Frequently asked questions about stair lifts

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions or common misnomers about stair lifts.

  • All stair lifts attach to the steps.  A common misconception is that the stair lift rail somehow attaches to the wall, creating damage or holes in the wall.   There is no construction or preparation required when attaching a stair lift to the steps, and in general if we are working with carpeted steps, there is rarely a trace of the lift even being there after it is removed.   The carpeting does a good job of filling in where the track was screwed down to the steps.
  • Stair lifts (aka stairway lifts, chair lifts, stair glides, stair chairs) are available to work on just about any type of stair case.   There are models that are made to work on straight staircases, which is the most common.  Additionally, there are some manufacturers that produce curve or spiral track stair lifts to accommodate a staircase with bends, turns or multiple flights.
  • Stair lifts have to carry capacities that range from 275 lbs to 600 lbs.
  • A little-known fact by people considering a stair lift is that the chairs all swivel at the top landing.  This facilitates a safe transfer on and off the chair, protecting the user from potential issues around the top of the staircase.
  • Almost all new stair lifts manufactured today utilize battery operation, which means they will run in the event of a power outage.  The unit is supplied with an automatic battery charger which keeps the batteries inside the lift freshly charged after each use.  The batteries can last up to 3 – 4 years.  The user just has to make sure the charger stays constantly plugged in to a normal outlet, just like any other home appliance.
  • There are no negative aspects of installing a stair lift.  If the staircase happens to be right at a traveled hallway, the manufacturers have options like folding rail sections to keep prevent trip hazards.
  • We can also install a unit even if you have a door at the top of the basement steps, which is very common in KC.  People worry that it cannot be done.   It is a normal installation method for most brands.
  • People are concerned about whether or not their staircase is wide enough.  Most staircases are 36 inches wide, and the handrail takes about 3 inches.  So that leaves 33 inches clear width.
  • Depending on the height of the person using it, we can put stair lifts on staircases less than 30 inches wide.
A good common practice for those users that utilize a walker or wheelchair is to keep a separate one at both the top and bottom landings, thereby ready for use.  Rather than trying to move those up and down the stairs every time they use the stair lift.
All in all, the benefits of a stair lift are numerous:
  • Significantly less expensive option than moving
  • Keeps the client in their homes, where they desire to be
  • Helps the client maintain their independence
  • Provides safety in the home, which relatives and immediate family are concerned about, by almost entirely eliminating a risk of a fall due to the staircase.
  • Allows the client to utilize all the levels of their home, safely, without forgoing travel to the upstairs or downstairs levels.
  • Can be used by folks of any age, with just about any physical condition.