Updated March 23, 2019
You’ve reached the stage of life where you’re not afraid to express yourself.
You’ve reached the stage of life where you’re not going to put up with bad design.
You’ve reached the stage of life where you can finally spend some money on you, your wife or significant other (not just the kids anymore).
These qualities of expressing yourself, demanding remarkable design and having a few dollars to splurge on yourself, fit homeowners who use glass flooring and glass stairs to a tee. If they were looking for cheap, boring and run of the mill they WOULD NOT be installing a horizontal glass feature.
Yes – owners of glass floors will use glass bridges and decks for ordinary reasons (moving light from one level to another)– but usually they are installing this product to create an extraordinary experience. And when you look at it– shouldn’t life be about creating extraordinary experiences anyway?
If you’ve ever walked on the glass floors at the CN Tower or the Tinamen Mountain in China, you’d know ‘pedestrian’ would not describe that experience! Wild, wow – (or, it could make me pee my pants) would be more fitting – depending on your perspective.
While glass flooring is a remarkable product, many people are confused by them. IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)– they are a ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not” flooring system if there ever was one.
In this article I’d like to take you on a ‘glass floor and stairs’ walking journey. You’ll learn 6 things which are truly remarkable about glass floors and stair treads. At the end there will be a quiz. No, it won’t be the dreaded ‘pop quiz’ you sweated over in Junior High math class. In this quiz, I simply want you to tell me which of these 6 points is most remarkable to you. Now – let’s step out onto the glass floor ledge (sounds exhilarating and scary – doesn’t it?) and see what’s so cool about these floors.
Remarkable Thing #1 – Glass floors can support 2x as much weight as a wood floor
When most people step out onto a glass floor they approach it gingerly – like at any moment they’re worried… THIS BABY’S GOING TO BLOW!
You don’t need to cautiously walk on a glass floor (insert warning label here – IF it is properly designed).
Since glass floors use tempered and laminated glass (there is a layer – or layers of lamination to create strength between the glass pieces) and are installed on pre-engineered aluminum framing systems, they are tested to be 2x as strong as a wood floor. You can jump up and down on it and not worry about falling through to the level below. If that did happen, it would be not be a good day. These sports cars prove glass floors aren’t as fragile as you may think.
Remarkable Thing #2 – Glass stairs can float
If you’re a Modernist, a Contemporist or Minimalist there is something enticing about building products – and entire homes for that matter – which appear to float in space. They create an architectural look which are not be denied.
Floating shelves are one prime example. You’ll see them in virtually every room in the house. They are popping up in kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, home offices and dens in suburban to urban homes.
A natural big brother to floating shelves are floating staircases. They provide a sense of openness joining floor levels. These remarkable designs are more eye-catching when you have a floating glass floor which doesn’t block light from one level to another. Floating glass takes the ‘floating concept’ to a new level. Check out this floating glass staircase in a modern home and a close up view of the system:
Remarkable Thing # 3 – Colored cast glass floors can be designed as horizontal pieces of art
When you see an awe-inspiring piece of art, you’re usually looking straight ahead at a wall. However, art can be on every plane imaginable (floors, ceilings – wherever). Cast glass floors can become a piece of art moving colored light from one level to another. A luxury suburban home, a downtown loft or even a yacht can gain another level of wow factor with a section of colored cast glass floor art. If you want your home to express you, there is no better way than through art.
Remarkable Thing #4 – Glass floors allow you to display… you
I have a cousin, Frank Foti, who has been passionate about trains since he was a little kid ‘laying track’ with his Dad (my Uncle Sam). What’s fun and unique about Frank (and if you know Frank the dude is fun and unique to the max) is his passion for trains. Even though he is a “really old” 60-year-old guy (sorry to bust your hump Frank) leading a successful company called Telos Systems, he still makes time for his passions.
You’ll find Frank on the weekends running his miniature steam engine through the tracks at Penitentiary Glen Park in Kirtland Ohio. He delights big ‘kids’ and little kids alike. If you check out Frank’s Facebook account, he even talks about his trains like they are members of the family (OK – Frank is a bit touched – but in runs in my family – ha! ha!).
Frank displays his passions for the world to see. Take a virtual ride on Frank’s steam engine by clicking below.
While Frank has his ‘toy’ steam engine to display his passions, glass floors can be an excellent tool to display your passions as well. Maybe you’re a wine connoisseur and want others to visually see your wine cellar below. Perhaps you’re a baseball fanatic (with a capital F) and want to display the jerseys of your favorite players you purchased at an auction for waaaaay too much money. My cousin Frank will love this image below – since he’s a big Cleveland Indians fan.
Why keep your passions hidden? Take Frank’s example. Live life out loud.
Remarkable Thing #5 – Glass floors can brighten up a dark space
I’ll admit a weird thing about me (OK – if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you already now, there’s a lot of really weird things about me!). I wish I had no North elevation in my house. Now, how you could have any structure without at least one dark side of your house I don’t know. However, I’m a sunlight worshiper. I should have been born in the sunshine state of Florida – but I still love the too-often-gloomy Ohio. With this being said, I embrace every drop of sunlight I can find. I’m the guy who wants to keep the blinds up. My wife wants them down, so you don’t see how streaky the windows are. OK – what does sunlight have to do with glass floors you may be asking?
One of the key feature about glass floors and stairs is their ability to move light from one level to another. For example, if you install a wood deck and now your basement or patio below feels like a dungeon – a glass floor deck is a fun solution (especially if you put LED lighting around it so it can shine at night).
For homes on tight lots (urban in-fill projects come to mind) you may have limited opportunities for windows on the side of your home. Consider moving light through floor levels with a floor inside your home.
If you can’t move to Florida – you still don’t have to settle for dark spaces inside (or outside) your home.
Remarkable Thing #6 – Glass floors and treads don’t cost as much as raising a kid
I wish I could tell you glass floors and stairs are ‘cheap date’ and everyone could afford them. If I did I would resemble Fletcher Reede (Jim Carey’s part of the conniving attorney in the movie Liar Liar). I will tell you buying a glass floor is cheaper than raising a kid (which is now estimated at a whopping $233,610). Parker, Jade and Grant (AKA my kids – ‘er should I say young adults), are you reading this???
Seriously though – it would be nice to say glass floors are cost-effective, but let’s call them what they are – a luxury item. For this project you’ll want to budget between $200 to $225 per square foot for a complete glass floor system (with the laminated glass panels and a framing system to go around the perimeter) and between $700 to $950 per stair tread (or up if you have a specialty shape or design) and bracket.
Glass floors and stairs aren’t cheap – but they are super-cool.
The ‘Non-Pop’ Quiz
I told you at the beginning of this article there would be a ‘non-pop’ quiz at the end. So, out of all 6 remarkable things about glass floors and stairs discussed above which is the coolest to you? You don’t have to get out your sharpened #2 pencil, but it would be nice if you could comment or give me (or a member of my team) a call at the numbers below.
Conclusion and connecting with me and my team
Even if you aren’t in the market for a glass floor or stair system, I hope you learned some entertaining and remarkable things about this inspirational – and aspirational product.
If I (or any member of my team) can ‘fill in the blanks’ on your questions about glass flooring, decking, bridges or stairs please call Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. If you’re interested in glass products – like glass block walls, glass block windows or even glass counters give us a call. We’re excited to talk to you.
If you’re a remodeler or builder and want practical advice on remodeling products, industry trends, marketing and sales tips to grow your business (and cut day to day hassles), start reading my newest blog – Innovate Builders Blog. It’s packed with ideas you can use now. Click here to Sign Up for the Innovate Builders Blog.
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