If you’re looking to build or renovate your home, you might be considering a floating staircase. They look modern and can let lots of light into your room. In addition, they often take up less space compared to standard staircases, which can help your room feel larger and more open. One concern many people have with floating staircases is their safety. In this article, we look at the safety of floating staircases so you can make the right decision for your home or design project.
Unlike standard staircases floating stairs have a space between each of the steps, leaving a gap where you can see all the way to the ground. This is a common cause for concern as this gap is a potential hazard for small children and pets. There are certain regulations in place that restrict the size of the gaps between the stairs. These regulations are designed to protect children from falling through the stairs; any child that is old enough to climb the stairs should be too large to fall through the gap. When it comes to small pets, you may need to take extra precautions to protect them if you install a floating staircase. Children shouldn’t be left alone with stairs of any size or shape until they’re old enough to climb them safely and independently. Stair gates can be used to prevent children from climbing on floating staircases in an open-plan room.
Although floating staircases don’t look as strong as standard stairs, they’re more than capable of handling large loads of weight. This means you shouldn’t have an issue when you’re carrying furniture items up and down stairs. Most staircases will be tested thoroughly to ensure they can handle large amounts of weight. You can check this with the staircase manufacturer; they should be able to give you a weight limit that will put your mind at ease.
Most healthy, able adults will be able to walk up a floating staircase with no handrail safely, but it could cause issues for children, the elderly or those with disabilities movement issues. Some floating staircases have no bannister; this can be more dangerous than a staircase with a handrail. If safety is a big concern, you should add a bannister to either side of your floating staircases. Two bannisters on either side of the staircase are the safest option; they can be created to keep with the floating staircase's design, so you won’t lose out on aesthetics by adding a handrail or two.
Floating staircases can cause concerns for people that are worried about slipping and falling down the stairs. Compared to traditional staircases that are often covered with carpet, wooden floating staircases can pose a higher risk of slipping. A good-sized handrail should be used that is easy to grip; when used, this can prevent people from slipping and falling. You can also add no-slip strips to the stairs; these will add extra grip and help prevent falls. Never polish wooden stairs, as this will make them more slippery, which is something you want to avoid. Shoes and bare feet are also the better options when walking up and down any wooden stairs; wearing socks alone can make the stairs more dangerous.
As a general rule, stairs can be dangerous; there is a risk of falling down any type of stairs if you misplace your step or aren’t paying attention. Floating staircases add a small amount of extra risk, but accidents can be avoided with careful use. Many homeowners and designers believe the added impact of the design is worth the small additional risk. People also tend to pay more attention when walking up and down floating staircases because they’re perceived as more dangerous; this can mean they’re less likely to fall.
If you’re planning to add a floating staircase to your home, you can make them safer by ensuring you have two bannisters on either side of the stairs and adding grip strips to the steps. Always use a child gate with any stairs if you have small children or pets that could fall on or down the staircase.