Architects & Builders
Vertical Platform Lift (commonly referred to as a Wheelchair Lift)
- Primarily used as means of providing wheelchair access in and out of a private residence. Applications range from being used in a garage, exterior deck, front porch, or even as a through-the-floor elevator (when enclosed). – Rated at 600-750 lb. capacity.
- Platform lifts function with constant pressure on the controls, by the user.
- Variable lift heights up to 14 ft. If approved by the local authority having jurisdiction, some manufacturers offer lifts that will travel beyond 14 ft.
- Can be configured in a variety of ways such as installed adjacent to a deck inside a garage, or on a concrete pad in an exterior application, in front of an entry door, or offset.
- Most residential applications where the lift travel is 60 inches or less does not require an enclosure, per national code. Each municipality or state will have their own specific guidelines.
- Lifts are available for indoor and outdoor applications.
- Factory options from the manufacturers include upper landing gates, platform gates, automatic gate operators, automatic folding ramps, custom color options and battery drive / battery back up.
- There are a range of platform sizes and configurations available to suit the space requirements of the project. (Straight through, enter/ exit same side, 90 degree platform options)
- Common drive systems include recirculating ball screw mechanical or roped hydraulic options. There are performance differences that should be considered based on the actual application where the lift will be used.
- Also designed to move a wheelchair in a home application, but instead of traveling vertically, the lifts will move up a staircase. The supporting guide rail system that the lift moves on can be mounted to a reinforced wall or the treads of the staircase.
- Generally has a lower total capacity of 500 lbs., although some models can carry up to 600 lbs.
- Power requirements vary by manufacturer and model. Battery back up system is usually available as a factory option.
- Some basic models just have folding guard ramps on the platform, while other manufacturers offer manual or automatic folding safety barrier arms to help keep the user on the platform. Some models will also be able to have the platform fold up next to the wall when not in use.
- Functions with constant pressure controls on the platform and from each landing with remote controls.
- Can be designed for straight staircases as well as curved or spiral staircases.
- Incline lifts will generally require a wider staircase, which is not always possible in a residential application. Also requires almost 60 inches of landing space at the lower level, in front of the bottom stair riser, for the platform to land on the floor.
- Can be more expensive than a vertical platform lift due to the extremely customized design and niche type of product used when no other solution is possible.
Residential Home Elevator
- Typically installed in new construction, but trends in housing and age-in-place options have led to several manufacturers offering retrofit remodel elevators that are self-contained and do not require as large of space as a traditional home elevator.
- Traditional elevators are capable of traveling anywhere from two levels of the home up to 5 or 6 stories. Maximum travel is usually 50 ft. by national code standards. Regular capacities range from 750 lbs. or 950 lbs. Smallest cab size is 12 sq. ft. and the larger ones are 15 sq. ft.
- Always utilizes an enclosed constructed shaft with regular swing doors at the landings. Options are available for sliding style commercial doors in stainless steel, glass or custom coatings.
- Drive system options are electric gear drive, roped hydraulic options, or gearless electric.
- Requires a 6-8 inch pit in the bottom floor
- Cab interior options are numerous and can be designed to meet any budget or décor requirements.
- Retrofit elevators are limited to serving two levels, 13-16 ft. of total travel, have much smaller load capacities of 400-500 lbs., and may not have a cab size suitable for a wheelchair. They are designed more for a person who can stand, or utilize a fold down seat option inside the cab.
- Construction costs can be significantly less with a retrofit elevator since they can operate without an elevator shaft. The cab itself is completely enclosed on all sides, keeping the user inside as it passes between floors.
- Retrofit elevators drop a framed section of matching flooring into the floor cutout as the lift travels to the lower level. That floor section fills the cutout space, creating the effect of a vanishing elevator. You can walk across that surface with no open hole.
Cab options on retrofit elevators are limited to basic standard materials without much in the way of customization options.
- Utilized in residential settings where users need assistance in moving items like groceries, laundry, luggage and other items between levels of the home.
- Varying capacities depending on the manufacturer and the specific application requirements.
- Automatic operation function with call & send controls at each landing.
- Can serve multiple landings.
- Generally is required to be enclosed in a constructed shaft with smaller size cabinet style doors at the landings.
- Lifts are usually only for indoor applications.
- There are a range of car sizes and configurations available to suit the space requirements of the project. (Straight through, enter/ exit same side, 90 degree platform options)
- Common options available for the interior of the dumbwaiter car are shelves, car light, and stainless steel material.
- Dumbwaiters are not for any type of passenger travel.
- Perfect for applications where lifts are used that needs a door to open and close automatically at each landing, to accommodate the user of the lift.
- Some operators are integrated into the header of the doorframe assembly (normally purchased that way from the door manufacturer) while others may be surfaced mounted and attached to the door.
- Operators are available to open and close wood doors, steel doors or gates on vertical platform lifts.
- The operators are controlled by the vertical lift itself, and will not open or close a door or gate unless the lift is at the landing.
- Operators can be installed independently of a lift. It is operated by wall mounted push buttons or remote controls to open and close an entry door at the front of the home, into a garage or wherever a client needs that capability.