Building Materials

Get In Step with the Latest in Stairway Design

Four significant trends have surfaced in stairway design, and we and other manufacturers are shaping our product lines to respond.

Four significant trends have surfaced in stairway design, and we and other manufacturers are shaping our product lines to respond.

First, of course, is the expanding awareness among remodelers, architects, designers, and homeowners that a stairway CAN be a design element. It’s quite common for us to hear comments like “I never thought of a stairway as a design element. But now I do.”

Unveiling stairways as an architectural feature has long been common in some commercial buildings (especially in the hospitality segment) and in a few upscale homes. But the logistics of design and engineering coupled with high built-on-site installation costs limited the market for high-quality, design-centric stairways. Our dedicated design/engineering teams and focused manufacturing techniques have dramatically lowered the lead time and installation costs for modern stairs and railings.

Secondly, glass infill has become much more popular. There is nothing more minimalist than glass railing on a stairway, balcony or deck. It’s totally transparent, and people are excited to discover how the security of a solid railing system can transform their living space.

Our surface-mount, side-mount, base rail and standoff pin systems are all designed to hide every possible piece of hardware and every possible fastener. Yet the solid glass panels provide safety and make a very effective windbreak.

Rod railing is trending with many consumers, and is even becoming more popular than standard cable railing. Our Onyx rail’s matte black finish really fades into the background visually. It’s a look you simply can’t achieve with cable railing.

Onyx rod railing is made from powder coated 1/4” diameter 2205 stainless steel. Rod railing provides a smoother, sleeker appearance than cable. It installs in about half the time of cable, and doesn’t deflect or require frequent re-tensioning. The smooth surface does not attract and hold dust and dirt, and easily wipes clean.

The fourth significant trend we’ve identified is the emergence of floating stairs with closed risers. Some people love the continuous look and the more substantial appearance. Still, there is no visible means of support underneath these stairs, creating an open look and adding more usable space to a room.

Anchored only to the floor and to a header at the top of the stairway, a rigid steel stringer is completely hidden inside the stacked wooden boxes. With the underside of the stairway completely open, a terraced stairway rises cleanly from one floor to the next.

Len Morris

Len Morris is owner and product visionary at Viewrail, Goshen, In. (www.viewrail.com).

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