2023 WFOY: Best Staircase

Walk On Wood Inc. | Winter Park, Florida


Entries in this category include all types of staircase projects. Submissions may include new installations or overlays, in either a residential or commercial application. The Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA) judged this category.


Rob Mercier of Walk On Wood Inc. is known for his passion for creating unique, custom stairways. This year’s winning staircase is one he crafted for a car collector who wanted a contemporary version of a previous staircase Mercier had designed for him. This time, however, the new staircase incorporated embedded glass detail.

Walk on Wood StairCollaboration was essential for this project, as several people were involved, including architects, structural engineers, and builders. Together, they came up with a system that allowed them to embed the glass within the edges of the stairway while maintaining the appearance of the glass going through the wood detail.

The challenge of this project was creating a free-floating stairway that did not engage any interior or exterior walls of the house. Mercier explained that they needed to rely on the framework to carry the load of the stairway, and balancing safety and aesthetics was crucial, as they wanted to avoid making the stairway look too blocky.

Working with the structural engineer, the team had to ensure the stairway was safe and durable from an engineering standpoint while still fitting the area. The top flight of the stairway was also longer than the bottom flight, which required extra effort to prevent sagging at the midpoint of the top run.

Walk on Wood Stair Alternate ViewThe construction process began with a pile of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and some plywood to make a substrate. Once the stair calculations were determined, a rough frame was built, and the glass was templated.

The team faced supply chain challenges with the 6 mil layer livesawn European oak, but eventually procured enough material for the project. Boards were numbered and categorized, and the stairway was constructed by connecting all the dots as they went.

The client preferred the look of the stairway with no finish, so the team used Loba Invisible finish to achieve a similar appearance. At the client’s request, they applied three coats of the finish.

Flooring Finish: Loba
Species: Livesawn white oak

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