Glass floors and staircases

Perfect for bringing light into basements, glass flooring and staircases also create a contemporary feel in a new-build home

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Featured image: This basement room by Robert Dye Architects is made as light as possible with the use of glazing in the balustrade, matched with clever lighting that highlights each tread and the niches in the wall.

Design considerations

‘Toughened safety glass can be used to create walk-on flat rooflights, floors or stair treads,’ says experienced renovator Michael Holmes. ‘This can make a dramatic feature for landings, mezzanines and especially for balconies if they overhang water or a large drop. Give consideration to privacy when adding glass flooring. It is possible to get fire glass without wire mesh embedded in it that will meet building regulation requirements between floors and around staircases.’

‘Structural glazing, such as glass flooring, can look amazing,’ says Robert Dye. ‘There are lots of situations where it can be used effectively, such as flooring a garden deck to let light into a basement, or in an internal room to let light into the room below. These are all highly specialised and engineered.’

‘Glass balustrades give a wonderful feeling of space and light,’ says David Cummings. ‘They can be fitted anywhere a barrier is required, outside or in. All freestanding glass must be toughened and laminated. Glass staircases can be very effective – in order to provide slip-resistance, the stair treads will have an embossed top layer.’

‘Using glass in a staircase does not dictate that it has to be a contemporary design,’ says Richard McClane, design director of Bisca. ‘I’ve just completed one with traditional risers and treads – all in glass – over a waterwheel in a converted mill.’

What are the costs?

‘As a guide, freestanding structural glass is approximately £670 per square metre, and stainless-steel handrails and glass systems from around £520 per square metre,’ says David Cummings. Richard McClane says Bisca’s glass floors start at around £5,000.

Glass floor with square-cut frosted design

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing.