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8 Different Glass Staircases for Your Home and Office

8 Different Glass Staircases for Your Home and Office
19 Jul 2023

Among the main features of using glass staircases are handrails and railings which can help to avoid injuries and falls. The staircase parts are made from various materials which include – wood, metal or glass, for getting visual effects. The kind of stair railing and type of handrail used will have an impact on the appearance of the staircase.

Know the difference between handrail versus railing

Handrail and railing are two parts of staircase which usually get confused with one another.

A handrail or a banister is staircase part that people usually hold onto for the support they need when going upward and downward the stairs. The handrail should have stability and constant guide along the stair. A handrail is generally made of different materials which are either attached to a wall, extend from stair rail side or sit on top of balusters on the open side of staircase.

On the other hand, a railing is the barrier that prevents people so they do not fall off the side of stairs. A railing has to be strong enough to resist breaking when someone falls or say, pushes on it. Railings are generally made of various materials and fashioned in different styles from simple vertical posts which form a balustrade to recent cable railing.

Best material for stair handrails & railings

The right kind of material for handrails and railings will depend on the environment of the staircase and desired look. Metals such as aluminium, steel and wrought iron are great choices for commercial and industrial settings and environments where wood has classic appearance. Glass is generally used when the view beyond railing is important.


Steel is a material for handrails and railings for commercial stairs and industrial glass staircases. Steel is considered to be the best material for stair stringers. In order to avoid rusting, stainless or galvanized steel is usually used. Galvanized steel has been coated with zinc to avoid acidic materials from causing damage to steel. Also, chromium, molybdenum, nickel and nickel, nitrogen can be added together with stainless steel so that the metal may resist decomposition.

Steel stair handrail applications

Steel handrails can be used in almost any environment. A galvanized steel or powder coated handrail is a great option for the preassembled industrial applications where the other stairs components can be made of steel. In the case of residential and commercial areas, these handrails offer modern and sophisticated look. Stainless steel handrails are used with railings made of other materials such as glass for creating elegant design.

Steel stair railing applications

Steel railings are used in different settings such as – residential, commercial and industrial. They act as more functional when it is used in industrial environments. For houses and offices, stainless steel railings render clean lines and contemporary appearance. They may be used with different handrail materials like wood for creating desired effect.

Pros of steel stair handrail and railing

  • Steel is very strong and known for its durability which makes it the safest materials to use for railings and handrails.
  • Steel may be coated with liquid paints, primers and powder coatings to improve performance.
  • Galvanized and stainless steel need less maintenance and can be cleaned with mild detergent and sponge
  • Steel is versatile and weather resistant material used inside or outside.


Aluminum is a natural element with lower density than other metals, making it lightweight in comparison to steel. Aluminum appears like silver and is reflective. It is naturally resistant to corrosion and rust without any further treatment.

Aluminum stair handrail applications

Aluminum handrails may be found in different settings. They can be used both inside and outside homes, industrial settings and commercial buildings.

Aluminum stair railing applications

Aluminum stair railings can be used outside for decks and entrance steps. But they may be indoors in any kind of building of facility.

Advantages of aluminum stair handrail and railing

  • Unlike steel, aluminum is strong and durable and may be used for creating a safe environment.
  • Aluminum can withstand the harshest weather environments and needs little maintenance.
  • As aluminum is lighter than steel, it is easy to install and suitable for Do It Yourself projects.
  • Due to light weight, aluminum is easy to cut than steel. It can be found in an extensive range of patterns and designs.
  • Aluminum handrails and railings are powder coated to offer a collection of colour options.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is an alloy of iron that has low carbon content. The demand for this material is used to attain decorative effect. Nowadays, wrought iron is not made on mass scale and can be produced for replication and restoration of historic work. Most products are made of mild steel that has low content of carbon.

Wrought iron stair handrail applications

Wrought iron handrails are used for the indoor as well as outdoor staircases in houses and commercial buildings. They can be used on both curved and straight stairs.

Wrought iron railing applications

The railings can be found in private residences and office buildings. They are used in both exterior and interior applications. Wrought iron balusters are generally used together with wood handrails for attaining dramatic and sophisticated effect.

Pros of wrought iron handrail and railing

  • It is extremely versatile and can be used to attain a wide array of looks ranging from sleek modern style to elaborate leaves or scrolls.
  • Wrought iron offers better strength and stability to staircases.
  • Wrought iron handrails and railings are powder coated in a wide range of colours.


Wood is a classic material used for handrails and railings. Some popular woods are red oak which is easy to stain, sand, finish and white oak which is harder more water resistant. Ash, cherry, cypress, mahogany and other woods may be used for glass panelled staircase handrails and railings.

Wood stair handrail applications

Wooden handrails can be found in the houses and residential buildings. Choosing wooden handrails may differ from the decks to garage stairs and grand staircases in the case of old homes. But wooden handrails are used with modern railing materials like glass or metal for unique style.

Wood stair railing applications

Wood railings are generally found in traditionally styled residences, buildings, and entryways. They can be used in the indoors and outside on the decks and other exterior structures, when treated in a proper way. Unlike wooden handrails, the wood railings are combined together with other kinds of materials for constructing contemporary staircase.

Pros of choosing wood stair handrail and railing

  • Wood handrails and railings have natural beauty that they offer to the environment.
  • Wood may be used to achieve various appearances as it can be fashioned in any shape. It can even be stained to match your décor or painted to any desired colour.
  • Since wood is affordable to purchase and install, it is a good choice for Do It Yourself remodelling projects.
  • Wood handrails and railings are easy to clean and maintain.


Though glass may not be a safe material to use in staircase designing, it is much tougher than its appearance. It is available in the form of clear, frosted, etched, tinted and semi-transparent glass.

Glass stair handrail applications

Glass is not used for stair handrails. Other materials like metal or wood are used for handrails with glass railings.

Glass stair railing applications

Glass railings may be used in exteriors or interiors and are found in houses and commercial buildings. The glass panels used for stair railing can be partially or completely framed with aluminium or stainless steel or they may be frameless.

Pros with glass stair handrail and railing

  • Glass railings are easy to clean.
  • They allow natural light and make the room more spacious.
  • These provide safety barrier without obstructing the view.
  • These act in the form of wind barrier when used outdoors.

Different railings types for the stairs

Staircase railings are made from different materials such as – metal, glass and wood. There are different stairs railing designs which may range from classic picket railing to cable railing or say, panels.

Multi-line stair railing

These comprise of horizontal tubes or rods that expand from railing post to railing post. The tubes or rods may be of different sizes, styles and materials to reflect your desired look.

Multi-line stair railing applications

Multi-line railings can be used in the commercial and industrial buildings for equipment access stairs and egress stairways.

Benefits of choosing multi-line stair railing

  • Multi-line railings offer cleaner look for egress stairs.
  • The tubes and rods used for multi-line railings may be changed to meet with designing needs of different projects.

Picket stair railing

Picket railing includes vertical posts for supporting handrail. The posts will then be attached to stair treads at the bottom. Pickets are made of metal or wood. These are ornately designed or may be just posts.

Picket railing applications

Picket staircase railings are common type of railings and used everywhere from residential homes to commercial buildings and industrial plants. Picket railings can be used either indoor or outdoor.

Pros of picket railing

  • These railings are easy to install and inexpensive to manufacture
  • They typically do not need maintenance after the installation than wiping them down from time to time.
  • These can be found in different sty;es, sizes and colours that will match with almost any environment.

Cable stair staircase railing

These railings use high tension, vertical or horizontal metal cables than panels or pickets for a barrier on the side of the stairs. Cable railing may be used with several handrail and new post materials such as wood, steel and aluminum.

Cable stair railing applications

Cable railing may be used on the exterior as well as interior staircases and is used to offer modern look to houses and commercial buildings.

Pros of cable stair railing

  • They offer unobstructed view as cable is much thinner than the traditional pickets.
  • Unlike other metal railings, these are strong, durable and easy to maintain requiring occasional clearing.
  • They are extremely versatile and configured to any space with a wide variety of post types, finishes and cable tension kits.

Wire mesh railing

These railings include panels of wire welded to four-sided frame and attached to railing system. They can be made from different metals like aluminium and stainless steel. This kind of railing is custom manufactured to fulfil desired mesh or opening size, panel size and wire diameter.

Wire mesh infill stair railing applications

This type of railing can be used in industrial settings and high traffic commercial areas such as colleges, shopping areas and stadiums. They may be chosen for the residential deck-based stairs.

Pros of wire mesh infill stair railing

  • Wire mesh infill railing offers effective barrier but provides visibility and allows for ventilation.
  • There is no maintenance needed for staircases with wire mesh infill railing.
  • These may be made of natural metal or painted to match any space.
  • High end materials, like copper may be used for a sophisticated look.

Panel stair railing

These are similar to that of wire mesh infill railing and can be installed into the railing system. They are usually made of glass though can be made of open metal bars.

Panel stair railing applications

Glass panel railing is usually used outdoors and can be used inside too. The metal panel railing has an extensive range of residential and commercial uses.

Pros of choosing panel stair railing

  • These offer exceptional view and provide protection against wind when used outside.
  • Metal panels have been designed in different styles which can attain customized look.
  • Despite the material, panel railings are easy to maintain.

Different kinds of handrails for stairs

Handrails are made from an extensive range of materials like wood and various metals. But there are two different types of handrail design only – integrated and wall mounted.

Wall-mounted handrail

They are attached to the wall and can be used for an incorporated handrail with railings. These handrails are made with round pipe or tube. In the case of wood handrails, mopstick and pigs ear are two styles of these handrails. Pigs ear handrails have been shaped like animal’s ear when viewed from the side and are then secured directly to the wall without any brackets. On the other hand, mopstick handrails can be secured to the wall with brackets and are more decorative in nature.

Wall-mounted handrail applications

These can be used on the wall or closed side of staircase. They are used on either one or both sides of a staircase.

Guardrail-mounted handrail

This type of handrail mounts to the guardrail and extends out into the path of egress to offer support for the user to grab onto separate from your guardrail.

Guardrail mounted handrail applications

These can be used on the open side of staircase and on one or both sides of the staircase.

Integrated handrail

Integrated handrails remain on the top of stair railing and form a part of the balustrade. Each end of handrail can be supported at every end by the newel post. Integrated handrails which are made from wood may be grooved or ungrooved. When choosing grooved handrails, the railing sits within the grove of handrail. Alternatively with ungrooved handrails, the railing can be screwed or bracketed into the handrail. Most building codes such as – ADA, OSHA and IBC need separate guardrail-mounted handrail and do not allow integrated handrail.

Integrated handrail applications

Integrated handrails can be used on the open side of stair case without any wall. These are on one or both sides of a staircase and not allowed by most building codes.

Stair railings and handrails are made of different materials such as – wood, metal and glass. These materials can be used for each component to attain a variety of interesting and visually appealing styles. Railing styles, which range from traditional pickets to modern cable wire, can impact the appearance of the staircase. Like printed glass splashbacks are used to create the perfect feature for your kitchen, handrail styles can affect staircase appearance though depend mainly on whether the staircase is open or close.