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Wheelchair Lift Installation and Service Information

1. How is an outdoor vertical platform lift installed?

The lift must be securely fastened at the base, usually with a concrete pad under the lift. The lift is assembled on site, including the installation of the gate(s). The unit is powered and tested. Installation, excluding the preparation for the site will take a full day at minimum.

2. Can I have my contractor make the gate to match my deck?

It may be possible for a skilled contractor to make a gate for the lift, but it must incorporate the manufacturer’s safety lock mechanism, and must be built with solid material that fits flush to the lift. It is usually better to use the manufacturer’s supplied gate.

Wheelchair lift installation to give access to a porch deck
If your lift travels over 23", it must have a solid, flush gate with a lock at the top landing. This gate was made by a contractor to meet that code.
Wheelchair lift installation in a garage
In this garage, the lift includes a manufacturer-provided top landing gate for safety.

3. How is an inclined platform lift installed?

Inclined platform lifts travel on rails that are either wall-mounted, or mounted on the stair treads with brackets. The wall must be able to withstand the manufacturer’s recommended load requirements.

4. What are important considerations for installing an inclined platform lift inside my home?

Your stairs need to be wide enough to accommodate the movement of the platform, you must have enough space at the bottom landing for the platform and space to get on and off the lift, and there must be enough space above you (overhead) as you travel up the stairs on the platform. These measurements vary by manufacturer, model and size of your lift as well as the angle of your stairs.

5. What are the options to install a vertical platform lift inside the living space in my home?

To install a vertical platform lift inside your home, a shaftway or hoistway must be constructed for the lift. Installing a vertical platform lift inside a hoist-way has specific construction requirements. For example, the unit will need to be secured to a support wall that features 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 framing. A pit underneath the lift will be required, similar to the requirement of an elevator. The hoist-way needs to be square and plumb and the electrical must include a disconnect switch.

6. What is a through-the-floor lift? 

It is possible to install a lift inside your home that does not require shaftway construction. A through-the-floor lift, such as the Savaria Telecab includes an enclosed cab that travels 2 stops through a floor cut-out. A cap to cover the floor-cut out sits on top of the lift at it travels to the second stop. Read more about this lift in the home elevator section.

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Incline platform lift clearance needed on staircase
An incline platform lift requires landing clearance at the bottom of the stairs, as well as overhead clearance.

Maintenance and Service for Wheelchair Lifts

Wheelchair lifts will operate for many years if they are well maintained. The owner’s guide provided when you purchased your unit or available on the manufacturer’s website should include the required regular maintenance schedule.

Like a car, a wheelchair lift is mechanical and parts may need lubrication or adjustments from time to time by a service technician. Some parts may also need to be replaced over time.

Manufacturers offer warranties of varying lengths of time, typically on defective parts. Dealers may offer labor warranties as well, and many dealers offer pre-paid maintenance contracts or emergency repair programs. Ask ahead of purchasing to see what the dealer and manufacturer offer. Do not expect your lift to operate perfectly year after year if you do not maintain it.

If your unit is installed somewhere it is exposed to salt water, you will need to take extra care to maintain it. You may need to service your lift more often in order to combat the effects of the salt corrosion. If you live where it is very cold in winter, your unit may fail to operate on extremely cold days. Be sure to clear away any snow under and around the lift.

Most manufacturers require any warranty repairs to be done by the dealer who originally installed your product. This dealer will have the drawings and specifications for your lift as well as the proper training to service it. Don’t forget to keep the dealer’s information on hand should you need service in the future.

wheelchair lift installation
This lift is being installed. It arrived to site mostly assembled.

Can I move my wheelchair lift to a new location?

Depending on the type of lift you have, it may be possible to remove it and re-install it at new location if you move. But remember that there is usually a removal and re-installation cost, and it may not be possible to change the lift to suit any differences at your new location. You will need to consult a local dealer to see whether or not this is possible.

Can I buy a used lift and hire someone to install it?

It may be possible to buy a gently used lift. We recommend going through a dealer to source a used lift rather than buying one, then trying to find a dealer to install it. The dealer will generally know if the used lift can be re-installed.