Glass staircases have become an increasingly popular design feature in residential and commercial settings alike. They provide a clean, modern feel and can be paired with timber or stainless steel to create a striking and functional centrepiece. But are glass staircases safe?
Due to the association of glass with frailty, many people are left wondering if glass staircases are actually safe or simply a case of form over function. If you’re wondering the same, read on.
Glass staircases are made from safety glass
To ensure that they are capable of standing up to everyday use, staircases are fabricated with safety glass. You come across safety glass every day, as it is used in cars, shower cubicles, mobile phone screens and more.
Tempered glass (also known as toughened glass) is manufactured by heating the glass to around 600°C and then rapidly cooling one side while letting the other side cool more slowly. This means that one side contracts more than the other, giving a balance of compressive stress on the surface and tensile stress in the body.
This stress gives the glass increased strength, preventing it from breaking as easily. Also, should the glass be shattered, it will break into lots of small, more rounded pieces rather than the large sharp shards that you might expect from broken glass.
Laminated glass may also be used in glass staircases, especially for freestanding panels or balustrades. This is another form of safety glass that holds together when shattered. It is made by sandwiching a layer of PVB or EVA in between two layers of glass.
Under impact, the glass breaks in a spiderweb pattern, and the pieces are held in place by the middle layer. This means that the glass retains its preventing pieces from falling.
Add non-slip features to glass staircase treads
If you’re concerned that glass stair treads will be too slippery, you can add various non-slip features for peace of mind.
Grip strips or rubber can be added to the treads to minimise slipping. Metal or wood can be incorporated to improve grip while upholding the aesthetic of the staircase.
Frosted glass has a rougher surface, providing better grip while retaining the minimalist design of the glass. This could be incorporated as a simple strip or as a design feature, such as a decorative pattern on the treads.
The same effect could be achieved with etched glass, though this would be more complicated and would be reflected in the cost.
Safe manufacture and installation of glass staircases
All of our glass staircases are carefully manufactured to ensure that they adhere to all relevant safety standards.
- BS EN 12150 for toughened glass
- BS EN 14449 laminated glass
- BS 5395: Part 2, 1984 for spiral and helical staircases
- Building Regulations: Approved Document K for straight staircases
We always use safety glass and ensure that it is carefully manufactured and free from sharp edges, chips or cracks. We also only use high-quality timber and British steel to provide exceptional staircases that will last a lifetime.
Our dedicated delivery team transports our staircases with the utmost care, so everything reaches you in perfect condition. After that, our installation team will get to work, fitting your glass staircase and making sure that no detail is missed.