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All about home elevators
In this latest Q&A, Stiltz Home Elevators answer some of the more popular questions posed by customers

How is the typical user profile of people seeking accessibility products changing?

Increasingly, many seniors are choosing to ‘age in place’. That is, remain in their family home, on their own terms and surrounded by an established social and family support network; they want to avoid relocating or downsizing as much as possible.

Customers who choose home elevators in preference to stair lifts tend to be retired or semi-retired professionals who wish to adapt rather than replace their multi-level homes. They know there will be a need to support personal mobility and to successfully future-proof for the coming years. As awareness of residential elevators has grown over the last two to three years, there is now a greater demand for home lift products from a wider audience; including those of all ages who are living with restricted mobility. Stiltz home elevator customers extend to multi-generational families and also a number of younger persons who can benefit from positive and accessible living – through the simple addition of a contemporary residential elevator.

Those embarking on wholesale home renovation or self-building their dream property from the ground up often look to install features such as wet rooms and home elevators to provide cast iron assurance that their homes will be future-proofed for many years to come.

What are the most common questions asked by your customers?

The most commonly-asked questions relate to where a residential elevator might be positioned and the size of the lift. Much like most home lift providers, at Stiltz Home Elevators or its accredited partners, will visit the customer in their home where they listen carefully to needs and concerns and provide clear information on sizing and discuss home elevator positioning options, as well as answering any other questions as required.

What’s the first step anyone should take when considering a home elevator?

An important consideration, and one which few people are aware of, is having the reassurance of dealing with the manufacturer of the chosen home lift. This way, should any after sales support be needed, the customer can contact the residential elevator manufacturer directly. There is nothing worse than finding out, once the elevator has been installed, that it has been manufactured by a third party. This can involve the frustration of calling different companies on a variety of phone numbers in order to find a solution to an issue they might be experiencing.

Aside from that, speak to at least three companies. See how responsive they are and how interested they are in you, the customer. Compare costs, compare the professionalism of the advisor who visits and of course compare costs. Do bear in mind though that, like with everything, the cheapest option may not always provide the best value for money.

What’s the minimum space required for a domestic lift?

Stiltz manufacture two product home elevator ranges suitable for a variety of housing types and styles and to suit the specific needs of the potential user. Where space may be an issue, the compact two-person Stiltz Duo Home Elevator has one of the smallest footprints on the market for a residential elevator – covering less than 6sf surface area. 

What other considerations about internal space are necessary?

Many home elevators require fixing to a structural wall. Thanks to the dual rail travel system, Stiltz residential elevators are a completely self-supporting structure and therefore any issues with noise and vibration though party walls cease to be a problem.

Despite its good looks, some customers might not want visitors to see they have a lift installed. In addition to the standard, stair well void, ThruCar and centre-of-room options, the flexibility of positioning with Stiltz extends to installing into a closet on both floors so the home lift is completely invisible unless in use.

From a practical point of view, always consider if there is sufficient space for safe entry and exit. This is particularly important if either now or in the future, wheelchair use and carer assistance will be required. Customers tell us they use their lift to carry heavier or bulkier items between floors – whether it’s it is the laundry basket, shopping bags or holiday suitcases – so suitable access is always recommended.

Do most home elevator companies also carry out installation or do customers need to find their own installer?

Sometimes customers prefer to carry out their own building work, especially if existing work is already taking place at their property. However, the majority of home elevator manufacturers will offer an installation service as the process usually requires specialist expertise not readily available outside the industry. Always check that the price quoted by your preferred supplier includes installation costs.

What are the typical costs of a homelift in the UK?

From $15,000 – $50,000. Towards the lower end of the price bracket, you will find the cost of home elevators which have been developed specifically for the home. For instance, installation of a compact, modular Stiltz residential elevator is simple with the unit ultimately plugging into a dedicated domestic socket. Where home lifts have been adapted from commercial applications, such as hydraulic lifts; expect to pay towards the top end of the pricing bracket.

From a design point of view, what are the ‘must have features’ provided by Stiltz Homelifts?

A freestanding home elevator which travels on its own slim vertical rails sounds like something from the future. But a Stiltz, does just that. The home lift is finished in either a soft, warm grey colour or in white and all but the entry-level model residential lift cars have clear sides. This helps the residential elevator simply and elegantly blend into any style of home décor; contemporary or traditional.

Positioning the home elevator in the corner of the room is usually the preferred option. But those looking to make a real statement can install their residential elevator in the centre of the room. Space permitting, a Stiltz is unique in that it can be installed within the turn of a staircase. With the addition of the (also unique) ThruCar option – where you enter and exit the lift from opposite sides, wheelchair users especially can find it extremely easy to navigate two- or three-story homes.

What advice can you give to future-proof your choice of home adaptations?

Today’s accessibility solutions are far more integrated than simply installing a functional handrail. Innovative and exciting products are emerging which are designed to discreetly adapt your home. This means it is possible to unobtrusively future proof sooner, rather than waiting for the inevitable signs of reduced mobility. When this happens there has been – in the past – a tendency to rush to install a stair lift without much thought to the future. In reality, if a condition is diagnosed which is progressive or the onset of age-related mobility issues accelerate, a stair lift can be short-lived solution.

With a home elevator, the benefit is immediate. No difficult transfers onto the chair, no balance concerns when getting off the stair lift chair at the top of the stairs. No need for two sets of mobility aids (sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs); one for upstairs and one for downstairs, cluttering up the hallways.

If a wheelchair is likely to be required at some point in the future, the spacious Trio Home Elevator model from Stiltz can fit a standard-sized wheelchair – or three people. It is all about careful planning and making sure the correct residential elevator is specified making it an integral element of any future-proofing plans.

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