There is a high probability that you can have a stairlift installed for any stairs or steps that are in your home. From straight to curved and spiral to steep, stairlifts are filling the need and making homes more accessible for those with physical limitations or disabilities. Are there some situations that won’t accommodate a stairlift? The short answer is ‘yes’ but it is always best to speak with a stairlift and mobility aids professional to learn more.
If access and ease would be enhanced with a stairlift, talk to a qualified mobility aids and equipment professional to learn more about your options and to schedule installation. Worried that a stairlift won’t work with your specific stairs, steps, or risers? Speaking with a mobility professional can help to put your mind at ease. Typically, stairs should be at least 32” wide to accommodate a lift, and most conventional stairs are stable and sturdy enough for the heft and weight of a lift. Remember that the track extends usually up to nine inches from the wall, so consider this if you are dealing with particularly narrow staircases. Also, don’t fret about a load bearing wall to support the lift; stairlifts most commonly don’t secure to the wall for stabilization.
So, do stairlifts fit all stair patterns? Here is what you need to know:
Standard Straight Stairs
If you are a homeowner with straight stairs or traditional steps, you should be all set. Stairlifts are more versatile and accommodating than ever before. You can install lifts over any type of step surface, like metal, wood, tile, and even concrete. Also, obstacles like doors, landings, and heat registers or radiators are no problem, either! The best way to determine your stairlift options is to contact a qualified mobility retailer in the region and arrange a home advisory visit. Due to the current pandemic, this assessment may be able to be done virtually or via phone.
Curved Steps and Landings
So, what if your home has winding or curved stairs? Seems like this could be a challenge, right? Fact; curved stairs and even those stairs interrupted with landings are ideal candidates for stairlifts, too. A curved rail makes it possible to navigate these tricky areas and make bends for the lift to traverse.
In fact, a curved stairlifts are specifically designed to go around turns and corners, and when installed by a qualified professional, can be customized to fit any stairs that you may have.
Who would think that you could get a stairlift for those intricate, spiral staircases? You can! Generally, the lift is installed inside the spiral formation of the stairs, which maximizes the room that others have available to pass and live with the lift on the staircase. There are some tips and tactics that can also optimize the space available at the top and bottom of the staircase to allow for the most secure, safe, and easy on and off for the user.
Porch and Deck Steps
Missing out on your outdoor living space due to accessibility issues? Change this with a porch lift, which is basically a version of a stairlift designed and configured for smaller steps or risers. Porch lifts are essentially a kind of platform lift that can offer access to raised areas of the home where a scooter, wheelchair, or physical disability could impede access. These are commonly found installed near porches and decks, but there are other spaces in the home environment that could benefit from these types of vertical lifts.
Inside and Outdoor Options
Can stairlifts survive both inside the home as well as outside? Yes, exterior stairlifts- such as porch lifts or pool lifts- are designed to stand-up to the elements, like weather, water, and pollutants. Manufacturers and retailers alike will encourage all buyers to invest in a cover (most new stairlifts offer this feature) to protect your lift when it is not in use. This will cut down on the wear and tear that the rigors of the environment can wreak, contributing to the lifespan of your stairlift.
Some Exceptions and Exclusions
Unfortunately, there are a few situations that make installing a stairlift impractical, expensive, and possibly impossible. For example, if your stairs are very narrow, installing a lift may be possible but could pose some safety concerns for others that use these same stairs. Beyond an unnaturally narrow set of stairs, it is feasible to fit practically any staircase with a lift of some kind, though it could get more expensive depending on the challenges and complexities of your unique situation. It bears repeating that the best approach is to speak with a reputable and qualified mobility retailer to find out more.
Considering a stairlift in- or out- of your home? Come talk to the mobility professionals at Pacific Mobility; for decades, we have been providing unparalleled customer service and quality mobility aids with the potential to change lives. Call or visit us in the Bay Area to find out more about stairlifts for your distinct living situation.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)