What Are Floating Stairs?

Staircases have long been considered a focal point of residential architecture. Today, homeowners tend to favor sleek staircases with clean lines as opposed to the more ornate styles of the past. In recent years, floating staircases have become a staple of luxury home design. At Keuka Studios, we have a unique design process that allows for complete customization of floating stairs. To make things easier for our customers, we ship our completed staircases right to your work site. If you’re interested in transforming your home with a new staircase, keep reading to learn about our floating stair styles and pertinent building code requirements.

“What Are Floating Stairs?” and Other Common Questions:

What are floating stairs?

Of course, floating staircases don’t actually float. Despite our best efforts, we can’t defy gravity. But we have mastered the design and fabrication of stairs with a light and minimalist appearance. We define floating stairs as any staircase with open risers. This means that the stair treads are not connected to one another. Rather, they are connected by one or more stair stringers that run beneath the treads or along the side/sides.

What are the different styles of floating stairs?

At the most basic level, the most popular stair styles are straight stairs, L-shaped stairs, U-shaped stairs, winder stairs, spiral stairs, curved stairs, and cantilevered Stairs. You can learn more about each stair style here.

What differentiates stair types?

While all floating staircases have open risers in common, they come in many different shapes and sizes. There are two main factors that differentiate stair styles from one another: 1) The position and number of stair stringers, and 2) The directional run of the staircase. At Keuka Studios, we design open-riser staircases of any variation, so long as they meet the standards of your local building codes. For examples, take a look at a few stair options below:

U shaped mono stinger custom stairs by Keuka Studios

U-Shaped, Mono-Stringer Stairs

Straight double stringer stairs by Keuka Studios

Straight, Double-Stringer Stairs

Cantilevered stairs by Keuka Studios

Straight, Cantilevered Stairs

L shaped floating stairs by Keuka Studios

L-Shaped, Double-Stringer Stairs

Zigzag double stringer stairs by Keuka Studios

Straight, Zigzag Double-Stringer Stairs

U shaped enclosed double stringer staircase by Keuka Studios

U-Shaped, Enclosed Double-Stringer Stairs

Are floating stairs safe?

Yes. When properly engineered and accompanied by a suitable railing system, floating staircases are safe alternatives to traditional stairs. By following the applicable building codes, safety concerns are all but alleviated. To ensure the safety of our floating staircases, Keuka Studios does the following:

-We control the amount of space under each tread. This can be achieved with thick treads or by adding a steel lip, cables, mesh, or glass. Through these means, we can ensure the safety of the stairs while maintaining their openness and allowing the passage of light through the stairs.

-Keuka Studios follows all the typical building code requirements concerning stair openings, guardrail clearances, tread rise, tread run, handrail size, etc.

-Our skilled engineers closely review the structural rigidity of each staircase’s steel support system. This is important for safety, but also greatly affects how the stairs feel when you walk up or down them. Some stairs may appear simple but have complex support structures. For example, cantilevered stairs often have hardware hidden within the walls.