There are many reasons to install a stairlift in your home. Due to age or injury, a stairlift can be the only way for individuals to continue using the entire of their home without relying on others. Unfortunately, not all homes are designed the same, meaning not all staircases are identical. This can quickly become an issue when it comes to the installation of your lift.
Most lifts are designed to fit staircases that are over 29 inches or 73 centimeters. When planning for you lift, make sure you measure the actual width of the tread of the step. Lifts are not installed on the wall itself, but on the staircase. This means that you will not measure the distance from the wall or banister to the other wall, but the actual staircase itself.
For most companies, a 73 cm width is the minimum width for most of their standard models. Unfortunately, this means that if your staircase is narrower than this width you will often have to pay more for your lift. Often, the standard lifts will be the cheapest models and any added features will add to this price. The reasoning behind needing to alter the lift to fit narrow stairs is for your safety.
If the width of your staircase is narrower than the standard size, there are many reasons why a traditional lift can create a safety hazard. The individual using the lift can easily bang their knees on the bannisters due to lack of room. Also, other individuals in the home can be at risk when using the staircase. There will not be additional room around the seat and rails for easy stair use which can hinder those walking up and down the steps.
In most cases, the seat of the lift will be parked at either the top or the bottom of the staircase when not in use. It is a safety requirement for there to be enough room between the folded up seat and footplate of the stairlift and the wall or banister. This is so that individuals can easily pass through this walkway to use the stairs, specifically in emergency situations. If the staircase is too narrow than this space will be limited and pose a risk.
If you are in need of a lift but have a narrow staircase, you are not completely out of luck. There are many options available for those who need customized lifts. One of the best solutions is to have a curved track or rail lift installed. This will allow the seat of the lift to be parked to the side of the staircase either at the top or the bottom, which will allow easy stair access to other individuals in the home.
A second option that may benefit you is a lift that offers you help traveling up and down the stairs but you will not be in a separated position. This will allow you to travel the stairs in a slightly bent position but not fully seated. These are called perch stairlifts and can be easily and safely installed on staircases as narrow as 66 centimeters. These are not the most ideal solution for all individuals, but if you maintain some mobility these may be a great choice.
In terms of price, a traditional, straight lift will be the least expensive option. A perch stairlift will be your second best option if you need to compensate for a narrow staircase. However, if a perch lift is not suitable for your mobility levels, you will require a curved track lift. Unfortunately, a curved lift is usually the most expensive option on the market.