What does it cost? Glass handrail

I ran across the incredible ARA house on Contemporist today and was stricken with envy at the sight of the staircase.

[![Glass hand rail stairs](http://res.cloudinary.com/du6szur8v/image/upload/h_300,w_200/v1456371992/IMG_0178_jy567t.jpg)](http://www.contemporist.com/2014/10/25/ara-residence-by-swatt-miers-architects)
Super smooth.

This is exactly the look we wanted in our house – the super clean lines, transparent glass that disappears into the squared-off white stringer. We’ll have bamboo growing up through our staircase so, for us, the glass would guarantee a clear view of it. It just oozes modern minimal taste. So, what does it cost to pull off something like this?

For us, too much. The estimate for ours came back at over $13,000 for just the stairs. Adding in the railing around the open area above the dining room would at least double it. This cost is nowhere near the realm of our budget for the stairs. This was for a fully-engineered system that securely mounted the glass at the base and disappeared behind the trim exactly like what’s shown in this house. It’s certainly top-notch and looks very clean and modern.

[![ARA House Staircase](http://res.cloudinary.com/du6szur8v/image/upload/h_200,w_300/v1456371993/IMG_0180_dkfagw.jpg)](http://www.raisingmodern.com/blog/what-does-it-cost-glass-handrail/img_0180-jpg/)
Nicely wrapped.
[![ARA Top of Stairs](http://res.cloudinary.com/du6szur8v/image/upload/h_300,w_277/v1456372326/IMG_0179_qo00vm.jpg)](http://www.raisingmodern.com/blog/what-does-it-cost-glass-handrail/img_0179-jpg/)
The look continues at the top of the stairs.

The alternative we chose is a cable railing; not quite as transparent as glass (something glass is exceptionally good at being) and not as clean, but it’ll get the job done. It’ll also tie visually with the cable railing we’re using on the deck outside. One slight aesthetic advantage the cable rail has over the glass is the actual hand rail portion. Depending on where you live you may be required by code to have a hand rail attached to the glass because the glass portion may not be considered suitable for an actual hand rail. A cable railing on the other hand will work much better in this respect.

Cable railing

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