Home Lift Installation

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deema

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Holmes Chapel
I hope this might be of interest to some!
We are in the process of moving to what in all likelihood is our last home! It rather takes my breath away to say that, as it makes me feel far older than my actual years! So, we are trying to ensure that both our potential needs and those of my elderly parents who will be joining us are accommodated. The big issue as you get older is managing stairs, and we wanted to ensure this was covered as my father can no longer handle stairs without serious help. So to maintain his independence we were faced with two options, a stair lift or an actual lift. We had fitted a stair lift to my parents in law property when they needed it (they have both now passed) and found that not only are they a serious amount of money if you have a turn in the stairs but, devalue the house when you come to sell it if you keep it in / worth nothing if you take them out! So we wondered about an actual lift.
The right lift adds value / makes it more attractive to a buyer and has greater utility. Not only can you get a wheel chair to different levels but also you can use it to move anything between floors. They are kind of ‘cool’.

My wife carried out the research, and there appears to be three types of lift. The first, which is the easiest to install is a ‘leg‘ lift, which can be placed in virtually any house. There are a number of company’s offering these type of lifts. The second is a platform lift, that requires a shaft, but the lift is self supporting. The third is a typical commercial lift that requires a full lift shaft and is great for a new build. Of the three types we decided go for a platform lift as this is an installation into an existing property.

Platform lifts are literally an L shaped platform that moves within an enclosed shaft. The walls move past you. There appears to be three types! Hydraulic, screw and belt driven, and to add to the mix there are a number of suppliers of each. However, the main differential appears to be the manufacturer with Swedish and German manufacture being the most reliable. Sourcing a lift proved to be both very time consuming and difficult. Once you state your a residential property interest from company’s becomes decidedly luke warm. I’m assuming that conversion rates are very low! Hydraulic lifts are the most expensive, with screw and belt being similar in price. We choose to go with a screw thread platform lift from a Swedish manufacturer.

The lift we choose is approximately £6K more than stair lift, but, it will have added at least the cost of the lift to the house value (My eldest son owns an estate agency) and if I did move I would not lose anything unlike with a stair lift (which is custom made for the stairs)
 
The first stage is to cut a hole from the first floor to the ground floor. The lift company provide details of the opening that are required. A base in the ground floor is also required that can withstand the weight of the lift. Cutting the hole through the first floor is relatively easy depending on where the floor joists run. I was lucky, they ran the right way to make it easy. Sorry, no photo☹️

The ground floor needed a ’pit‘ to be dug that will be filled with concrete to 50mm below finished floor level.
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With about 1m3 of concrete poured we were almost ready for the lift.
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The lift requires a 16A class C MCB supply through an isolator and for the concrete to be painted with an oil resistant paint. The screw is oil lubricated and the avoids any issues if the collector overflows for any reason. I used garage floor paint.
 
The lift was installed by a dedicated team, who from start to finish took 2 days.
Starting to unpack it

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The main lift gubbins


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The shaft mechanism with head screw to the left.

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We choose a couple of ‘upgrades’ automatic opening smoked glass doors rather than a single manual door, and to have a lining covering any mechanical bits for aesthetics.

The lift can be left without boxing it in, but we decided to box it in. The lift is descending in the photo. It still needs plastering and painting and the floor finishing off. But otherwise the ground floor is finished.
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The first floor still needs boxing in etc.
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I agree with your assessment of stairlifts. I see them for sale all the time for almost give away prices because they are no longer needed and tend to be custom fit to each house. I've looked before at residential elevators/lifts on Alibaba out of curiosity and they are a fraction of the cost of the domestic ones here, much less than stair lifts in fact. With due diligence I think a person could get a good one imported. The rub would be having to do or arrange for installation which I would have no qualms doing now but not when I may need one and to see if any compliance regulations applied. If it came down to it I'd rather have a rancher where there are no stairs at all. 😉

Pete
 
We opted down the single story building (bungalow) route but interesting to see what can be done if you’re not scared of heights (ok,exercise) 🤣
 
I have two ‘apprentices’ the white one, is a keen builder, loves to dig! The black one was skiving off in his bed!
They are both Miniature Schnauzers, white is not a recognised colour for the breed so he is an odd ball in more ways than one😂
 
Now if it was really clever it would double as a shower (and a downstairs water feature when the shower/lift was upstairs in use). Of course you wouldn't want to accidentally hit the down button mid-shower and end up doing a slow reveal!
 
Hi are you aware that there is a grant available from local council to do the above adaptation! No good to you now as work started but to others thinking of /need adaptation including wet rooms
Paul
 
As you get older there is one more vital accessory, a small recording device like an old fashioned dictaphone. Then you can record a message to yourself before you set off and replay it when you arrive. It avoids that "Now, what did I come upstairs for?" moment. 🤔
 
Excellent choice of lift. Back when I used to inspect such things that type was one of my favorites. Only ever saw one fail (fail safe I should say) it was at a place that sells fried chicken, I won't call it a restaurant. The lift was rated for 400 Kg but twice a week they took delivery of 500Kg of frozen chicken. To lazy to carry it up the stairs they put it in the lift. 500Kg of chicken plus ice plus pallet. The lift being overloaded refused to travel (good lift) but if you open the control box it has an emergency override designed to rescue, via battery power if needed, meant to run down only but can move up briefly in case it's necessary to free someone.

For over a year they abused that lift, when it finally failed it sank slowly to the ground - you can't ask more of a machine.
 
Hi are you aware that there is a grant available from local council to do the above adaptation! No good to you now as work started but to others thinking of /need adaptation including wet rooms
Paul
Hi Paul, I was aware, it’s a means tested grant, so I think for most people it isn’t accessible.
 
BTW I compliment deema and his wife on making their choice.
I add the following which may be of assistance to others...

My wife and i have just gone through this decision.
We decided on stairlifts as we were "bothered/terrified" about the price of a dedicated 3 story lift which in our wonderful final home, with its host of smallish rooms the lift access/egress was a serious complication.

We have bought low price "no longer" needed stairlifts.
A lot of stairlifts are put in by the Local Auth' at no cost for some but not all clients.
A number of persons simply wish for them to be removed prior to selling mam & dad's old house.
The removal and sometimes splitting the length of the rail is easy following a little research; I carried them in my Honda CRV with no or very little trouble of weight or length.

We have bought 6 low cost stairlifts, we have split staircases throughout; except the 1840s name Servants staircase.
We have tried to buy only one type so that if one motor goes wrong a motor from a less used staircase can be used. This changing of motors onto a different rail is again a simple task.

Also it is the long rails that the motor & seat run along that are made to measure; a half decent bodger can shorten or add to length, subject to you purchasing some for spares.

I am certainly no expert BUT if I can help please ask.

Best regards...Richard
 
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