As aging in place becomes more common for seniors, stair lifts are an increasingly popular assistive technology that can carry anyone up and down stairwells safely. Stair lifts – also known as chair lifts – are used by both seniors with growing mobility challenges, disabled persons, or those facing an injury who are living at home.
These systems are motorized units that glide smoothly up and downstairs, by following a track that is mounted against one side of the stairwell. They are powered on via a button or switch when in use.
Complete with seatbelts, sensors and even swiveling seats, stair lifts are home accessibility tools that can help anyone travel through multi-level homes reliably and safely. These lifts empower anyone who would usually need assistance making the trek with the gift of independence they otherwise may not have.
If you are considering installing a chair lift system in your home, Modernize can help you understand your many options as well as what to ask a contractor before or during your project.
Types of Stair Lifts
There are a few different types of stair lifts you can choose from. The best type of stair lift system for you will depend on the structure of your home’s staircase, and whether you need the stair lift outdoors. Here’s a general overview of the three different types of stair lifts available:
1. Straight Stair Lifts
A home with a straight staircase is the easiest to accommodate a stair lift system. Straight stair lifts are the standard type, as they can use a standardized rail that fits the staircase seamlessly.
For this reason, straight stairlifts tend to be the easiest to install and the most affordable options.
2. Curved Stair Lifts
This option is for any sort of stairwell that is more complex than a traditional straight staircase. Curved stair lifts are designed to accommodate stairways with curves, bends or landings.
Because of the complexities and custom nature of these systems, curved stair lift systems typically cost significantly more than straight lifts.
3. Outdoor Stair Lifts
There are also stair lifts that can be used for decks, patios and docks. These systems are similar to indoor versions — but with extra durability for more rugged areas. Outdoor stair lifts are outfitted specifically to withstand external elements including temperature changes, wind, rain, salt and sun.
For that reason, they usually cost a few thousand dollars more than their indoor counterparts. These chair lifts can be well worth the price for extended longevity and independence, and worry-free enjoyment of the outdoors.
How Much Does a Stair Lift Cost?
The cost of a stairliftdepends on the stairlift’s technology and functionality. Different chair lifts come with different price tags depending on options, add-ons and cosmetics. Straight chair lifts tend to cost the least, while outdoor and curved stair lifts tend to cost the most. You can find average installation costs for each stair lift type below:
Straight stair lifts: $2,200 to $5,000
Curved stair lifts: $8,500 to $14,000
Outdoor stair lifts: $5,000 to $12,000
Keep in mind that because most curved and outdoor chair lifts are custom-made, they tend to be pricier. The exact cost depends on the customization and features you require. It is worth discussing your specific needs and parameters with a Modernize-recommended contractor to weigh the costs and benefits.
Chair Lift Installations
Though it may be tempting to install a chair lift system yourself, this is not something Modernize recommends. Stair lifts are a complicated appliance that carry precious cargo — you or your loved ones. An experienced professional will ensure your system is installed according to the highest safety standards and meet all warranty requirements. By taking installation into your own hands, you risk negating the product’s warranty.
The good news is chair lift installations are often quick with minimal disruption. For straight stairway lifts, the process can be completed less than one day, including a demonstration on how to use the lift. On average, installing a straight stair lift takes between four and five hours.
The order and installation process may be more involved for a custom curved unit, because they are formed to custom-specifications based on your specific staircase measurements. This may extend the install time by a few hours but can still be completed in one day. Modernize recommends discussing a timeframe ahead of time with your contractor.
Typically the entire process of a home evaluation, placing an order and installing a straight stairlift can be done within a few days. Conversely — because of its custom nature — a curved unit could take several weeks.
Surveys show a home’s resale value can actually be enhanced with the addition of a stair lift thanks to its usefulness for a large variety of audiences, not limited to children, the elderly and anyone dealing with an injury. The chair lifts can be touted as a safety feature.
Additionally, they are easy to remove without any damage to walls or stairs. That is because stair lift tracks follow a stairway’s treads, not the wall.
Finding a Chair Lift Installer
The first step to finding the best stairlift for your needs is to compare top stairlift brands and their offerings. For each brand, consider not only reputation, but also installation cost, special features you may require, warranties available, and whether or not the company can provide a stairlift that fits your stairway.
At Modernize, our goal is to help you find a professional contractor with ease. We invite you to tell us more about your project and expectations. From there, we will quickly connect you to a trusted, local contractor to complete the stair lift installation process. Most chair lift installers can also help with other home accessibility modifications, such as installing a walk-in tub in your bathroom.
By using the information in this guide, you will be able to select the contractor who is right for your stair lift installation. You are moving one step closer to a chair lift that improves the efficiency and safety of your home with an added feeling of independence and empowerment.
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