class="post-template-default single single-post postid-8429 single-format-standard wide">

Cantilever (Floating) Stairs | An Architect Explains

A cantilever is a beam anchored at only one end. Cantilevered Stairs have independent steps which are anchored to a bearing wall or a stringer beam embedded in a wall, with the help of steel pins/bolts. The idea is to  give the impression of  floating stairs.

Cantilevered stairs
Independent treads are cantilevered from wall

HOW ARE CANTILEVERED STEPS FIXED?

bolt cantileverEach step assembly comes with a tread, two brackets, bolts and a telescoping support stud. The stud is installed into a concrete or steel beam with the brackets protruding outward. A wall is then built around the brackets. Then the finished treads are bolted in place. These treads may be of steel or wood or wood clad steel. Cantilever steps need to be designed by a structural engineer, so that they remain horizontal and rigid  with use over time.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MATERIALS USED IN CANTILEVERED STAIRS?

WOODEN CANTILEVER STAIRS:  Rather than use solid wooden steps, wood clad steel studs that are fixed to a steel beam in the wall are used in the example below. But these treads will be thick to accommodate the steel support structure

wood cantilever steps
Wood clad steel studs are fixed to a metal stringer embedded in the wall

To reduce the thickness of the wood steps, you can have solid wooden planks resting on T-section plates that cantilever from the concrete stringer/wall as seen in the image below.

T-section support for cantilevered steps
Solid wooden planks resting on T-sections cantilevered from the wall

Generally, the stringer that supports the steps is hidden inside a wall, so that the cantilevered effect is dramatic. But sometimes, the stringer is exposed as seen here.

cantilever stairs with exposed stringer
Exposed stringer with cantilevered steps

To create a  really dramatic effect, the wooden steps are cantilevered from a feature wall like this.

cantilevered steps from feature wall
Wooden cantilevered steps from a feature wall

In part-cantilever stairs, the steps cantilever out by one-third of the stair’s width. The risers can function as drawers to take advantage of the space underneath.

In Folded Cantilever stairs, the treads are connected to each other with risers, like a ribbon.

folded cantilevered steps
Folded cantilevered steps to highlight the profile of the steps
steel cantilevered staircase
Stainless steel cantilevered folded staircase

STAINLESS STEEL CANTILEVER STAIRS: Stainless steel ribbon stairs are seen here. The glass balustrade reinforces the floating effect.Another type is the T-shaped steel tread which is anchored into a steel beam in the wall.

glass steelglass steel 2
GLASS CANTILEVER STAIRS:  Nowadays, Glass treads are becoming popular in homes as they allow sunlight to filter down the different levels. The glass treads are at least 32 mm thick and made of toughened glass.

glass cantilever staircase
Toughened glass cantilevered steps
concrete cantilever steps
Concrete slabs cantilevered from wall

STONE TREAD, CONCRETE CANTILEVER STAIRS: Other examples include cantilevered steel treads with stone tops or  concrete steps that project from a concrete wall. Advantages of Cantilevered steps:
They appear light.
They allow light into the different levels.
The impression is of a floating effect.

Disadvantages of Cantilevered steps:
They do not appear to be very strong and sturdy.
They may sag at the ends.
A balustrade is often avoided to reinforce the floating effect. But this is dangerous.
You may feel that your feet will slip through the gaps between the stairs.

light streaming through cantilever steps
Cantilevered steps allow light through the gaps

So, there are different styles possible with the Cantilever staircase. The same holds good for other types of stairs such as Two stringer and Centre-stringer stairs.

If you found this post useful, I would really love it if you pin it or share it. I have not blocked the site just because your ad blocker is switched on because I hope my content will be useful to you. But I am able to run this site only because of the ads. So I will be obliged if you turn off your ad blocker. Thank you!

Related topics:

 

 

2 thoughts on “Cantilever (Floating) Stairs | An Architect Explains

  • November 30, 2013 at 5:55 am
    Permalink

    Is a cantilevered staircase much more expensive than a traditionally built equivalent?
    Hi Steve,
    By ‘traditionally built equivalent’, I am assuming you mean a ‘two-stringer staircase’. While the latter requires two stringers (supporting beams), the cantilever stairs need just one, which is embedded in the wall from which the steps are cantilevered. But then the steps have to be anchored to the stringer beam, with the help of steel pins/bolts and have to be designed by a structural engineer, so that they remain horizontal and rigid with use over time. Therefore, cantilever steps are more expensive.
    Admin

  • May 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm
    Permalink

    i have made a cantilever staircase at my home with a metal pipe in the centre. the upper surface of the stairs is of marble. please advise what to do at the back of the stairs.
    thanks
    Hi Deepak,
    What is resting on the central metal pipe- marble slabs or some other material? I need more details
    Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *