Interior Flooring

Here’s Every Factor That Affects Floating Staircase Cost

Traditional staircases don’t have the same eye-catching appeal as ones that seem to hover in midair. An average floating staircase cost typically falls between $8,000 and $12,000, with most homeowners spending around $10,000.
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How Much Does a Floating Staircase Cost?


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  • A typical floating staircase cost is around $10,000, but it could range from $8,000 to $12,000.
  • The cost to install a floating staircase depends on key factors, such as the shape, size, materials, railings, labor rates, customizations, and any structural modifications needed.
  • Homeowners who install floating staircases enjoy customizable modern designs that optimize space and are easy to install and maintain.
  • Staircases have strict building regulations for safety reasons, so it’s best to have a qualified professional install a floating staircase to ensure that it’s anchored properly and that the treads are spaced evenly.
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Floating stairs, or cantilevered stairs, are a unique design element that brings a modern touch to a home. Architects and interior designers can suggest many ways for customized floating stairs to fit the aesthetic of the home while providing a functional design element. They’ll consider the type of material, the railings, and the stringer style as they bring a homeowner’s vision to life. Floating staircase cost is typically higher than the cost of traditional stairs, ranging from $8,000 to $12,000, with a national average cost of $10,000, according to Angi.

Installing a floating staircase involves several cost considerations, such as the staircase shape, the type of material, labor costs, structural modifications, and permits. Floating staircase kits are often an easier option for installation, but floating staircases can also be custom-built to match a home’s interior. No matter what type is installed, floating staircases provide a stunning way to add character to what’s usually a simple, functional element of a home.

How Much Does a Floating Staircase Cost?

Factors in Calculating Floating Staircase Cost

Floating staircases are ideal for contemporary or modern homes that are designed with style as the main priority. The different factors that impact their cost include their shape and size along with the material they’re made of. Most stairs include at least one railing, so the type of railing and material will also impact the overall cost. Floating stairs aren’t as common as traditional stairs, which can make figuring out cost estimates a little trickier, but homeowners can calculate some general estimates before speaking with local contractors.

Think you want a floating staircase in your home?
Talk to a pro to see if it's right for you. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from top-rated stair remodeling services near you.

Staircase Shape

Most staircases run in a straight line from one floor to the next, so it’s not common for homeowners to consider the shape of a staircase when evaluating the cost. But staircases can take on many shapes so that they can go around corners or fit within small spaces. Stairs that simply rise from one floor to the next without additional corners and landings are typically on the lower end of the price range, though the total will also depend on the stair material and railing design.

The more complex the staircase shape, the higher the floating stairs cost will likely be, so winding or curving designs will cost the most. Homeowners have many design options for installing a staircase floating in the air:

  • Bifurcated stairs (one staircase that splits into two staircases going in opposite directions)
  • Curved stairs
  • L-shape stairs (with a landing)
  • Spiral stairs
  • U-shape or switchback stairs (with a landing)
  • Winder stairs (a combination of straight and curved sections)

Staircase Size

The larger the staircase, the more materials will be needed to build it, which means a higher cost. A ballpark estimate for a traditional staircase is about $150 per stair tread, though most floating stair treads average $100 to $500 each if made from wood, metal, stone, or tile. A full staircase typically has between 13 and 16 steps, making the cost fall between $1,300 on the lower end and $8,000 on the higher end. This estimate, however, can fluctuate based on the cost of materials, the railing material and size, and labor rates.

Staircase Material

Residential staircases are traditionally made of wood, but homeowners who prefer modern designs have other material options to choose from. Popular alternatives for floating stairs are metal and glass, but they come at a higher price since they are considered premium materials. For instance, while most materials cost between $100 and $500 per tread, glass treads can cost between $1,000 and $1,500 each.

Railing Design and Material

Homeowners can customize their new staircase to make it fit with the aesthetic of the home by focusing on the stair railing design and material. Options include traditional railings with wooden balusters, but homeowners could also opt for metal railings with cable, rod, or glass infills. Cable railings fall on the lower end of the cost spectrum, with rods trending in the middle and glass being the most expensive.

Type of Railing MaterialAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Aluminum$3,500 to $6,000
Cable wire$2,000 to $3,300
Composite or PVC$2,000 to $3,500
Glass$1,500 to $8,500
Steel$1,200 to $2,700
Wood$750 to $1,250
Wrought iron$800 to $5,000

Installation Location and Accessibility

The staircase installation location will impact the type of staircase that can be installed and the final cost, since accessibility can play into the complexity of the job. If the working area is small, a spiral or switchback floating staircase might be the only design option—both of which cost more than a flight of straight, modern floating stairs. If the stairs are located on the second floor or in a less accessible area, such as in a smaller entryway, the cost to install them can increase.


Labor is a big factor in the average floating stairs cost, since it typically makes up 50 percent of the cost of the project. A floating staircase kit or custom materials make up the other 50 percent. Building a staircase can be tricky and requires precise measurements, cutting, and building, which is why labor is such a large portion of the total cost. Any additional labor tasks will cost the homeowner more as well. Removing an old staircase can also add to a staircase renovation cost, as the contractor will have to remove the existing stairs and dispose of any stairway carpeting, wood, old railings, and other materials.

How Much Does a Floating Staircase Cost?

Additional Costs and Considerations

Once the railing, labor, staircase shape, size, and material costs are factored in, it’s important for homeowners to look at a few other costs and considerations that can have an impact on staircase remodel cost. Some of these considerations include structural changes to or removal of an existing staircase. Further customizations can also impact the final floating staircase cost.

Structural Modifications and Permits

If structural modifications are required when homeowners are putting in a staircase, this will increase the total cost, since more work and materials are required. The project will also likely require permits depending on the local municipality. In some cases, stairs are attached to a load-bearing wall, which means some expert inspections and recommendations will be required to ensure the support isn’t compromised. Permits for staircase remodels can cost between$200 and $500.

Existing Staircase Removal

Installing floating stairs outdoors or indoors will likely require the removal of the existing staircase unless the floating stairs are being installed during new construction. If the existing staircase does need to be removed, homeowners can expect to pay around $500 to $2,000. This includes the additional labor to remove the staircase and debris before the staircase replacement can be installed.


Floating staircases offer plenty of opportunities for customization when homeowners have room in the budget. They can either have a fully customized staircase or customize a basic floating staircase kit. Customization options include additional landings or additional switchbacks, increased tread depth, the inclusion of etched details in the risers, or custom rather than standard finishes. Adjusting a kit to a more personalized design can increase the floating stairs cost by $2,000 to $30,000.


Some floating staircase manufacturers offer a warranty on their staircases. Contractors may also warranty their work or offer a warranty for an additional fee, so homeowners will want to ask their staircase installer about warranty coverage before hiring them. It’s also important for the homeowner to understand the policy so they don’t void the warranty by mistake.

Benefits of Choosing a Floating Staircase

Floating wood stairs offer a blend of traditional and modern aesthetic, but other options such as metal or glass staircases can take the modern or contemporary design even further. Beyond the aesthetic factor, floating staircases also provide space optimization, durability, and easy installation.

Think you want a floating staircase in your home?
Talk to a pro to see if it's right for you. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from top-rated stair remodeling services near you.

Space Optimization

Floating stairs aren’t boxed in the way traditional stairs are, and they help to optimize the space available. While this is great in a large house, it’s even better in a small house that lacks sufficient storage. Some traditional stairs feature under-the-stairs storage, but the area is typically cramped and storage space is minimal. The open staircase design of floating stairs creates lots of additional space that can be used to store more items, add attractive decor, or remain untouched for a minimalist look.

Modern Appearance

In contrast to many traditional staircases, floating stairs have a modern and sometimes minimalist appearance. The construction can defy expectations of how stairs need to be supported. For instance, with a cantilevered design, the stairs aren’t even connected to one another with a stringer as most other floating stairs are. The sleek appearance can be enhanced with metal and glass treads or railings, or the design can blend modern and traditional by bringing in wood elements.


Floating staircases are highly durable despite the fact that they lack traditional supports. They use materials like wood, metal, and tempered or laminated-tempered glass in their construction and can hold up against high levels of household use for years to come. Most importantly, a professional installer knows how to properly anchor the treads into the walls for security and steadiness.

Easy Installation and Maintenance

Floating stairs often come as a kit, and while contractors may be able to build a custom design from scratch, purchasing a kit means they have most of the materials required on hand. This can make installation easier than if they were building a traditional staircase from scratch. However, if the contractor can remodel existing stairs, then homeowners may need to consider only the cost to replace a stair railing and treads in addition to the cost to remove the original support structure.

Floating stair maintenance is also easy, as the treads are often separate from each other. That means the tedious tasks of dusting or washing them is faster and easier since there are fewer nooks and crannies where dirt and dust can hide. The best vacuums for stairs can also make cleaning easier, especially if the stair treads are connected as they are with traditional stairs. Homeowners can ask the contractor if they know how to install carpet on stairs if a softer footfall is preferred on the hard surface. There are tricks to knowing how to measure stairs for carpet, so it’s helpful to have a professional offer their assistance to ensure a high-quality finish.

Customization Options

Not only are there a variety of floating stair configurations to choose from—spiral, curved, bifurcated, switchback, straight, and L-shape—but the treads and railings can be made from metal, wood, or glass. The stair stringer materials can vary as well. Some stringer systems support the floating stairs in the center or along the entire staircase. They might also support the treads on each side or support them from one side in a cantilevered design. Some cantilevered stringers can even be hidden entirely to create the appearance of unsupported treads.

Homeowners can look into the costs of the best carpet for stairs if they prefer to add carpet to reduce noise. There are also many floating staircase colors to choose from, whether it’s stained wood treads for dark earth tones or powder-coated railings for a custom hue. Lighting is another option for customization that can be installed along the treads or in the railing for added visibility. Each option will come with its own cost, so homeowners are advised to speak with a professional installer to obtain a custom quote.

How Much Does a Floating Staircase Cost?

Floating Staircase Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Staircase installation can be tricky. It requires precision work from start to finish to ensure the correct tread depth and height as well as the correct stringer support. Steps need to be exactly spaced and leveled, or the occupants could stumble as they use them. Most importantly, handrails must meet certain building code requirements for safety reasons, and the staircase itself must be able to support the correct loads. If an existing staircase is located on a load-bearing wall, it is best to get a contractor involved before removing it. Due to these and other factors, DIY floating staircase installation may not be the best route.

Hiring a professional to install floating stairs in a new build will ensure that the staircase meets all building codes with proper permits, so homeowners won’t be at risk of regulatory fines when the staircase is inspected before they take occupancy. A contractor can assess the available space and offer insights into design options to suit the home’s design. They also have plenty of laborers and experience to remove an existing staircase without compromising the structure of the home.

Think you want a floating staircase in your home?
Talk to a pro to see if it's right for you. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from top-rated stair remodeling services near you.

How to Save Money on Floating Staircase Cost

When homeowners decide they want to install a floating staircase, it’s common for them to be curious about ways to save some money on the cost of the project.

  • Remodel the existing staircase. Unless the home is a new build, the best way to save money on a floating staircase may be to reuse the current staircase. Rather than removing the existing stairs and starting from scratch, homeowners can update the look by removing carpet from the stairs, painting or staining the stairs, replacing the railing, or having a pro update the structure to modify it into a floating staircase
  • Clear the space. Since labor costs are often calculated by the hour, making sure the area around the stairs is clear and accessible may help reduce some labor costs.
  • Choose affordable materials. As homeowners begin to design their floating stairs, they can consider picking out cheaper materials like some woods and metals to keep costs low.
  • Choose a simple shape. In some cases, the space will dictate the shape of the floating staircase. But if budget is the main concern, then installing a straight set of stairs instead of a curved set will be the cheapest option.
  • Forego customization options. Rather than adding lighting or choosing custom finishes, sticking with a standard floating staircase kit can help homeowners keep costs lower.

Questions to Ask About Floating Staircase Installation

Building a staircase can take some time and may mean that one or more floors of the house are inaccessible during construction. This may not be a problem for a new build, but it will affect residents in an existing home. It’s important that homeowners are well informed of the process to avoid miscommunication.

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have a portfolio of floating stairs I can look at?
  • Do you custom-build floating stairs or work only with kits?
  • Will you come to my home for a free consultation?
  • What design options can you suggest?
  • What’s the cheapest option that still fits within my design preferences?
  • What’s the timeframe for the project, including the time to order materials?
  • When can you start working on the project?
  • How long will I be unable to access my upper floors?
  • What can I do to prepare the space for the project?
  • What materials do you recommend using?
  • Do you provide a written quote?


Installing a floating staircase can add a modern touch to a home as well as an interesting design element. Since floating stairs differ from traditional stairs, homeowners may have questions about their construction as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Understanding as many different facets of floating stairs as possible can help the decision making and installation process go smoothly.

Q. What are the disadvantages of floating stairs?

Some floating stair designs don’t include risers between the treads, which can pose a danger for children or anyone who is unsteady on their feet. It also may be easier for someone’s foot to slip through the space and cause injury. Other floating stair designs don’t include a traditional handrail, which can also pose issues for people who need secure handholds as they climb the stairs. However, both of these disadvantages are optional, since some floating stairs do have risers and can easily have handrails installed. The decision rests on the homeowner’s preference.

Q. How safe are floating stairs?

Floating stairs are typically safe, but certain designs may pose issues for children or for people who are less steady on their feet. While some floating stairs lack risers, it’s possible to choose a design with risers and install handrails for added safety. Additional features, such as lighting, can help with visibility and make the stairs even safer. Hiring an experienced staircase installer is the best way for homeowners to trust the overall safety of the structure.

Q. How thick are floating stairs?

Floating stair treads can range from ½ inch thick to 4 inches thick. More commonly, they are between 1 inch and 1½ inches thick, but thicker stair treads are becoming more common. Thicker stair treads offer a more modern aesthetic, especially when paired with metal stringers and metal or glass railings.

Sources: Angi, Forbes, Keuka Studios, Grand Design Stairs