential to consider your local building code stipulation on required and allowed safety glass.

Most building codes will require the tempered laminated glass discussed above in the thicknesses discussed.

But it is good to double-check the building code of your local area and check with your seller to ensure they are giving you the required product.

Budget and Coast

It is a no-brainer that stairs made of glass are not cheap. There is no way around it.  Installing glass stairs comes with a hefty price, rightfully so because this is a safe product, and a lot goes into it to ensure it stays that way.

Though you incur an excellent expense for installing and repairing glass, they are cost-effective in the long run. Glass will look practically the same over a long period.

Professional Installation

There is nothing worse than investing your money in a quality product only to have it messed up during installation. To avoid improper installation, it is essential to work with a company that offers you the glass staircase and complements it with an offer to make the installation.

It assures you that they know and are confident in their product. Improperly installed glass trails can be off-putting and are incredibly unsafe.

Another consideration during installation is the type of framing you intend to use together with your staircase. Use a high-quality product that gives the stairs the necessary support.

Finally, it is crucial to check the company’s track record before making this purchase. Please have a look at their portfolio, reviews, and take a look at some of their previous work to ensure they supply products that are both reliable and stylish.

 Make sure that what they are selling is what you are looking to buy.

Leave a Comment