Curved Stair Lifts
What you need to know about curved stair lifts
A curved stair lift can be used for many different types of stairs including:
- Stairs with an intermediate landing;
- Stairs that change direction in any way;
- Stairs that curve, or feature any pie-shaped stairs;
- Spiral staircases;
- Multiple levels of stairs (e.g., from the basement to the second floor);
- Straight stairs when you want to “park” the stair lift out the way; and
- Straight stairs when you want to stop the chair several feet from the top (called an overrun).
There are three main designs of rail construction used today:
- Double rail (tube)
Sturdy design that can be bent very close to the wall to keep the stairs clearer.
- Single rail (tube)
Some people like the look better, but it may not be considered code-compliant in all regions and can be more difficult to bend for tight corners.
- Flat rail
Sturdy but can be more difficult to bend in tight spaces.
Process and Measurement
Although some people are very good at geometry and measurement, curved stair lifts require excellent measurement techniques to create the best fit. The top companies generally use a photographic measurement system. Photos of your stairs are taken incorporating small paper or plastic targets placed on your stairs. Pictures of the stairs and the top and bottom landings are sent over the Internet to the manufacturer along with other measurement information. The manufacturer is able to create a computer drawing of the travel rail needed for your home based on this information.
Curved stair lifts require little to no construction so they can be installed quickly. One or two people are needed depending on the size of your installation, which can take a few hours to a full day, or possibly more if your installation is more on than one level.
5 Tips for Choosing a Curved Stair Lift
Manufacturing Lead Time
Always ask how long it will take to build your curved stair lift. Some companies can take two months to build and ship your unit. Companies located in North America such as Savaria and Bruno make the custom rail here and do not need to ship from overseas.
Double rail systems that are custom built can be bent with the tightest tolerance, which means the rail will be close to the wall and will not interfere with your stairs as much. Complex staircases with turns or spirals are harder to create a good fit for, and will benefit the most from a double rail system.
Configure for Your Needs
With a curved stair lift, you can add features such as out-of-the-way parking so that the chair is tucked away from the base of the stairs when not in use. Adding this extra rail can cost a bit more, but may add a lot of benefit for day-to-day use.
Even though you won’t be sitting in the chair for hours, it’s important that you feel comfortable in the seat. It’s best to try the seat in a showroom, or be measured to ensure that you feel the chair fits you well in advance of buying the lift.
With a curved stair lift, a local dealer will need to measure your stairs. The best manufacturers provide photo measurement tools to dealers so that they can take perfect measurements and photos of your staircase. Silver Cross can help you locate a pre-qualified curved stair lift dealer and installer in your area.