Fashion Forward: Glass Stairs Make a Stylish Statement

Never were the words “watch your step” more true than they are today. The increasing options for glass walking surfaces have allowed architects and designers to bring the sleek look of glass, so fashionable on the walls, to the floors below. Such is the case for the Le Chataeu clothing store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which opened in 2012. There, not only are the latest looks all around, but the store’s entire aesthetic is in season with its glassy staircase one of the main attention-grabbers. The Le Chateau worked with its own in-house architect on the design, which was ultimately installed by glazing contractor EeStairs headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, which worked closely with the design team.

anti-slip acid-etched glass Le Chateau 9

“In terms of the project we provided them with several services starting with an initial rendering where we re-designed the staircase,” says Nathan Koppelaar, creative director for EeStairs. “We then worked with RJC Consulting Engineers to engineer the staircase and all the glass. After this we fabricated the stainless steel stringers, and the stainless railing track. We also worked with Accura Glass Bending in Toronto, who laminated and tempered the glass treads with a non-slip/privacy surface finish by Walker Glass.”

Koppelaar says the major challenge with this project was timing.

“We had eight weeks from approved drawings to completion, so it was a major push, but we were able to complete this three days prior to the grand opening of the store,” he says. “The main challenge in terms of the glass was finding a product that could provide both a rated non-slip surface and a privacy factor. This was achieved using the Walker products.”

The top layer of the tread incorporates acid-etched glass pattern 406 from the Walker Textures Traction product line. The 406 acid-etched pattern is designed to provide a high slip-resistant coefficient based on two test methods: ANSI/NFSI B101.1 “Test Method for Measuring wet SCOF of Common Hard-Surface Floor Materials,” and ASTM C1028 “Standard Test Method for Determining the Static Coefficient of Friction of Ceramic Tile and Other Like Surfaces by the Horizontal Dynamometer Pull-Meter Method.”

The composition of each stair is three layers of 10-mm clear glass, heat-strengthened laminated with a .015 interlayer. Walker Glass supplied about 200 square feet of 10-mm clear glass with the 406 acid-etched pattern, which was used as the walking surface.

Brian Medinski, owner of Accura Glass, says his company frequently does stair tread projects, but this was the first time they had worked with this particular Walker project, which was introduced in 2011.

“On this particular project we got started on it [soon] after Walker introduced this anti-slip texture on heavy glass,” says Medinski. “We also do a lot of work with EeStairs, a lot of staircase projects, and have done a variety of stair tread applications for them over the years. They are very professional and the information [they provide us] is always 100 percent.”

When it comes to glass designs for walking surfaces, though, there are many considerations to keep in mind. According to Walker, some important features when using acid-etched glass in a flooring application include the ability to combine discretion and security without impeding the natural flow of light.