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Stair Lift & Railing Cost Guide & Contractor Quotes

We discuss stair lift and railing cost, the best tips when it comes to materials to choose and contractors’ prices. Free contractor quotes included.

It comes to a point in our lives when aging and health issues catch up with us. All over the world people are advancing in years and aging gracefully. Others are sick or recuperating from a nasty injury that left them with mobility issues. Whichever the circumstances, its everyone’s desire to enjoy the comfort of their home and stay at their house regardless of their situation.

Unless it’s absolutely necessary, anyone with mobility issues, or experiencing difficulties going up through a fleet of stairs on a staircase does not have to be put in a community care center. If you can take care of yourself and have some independence, you do not have to move from your bedroom from upstairs or even more impractical, move to a single-level house. There is a better solution which is as a simple installing stair lift and railing.

People install stair lifts for varied reasons. If you are one of those people who find it tedious and a bit of an ordeal to climb up on a staircase to access amenities or essential rooms in your home, you need to read this cost guide to find out the reasons why you should install a stair lift and a railing.

Mobility issues can affect anyone even younger people. You can lose your mobility due to an injury, inability to move your legs, poor eyesight, loss of balance among many other conditions. If you live in a home with multiple floors, accessing some rooms might be difficult especially for the seniors, children, and people with mobility issues due to a couple of reasons. Going through a staircase for a couple of times in a day can be challenging for anyone with mobility restrictions. Such a person may not be able to access essential rooms such as the bathroom or even their bedrooms. But this does not mean you have to live with this kind of barriers in your home.

Fortunately, technological advancements in the modern world gifted these group of people with this wonderful device known as stair lift. Also commonly known as lift chair, a stair lift is a mechanized chair that is usually attached to the staircase with a railing to move a person up and down in their residence. A stair lift can make a significant difference for anyone who has mobility restrictions. It enables you to move freely in your home, from one floor to another without straining your back, your legs, and your body.

Stair lifts are extremely convenient. They don’t take a lot of space, and they are not bulky. In fact, it can easily be folded when not in use. This electrical device will gently lift you up and down, enable you to ride in comfort and maneuver your way around your home independently without the need for assistance. The good news is that this special electric device can easily be bought an installed on your staircase railing.

How a Stair Lift Works

A stair lift has three components: the rail, the carriage, and the chair. The rail is where the feet that are attached to the chair are mounted. Nowadays, most homes are installed with aluminum rails which look attractive and actually look even nicer with the stair lift. The carriage is also another essential part of the stair lift that is also attached to the rail.

The carriage houses the working mechanism of the staircase which includes the motor, gears, gearbox, and the operational electronics such as batteries that enable the chair to move up and down. Inside the carriage, there is what is referred to as pinion gear. When you turn on the stair lift, the motor turns and raises the gear rack to the rails. The third section of the stair lift is the chair which is most visible to the users, and that’s why some people prefer to call it a chairlift. The chair looks like a real chair and its attached to the carriage. The chair its where you sit on and then press the function button to move the stair lift up along the stairs.

Who Should Use the Staircase?

As mentioned, the staircase is an electric device that serves as a means of safe movement between floors for anyone with mobility restrictions. Stairs can sometimes be tedious, risky and dangerous for children, the elderly and family members with injuries and long-term sickness. If you have a condition that makes your mobility challenging, going up the stairs can be risky. You risk falling and injuring yourself.

The elderly family members are usually the most affected when it comes to mobility and going up through stairs. If they cannot walk with a little bit of assistance, walking up the stairs can be quite an ordeal for the elderly. This is because most of them have visual impairment problems, their legs and backs are weak and general aging issues that are unavoidable as years’ progress.

If the senior is healthy, independent, competent except for the mobility restrictions, and can live alone without the need for daily assistance, then a stair lift is the most appropriate device that will enable them to navigate the stairs without risk of fatal falls and injuries.

If you are going through an injury or a long-term illness that limits your movement on the stairs, a staircase can be of assistance. For example, people diagnosed with conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes muscle or joint disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy and other mobility related issues are suitable candidates for a stair lift. The stair lift will enable them to navigate their environment, offer them comfort as they go up and down the stairs and security. In short, stair lifts are generally designed for anyone who finds it difficult to climb or descend stairs.

What Are the Benefits of a Stair Lift and Railing?

Are you living with a senior, or a disabled person, or a person with mobility issues? Or do you have mobility restrictions due to varied reasons or conditions? If so, then you need to read this guide to find out the benefits of installing stair lift and railing in your home. This electric device comes with a host of benefits which will be outlined below. Keep reading this guide to learn about the advantages of installing stair lift and railing:

Comfort and Convenient

The main purpose of a stair lift and a railing is to make your movement up and down the stairs, easy and comfortable. You do not need to strain your back, your knees, your whole body and mind going up the stairs with aches and pains everywhere. A stair lift makes it possible to navigate through different parts of your home smoothly and comfortably. It gives you peace of mind and allows to enjoy the comfort of your home.

Stair lifts are not only good for the disabled people but also a great solution for people experiencing difficulties going up and down. They can conveniently be operated using a hand control and simply switch it on when you need to move to a different floor and off once you have reached your destination.

Gives You Independence

One the main reasons why family members move the senior to care center facilities is because they have challenges moving safely around the home. However, you might find that such a person has no other problems other than mobility problems. They can take care of themselves and carry out simple things by themselves such as feeding, bathing, getting out of bed or a chair, etc. The only thing hindering them from moving around their home is the stairs.

If this the case, or if you among the majority of people who have difficulties moving up and down on a staircase, a stair lift can work tremendously and give you the independence of moving around your home effortlessly. With the installation of a stair lift and a railing, you will enjoy simple things such as moving from your living room downstairs to your bedroom or bathroom upstairs without relying on someone for assistance.

Even better, you can easily operate the chair all by yourself by just pressing a remote. You can bring it down or up to your convenience. You can adjust the chair, and the armrest to your desired height and the seat is comfortably padded to make your stay there as enjoyable as possible. The bottom line is, you can enjoy moving around your house independently without calling someone to assist you to go up or down. More so, since you do not have to strain yourself by using the stairs, you will have lots of energy to carry out other tasks.

Ensures Safety

The stairs are perceived as one most dangerous places in homes today. A study shows that most of the seniors who experienced nasty falls happened on the stairs. If you have mobility problems and you live alone, you might be scared of moving around your home in fear of falling down the stairs. Fear of falling can cause anxiety which can easily lead to an accident. Your home should be a safe place; it should not pose a risk to you when you are moving around and neither should there be risky barriers.

Installing a stair lift and railings will ensure safety as you go up or descend the stairs; it will eliminate the risk of fatal falls and injuries. It will also eliminate the risk of losing balance or miss a step, tripping, or becoming dizzy and tired. All you need to do is sit, buckle up, press the move button and move to your location safely. You can easily access all the parts of your home conveniently without having to negotiate your way through the stairs.

Easy to Use

Nowadays, the stair lifts are made in such a way that they are easy to operate. On the armrest, the chairlift has a toggle that controls the chair. Also, most of them come with a remote control that enables you to move the stair lift from top to bottom, or vice verse when you need to.

The stair lift is electric but has built in-batteries for back up to ensure that you do not get stuck in the midway of a staircase in case of power outage. When it’s parked, the staircase will continue to charge, so you do not have to worry whether it has run out of charge and so, it’s always ready to use when you need it.

You Do Not Need Endure Pain and Aches

Some of the mobility issues are a result of pains and aches in our bodies. You could be having aching joints, an injury, muscle pains, arthritis or old-age related aches. If your body is going through some kind of pain, going up and down the stairs may worsen the pains and aches and make your stay at home unbearable. In fact, you might find yourself spending hours on end in your bedroom, on the first floor only because you are scared of feeling pain as you navigate your way down the stairs.

By installation of a stair lift and railing, you will not have to avoid stairs or moving around your home due to the pain. A stair lift will make it easy to move in your home pain-free and avoid the physical movement of going up or down the stairs.

Can Be Used in The Indoors and Outdoors

In most homes, you will find that they not only have stairs indoors, but they also have stairs leading to the outdoors. If your home has stairs that lead to your front or backyard or even to the porch, it might be difficult for you to make your way outside through the stairs.
Just because you have mobility problems, your stay in your home does not have to be restricted indoors. In fact, without the help of an outdoor stair lift, most seniors who live alone end up spending months without being able to set their feet outdoors to their lawns.

Installing an outdoor stair lift and a railing will give the freedom to sit on your porch or deck, or simply get outside and enjoy the fresh air while outdoors. You will be able to get out and walk around the garden or your backyard. Mobility problems should not restrict your movement outside your home just because you can’t use the stairs. A stair lift and a railing will break all these barriers and make your stay at home an easy one.

If you have mobility limitations, especially for the seniors, or people who are permanently handicapped or recovering from a serious injury, being able to move through the stairs with a steady grip is essential. You need to be able to move your way around without the need for assistance or without the risk of falling. As outlined above, a stair lift and railing can give you the freedom to move safely around your home without suffering more aches and pains. It’s a convenient device that is easy to operate and maintain.

Where Should a Stair Lift and Railing Be Installed?

You can install a stair lift and railing in any location in your home that has stairs; whether inside or outside your house. They are most commonly installed in the following location:

  • Indoor/interior stairs
  • On the porch stairs
  • Outside staircase that serves as exit or entrance to the home

Types of Stair Lifts

Stair lifts and railings come in different types to fit around different types of stairs. Some stair lifts are designed for sitting while others are meant for standing. The choice will depend on your requirement and needs. Before purchasing a stair lift, you have to consider the architectural space of your house, your lifestyle among many other factors which we will discuss later in this guide. Meanwhile, let’s look at the different types stair lifts available for you.

Straight Stair Lift

Just as the name suggests, a straight stair lift is designed for straight staircases only. They are meant to ascend and descend straight staircases. Since they are not custom designed, a straight stair lift can fit be used in any straight staircase; thus, they are mass-produced.

They are also easy to install and purchase. They are shaped to match the length of the staircase where the chair will be installed.
However, straight stair lifts cannot allow landings or accommodate curves and turns. But since they are prefabricated, it makes it easy for you to put them in place making them an economical option. They are the least expensive among the different types of stair lifts.

Curved Stair Lift

Curved stair lifts are designed to suit stairs that have a curve and ones that have landings. They are also designed to accommodate any stair that is not straight, from the spiral, to round any that has a turn. This kind of stair lift requires to be custom-made to fit a particular staircase. The installation curved stair lift requires the use of specific tools to get the measurements and the curve of the staircase before installing the right railing that will fit the stair lift.

Each unit of a curved stair lift will require adequate planning and plenty of designing to ensure that the stair lift has the exact dimensions to fit the staircase it’s being made for. Thus, the curved staircase cannot just be picked by the manufacturer; they have custom-made to fit the design of your stairs. If your staircase has any corner or curve, it will require curved stair lift.

Standing Stair Lift

Also commonly referred to as a perch lift, a standing stair lift is almost the same as the chairlift. The only difference is that it offers a much smaller platform that only allows the passenger to ascend or descend the stairs while standing. They are suitable for people who are experiencing problems with bending their knees. Some standing lifts are attached with a small edge to assist the passenger keep balance while using the lift.

They are useful if you have narrow stairs. A standing stair lift will particularly accommodate a narrow staircase which cannot fit a seated stair lift. In such situations, a standing chairlift will be much better and easier to install as long the headroom is high enough to fit the full length of a standing body. This type of a stair lift also works for people who are more comfortable standing rather than sitting while using the lift.

However, standing stair lift are not ideal for everyone. If you regularly experience dizzy spells, or you are not strong enough to stand even for a minute or two, a standing stair lift is not an appropriate option for you even if it is attached with rails. You would be better off with a seated stair lift for your safety and security.

The standing stair lift function same as other stair lifts. They are installed with a breaking mechanism that stops the lift from hitting someone on the stairs. They also have control functions like the remote and inbuilt battery.

Outdoor Stair Lifts

These ones are similar to the indoor stair only that they are designed for outdoor use. They are used on an outside staircase that leads the way to the front door, or outside to the backyard, garden or the porch. They can be designed for curved or straight stairs depending on the type of outdoor stairs you have. The only difference with the indoor stair lift is that the outdoor stair lifts are made of materials that are resistant to weather elements. They are waterproof and have a tougher material.

Cost of Installing Stair Lift and Railing

The cost of installing a stair lift is usually on the lower side as the compared to the cost of purchasing the stair lift device. Mostly, you will find that the cost of installation comes to about $70 per hour if you have already purchased the stair lift. If you choose to let the installer come with the device, they will charge you a flat fee, depending on the type of stair lift that you need.

Cost of Straight Stair Lift

The stair lift itself takes the lion’s share of purchasing cost. Most homeowner report to spend between $2500 to $5500 on models of straight stair lifts. This price includes the stair lift and installation cost. An expert stair lift installation professional will assess your home, evaluate your abilities, needs, design, and configuration of your stairs and give a recommendation on the right stair lift and model.

Cost of Curved Stair Lift

Curved stair lifts are custom-made to suit the configuration of your stairs. They can be designed to accommodate any type of stairs, from narrow to spiral, and even stairs with multiple turns and tight turns. The stairs are made with a turn that serves as a landing to allow for safe parking of the stair chair.

The curved stair lift is designed with special mechanisms that allow the stair lift to go around the curves and the turns. The stair lift can also go up and down and move in different angles. For this reason, the curved stair lift costs almost twice or more than the straight stair lift. In addition, the curved stair lift’s rail has to be custom modeled to enable the chair to hang on the stairs with tight, well-arranged bends.

Most homeowners spend an average of $11000 to $15000 on curved stair lift and its installation. You should expect to spend about $9500 on a short curve simple stair to as much as $22000 for a curved stair lift model that takes about four or even more flights of a
curved or spiral staircase.

Cost for an outdoor stair lift

The outdoor stair lift options are meant to make it possible to access the outside such as the ones leading to the front or backyard, to the porch, patio steps, docks, decks, etc. They work the same way as the indoor stair lift and are available for both straight and curved stairs.

However, since they are designed to withstand environmental elements such as rain, sun and cold, they are slightly costlier than the indoor stair lifts. The average cost for a straight outdoor stair lift ranges from $3500 to $6800. An outdoor curved stair lift will cost you anywhere between $12000 to $17000 or even more depending on the dimensions and complexity of your stairs and the chair.

Renting A Stair Lift

In some cases, you might only need a stair lift to use for a short period of time. You could be recovering from surgery and in a few months’ time you will gain your mobility or could be accommodating a senior relative, or a disabled person for the holidays or a normal visit. Whatever the reasons, you will need to make their stay in your home comfortable including their freedom to move from one floor to another.

However, you do not have to go through the trouble and the cost of buying a new stair lift. If you need the stair lift for a short period, you can rent one. Some companies offer stair lifts for rental even for a short period as three months. The cost of renting a stair lift will vary depending on your requirements and the rental company. But, often, stair lift rental rates range from $250 to $500 per month. The first month you might be charged about $1000 to include the installation cost, and the cost goes down for the subsequent months.

Cost Factors

When you look at the above costs, you might notice the cost variation. This different pricing comes about due to different factors. Let’s look at the factors that will affect the cost of the stair lift and its installation:

Manufacturer and Model

Most of the cost variation in stair lifts come about due to different models and manufacturers of stair lifts and rails. Just the as same as when you are buying a car, different models of stair lifts will cost more depending on the available options and features. For example, a stair lift that falls in a cost range of about $2000 will be one of the most basic options. Its only purpose is to transport the passenger to their destination, that is going up and down. Such a model will only be equipped with the basic functions.

However, if you find a straight stair lift going for about $4000 or, a curved stair lift going for $11000 or more, it will fall into the category of high-end models. Such models can accommodate any size of stairs, narrow or wider since they are designed with a slimmer profile.

They also come with higher weight capacity and have several customized additions than basic ones. For example, a high-end stair lift model might be equipped with a power folding rail or power folding footrest. Or, the upholstery of the chair is made of a premium material such as leather, or you could be having the option of choosing a color that matches the theme and the décor of the rest of your home.

Rail Options

When it comes to rail, you will find that you have a variety of options depending on the type of stairs you have, whether straight or curved. Rails are designed to ensure that the stair lift takes you to your destination safely and conveniently enough for you get onto the lift or off the stair lift. The cost of the rails will be included in the cost of the chair unless there are other options added which will then come at an added cost.

Some of the rail options that may add to the cost of the stair lift include:

Straight stair lift rail

Power folding rail – this type of rail has a folding hinge that folds when the stair lift is not being used. This way, it will ensure that the hallway is clear. The hinge can be designed to fold up or down which depends on the model of the stair lift.

Curved stair lift rails

Designated landing – these are designed for stairs that do not have enough space for parking lift at the top or bottom. The designated landing rails will bring the stair round to a more clear space, away from the stair. This way, the stair lift allows you to safely come off or get on the lift without being inconvenienced by the stairs.

Other rail options for curved stair lifts:

  • 90-degree park
  • 180-degree park
  • Custom parking
  • Top and bottom overrun

Number of stairs

Another factor that can influence the cost of installing a stair lift is the number of stairs. Typically, the distance that will be covered by the lift is not usually a big determinant of the price of installation; but, it can still influence the cost if your staircase has additional stairs than the standard ones.

Normally, straight stair lifts models are designed with a standard rail that covers 14 steps. If you have a spiral staircase or curved stairs, the number of turns and the curves will influence the overall cost of installation. In short, the longer the distance to be covered, the more you are likely to spend on installation cost.

Permits and Inspection

Some states may require you get a permit that will allow for inspection during stair lift installation. The permits are put in place to ensure that the working mechanism of a stair lift abides by the safety regulation to protect the user from fatal hazards. If you are purchasing the stair lift from a reputable manufacturer, they will follow the procedure of getting the permit, and they should advise you accordingly. If you are in doubt about the permits, contact your local authority to get the relevant details.

Seat Options

If you choose to go for the most basic seat, the cost of the stair lift will remain at the minimal. However, according to your preferences and needs, you can choose to go or a seat that has several options. The more the options, the more you will spend on the stair lift purchase cost.

Additional stair lift seat options include a bigger seat, a power swivel seat and a wider footrest. It will also include the upholstery of the chair. For example, leather and vinyl will cost you more since they are premium upholstery materials. You can also choose to have a preferable seat color that will suit the décor of your home, and the color choice may come at an additional cost.

Type of Stair Lift
Average Cost Range
Straight stairlift$2500-$500
Curved straight lift$11000-$15000
Outdoor stair lift
Straight outdoor stair lift
Curved outdoor stair lift
$3500-$6800

$12000-$17000
Stairlift rental costs$250-$500 per month
Buying a pre-owned stairlift$500-$1000
Installation costs$70 per hour
Battery replacement$45-$120
Additional options, e.g., power folding rails, waterproofing, upholstery color preference, swivel chairs, etc.Additional $3500 or more
Annual inspection, service and maintenance$150-$400

DIY Stair Lift Installation

Some homeowners might feel the need save on the installation cost and consider installing the stair lift themselves. However, DIY stair lift installation is not advisable at all. You might get a good bargain from stair lifts retailers especially on an online platform where you will be expected to install the stair lift through DIY.

But, it’s worth to note that stair lifts installation is a complex process that requires you to attach different pieces of the devices carefully. You need the knowledge and experience to install a stair lift safely. If not well installed and the stair lift does fit on the stairs as it should, it will not work as expected which is extremely risky. For safety’s sake, it is best to let a professional do the installation for you. Through professional installation, you will get a service warranty to ensure that your stair lift runs smoothly always. You will be in apposition to get assistance with routine maintenance to ensure that the stair lift is always in good condition.

Conclusion

Stair lifts come in handy for anyone who has difficulties climbing stairs. They are motorized electric devices that use a rail network to transport a passenger from one floor to another. They are ideal for the elderly, the disabled, and anyone with long-term or short-term injury or sickness that restricts their mobility.

A stair lift is an essential addition to your home that provides the user the freedom to move around their home, offers independence, safety, security, and comfort. It is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. The stair lift can be designed to suit any type of stairs including straight or curved stairs. The cost of installation will depend on the type of staircase you have, the rail options and additional requirements.

The stair lift should have safety features to ensure the safety of the user. Some come with childproof controls, remote controls, inbuilt battery, and obstacle sensors. The stair lift can either have a chair that allows the passenger to seat, while others are designed for use while standing. The choice will depend on your requirements and needs. If you have a hard time going up the stairs, a stair lift will be the best addition to your home.

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