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Will a Stair Lift Get in the Way?

Posted on by John Burfield

A question that customers often ask about stair lifts is whether it will get in the way. This concern is understandable since family and friends will likely need to use the stairs by foot still and will be walking around the home.

Top & Bottom Landing of Staircase

The short answer is, “it depends.” In most cases, a stair lift will not be in the way. When not in use, a stair lift seat, armrests, and footrest can be folded to minimize the space it takes up on the stairs. When folded, most stair lifts take up only 12 to 15 inches of the stairway. 

You may also be concerned with the space at top and bottom of the staircase. Depending on the layout of your home, the stair lift rail may take up some hallway space. However, many manufacturers such as Bruno, offer optional manual or power folding rail options. Both options will flip the rail up and out of the way when not in use.

stair lift folding rail in action

Lifeway Expert Tip: Another clever way to prevent the rail from becoming a tripping hazard at the bottom of the stairs is to add a plant in front of the rail. The plant must be tall enough so that it is visible so that people see the plant and know to walk around it.

Staircase Width

stair lift with components folded up provides space on staircase for others to use by footIf you have a standard staircase that is 36 inches wide or more, you should have no issues with normal stair traffic. However, while it is not ideal, a stair lift can be installed in a stairway as narrow as 30 inches.

If this is the case, other household members may find it more difficult to use the stairway. However, you need to weigh the benefits of installing a stair lift with the inconvenience it may cause other users.

Curved Stair Lift Rail Option to Prevent Trip Hazard

Bruno curved stair lift with park option to prevent rail from being tripping hazardIf your staircase requires a custom curved stair lift, there are a couple options that can prevent the lift from "getting in the way". First, are the rail park options. These options “park” the stair lift around the corner of the top or bottom of the stairway allowing you to easily load and unload the lift away from the stairs.

The other option is a rail overrun, which is a similar to a park option, but it just simply keeps the rail on the same path. This option makes sense if the the path of the rail will keep it out of the way at the top and/or bottom landings. Both of these options maximize space on the staircase and prevent the chair from becoming a tripping hazard at the top and bottom landings of the staircase.

Schedule a Stairlift Consultation

Lifeway Mobility accessibility specialist arrives at home for stair lift consultationA qualified stair lift provider will be able to evaluate your staircase and the area around it to help you determine if your stairs can accommodate a stair lift. Most local dealers offer free consultations during which they can address concerns about your stairs.

To schedule a free, no-obligation stair lift consultation with Lifeway Mobility, contact us today.

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