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Floating / Cantilevered Staircase Information Centre

What is a cantilevered or floating staircase?

Cantilevered staircases are not uncommon if you know where to look. The term floating stairs is not strictly true, as the stairs do not really float, but rather give the impression that the treads are floating against the wall. Instead, these are stairs installed using minimal components and usually have the steps or treads open on one side. At their most basic, you will have nothing more than staircase treads – literally coming out of the wall. With a typically floating staircase, you attach the treads to a wall which is done by driving the treads into it, or using a bracket to give the staircase treads support. You can save space in your room without seeing unsightly frames and that gives an excellent auro of space and light.

Everyone has seen a cantilevered staircase, usually an elegant, flowing sweep of stairs in an 18th century building, and yet they are still intriguing. Why, you might ask, are there so few 19th century examples in England? And how could a brittle piece of stone project 1,200 or 1,500mm out from a wall without snapping in two? The answer to the latter is that the stone treads are not cantilevers. The term is a misnomer although it remains in common usage.


What is the history behind floating staircase treads?

The first ever cantilevered or floating staircase was reported to have been constructed in the UK and is believed to be the Tulip Staircase in the Queen's House at Greenwich

. The inspiration for this magnificent luxury staircase was the work of Andrea Palladio who, over 60 years previous, had illustrated various forms of spiral and stone staircases. You can see this information in the 1st book of his Quattro Libri, which primarily explored ancient Roman architecture and inspired generations after it. Specifically he mentioned a very classic example which is the 'void in the middle' at 'Santa Maria Rotunda' (the Pantheon), Rome. 'Winding staircases', he wrote, 'succeed very well that are void in the middle, because they can have the light from above, and those that are at the top of the stairs see all those that come up or begin to ascend, and are likewise seen by them'. He continued to write; 'I have made a staircase void in the middle, in the monastery de la Carita in Venice, which succeeds admirably'. He thought that stone cantilevered stairs were elegant examples of Roman work, and used them in his designs in continuation of the classical tradition.


Where can I buy floating staircases in the UK?

If you are looking to buy a cantilevered staircase in the UK, you should look no further than The Floating Staircase Company. Based in Middlesex, they offer supply and fitting of all types of staircases in wood metal and glass tread applications. They offer budget staircase solutions as well as luxury custom made staircases to your exacting specifications. This makes the Floating Staircase Company the best place to purchase floating stairs in the UK.

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