Stairlifts can be fitted to the majority of staircases, but there are some circumstances where this isn’t easy and this is therefore reflected in the cost. Mainly, depending on factors such as the width of your staircase, the type of staircase (bent or straight) and obstructions in the surrounding environment. In some cases, a stairlift can become a safety hazard for the stairlift user or other users of the stairs who would be walking alongside the stairlift. But don’t fear, there is a solution to most of these problems and these will be discussed.
The main factor that influences whether you can have a stairlift fitted is the width of your staircase. If your staircase is too narrow then this can cause safety issues, where stairlift users can bang their knees on the rail or wall and stair users could fall over the rails, therefore, causing a trip hazard. Most reputable installers will agree that between 29 and 32 inches are the minimum width a staircase can be for a normal stairlift to be fitted. To discover if your staircase meets these minimum requirements, simply use a tape measure and place horizontally on one of the steps of your stairs. If you find that your staircase doesn’t meet these minimum requirements, it doesn’t mean you cannot get a stairlift fitted it just means that you may have to pay for a more expensive stairlift. Alternatively, you could have a standing, otherwise known as ‘perch’, stairlift fitted.
However, the width is not the only factor as the height of your staircase or the space between your stairs and ceiling also needs to be considered when deciding on a stairlift. This is because there needs to be enough space between the stairs and the ceiling so that the stairlift user doesn’t bang their head whilst on the lift. Normally, this is not an issue for people considering getting a stairlift. However, the vertical space does need to be taken into account if you are considering a perch stairlift as the lift user will be stood up and therefore will take up more space vertically than a stairlift where the user is sitting down.
Whether your staircase is straight or has a bend or curve is the next factor to consider when looking into purchasing a stairlift. If you have resolved all the previous factors and your staircase is straight then it is highly likely that you will be able to get a stairlift fitted. If this explains your staircase, then you will be able to have the cheapest and quickest stairlift fitted. If, however, your stairlift is bent or curved then fitting a staircase becomes slightly more complicated and this is therefore reflected in ease and price of the fitting. This is because the track and rails will have to be specially made to fit your exact staircase measurements.
The last factor to consider is the space around the top and bottom of your staircase, essentially where the stairlift will be ‘parked’ when not in use. Mainly, if there is a door at either the top or bottom of the staircase then the stairlift could block this and create a hazard. Luckily, this issue can be solved rather easily by ensuring the rail is foldable (only at the bottom of the stairs) or by having a partly curved rail installed so that the stairlift can be parked around the side of the staircase – at either the top or bottom. It is important to consider the increase in price that these solutions will bring.
So, for most people, a stairlift can be fitted rather cheap and quickly. But for those with a more complicated staircase, a stairlift can ultimately be fitted but it will have to be custom made and this will, therefore, increase the amount you will pay for your stairlift and fitting.