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Will a Stairlift fit in my House?

The bottom line:

  • Stairlifts are surprisingly small and discreet, so no matter how narrow or your stairs are, you’re likely to be able to find an option to meet your needs.
  • Stairlifts are also very adaptable, meaning different types of rails and chairs can be chosen to meet various characteristics.
  • Your stairlift provider will come to your house for a free home assessment to walk you through your options and show you exactly how a stairlift will fit.

If you’re considering installing a stairlift in your home, you may be concerned about the space it takes up or if it will fit on your stairs. The good news is, stairlifts can be fitted to most stairs without the need for any remodelling. But before you purchase one, let’s look at stairlift dimensions and other factors you’ll need to consider.

Types of Staircases

The shape of your staircase is the first significant factor to consider. Stairlifts can be installed indoors or outdoors, on straight or curved staircases, as well as those with turns and landings. Straight staircases, as you may expect, are more straightforward. Only the measurements of the staircase width and head clearance need to be taken into account.

Stairlifts for curved stairs, or stairs with a turn or landing, will require more specific measurements to install the rail. This is done by having detailed photographs taken and your staircase measured to create a custom-made stairlift to fit your staircase. In any case, there are a wide variety of stairlift options to fit all stairways.

will a stairlift fit in your home?

Stairlift Fit: Dimensions and Space Requirements

Stairlifts are surprisingly small and unobtrusive, fitting even on narrow staircases. Below are some standard stairlift measurements:

  • Depth from wall (when seat is folded): 14-16 inches/35-40 cm
  • Depth from wall (when seat is unfolded): 25-27 inches/64-69 cm
  • Seat width (between armrests): 20 inches/51 cm (with wider and narrower options available)
  • Seat height: 20-26 inches/51-66 cm

Your stairs will have to have a minimum width of 29 inches/73 cm for a stairlift to fit safely. This is to ensure that the seat doesn’t collide with any parts of the stairway and so other users can walk past the stairlift unimpeded. Although usually not an issue, head clearance is also a factor to look at to ensure users can fit comfortably in the seat on all parts of the staircase.

There also needs to be sufficient space at the top and bottom of the stairs for the rail to start and finish. Standard rails need 18 inches/45cm at either end of the stairs. However, if this is likely to be an issue, there is also an option of using a retractable or foldable rail which can be neatly moved out of the way whenever the stairlift isn’t in use. This is particularly practical if there is a door at the top or bottom of the stairs, meaning the doorway will be kept clear except when the stairlift is being used.

will a stairlift fit in your home?

Other Stairlift Components

The rails themselves are screwed down into the stair treads and take up little room. When it comes to the seat, there are a wide range of options in all shapes and sizes to suit users’ needs, as well as the staircase in question. Whichever option you go for, the seat, armrests and footrest all fold in or up, which means other users can go up and down the stairs without any obstruction.

There are a few other considerations you may want to keep in mind before getting your stairlift installed.

Stairlifts can go on either side of your stairs, as the rail is fitted to stair treads, not the wall. When speaking to a stairlift provider, they may recommend one side over the other for space-related or practical reasons. You do need a handrail fitted to the opposite side, as a handrail cannot be on the same side as the stairlift. However, handrails are easily removed and (re)installed, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

There also needs to be a plug socket nearby to either the top or the bottom of your stairs in order to power the stairlift and charge the battery. If you don’t have a socket close to your stairs, you’ll need to hire an electrician to install one for you. Once it’s installed, your stairlift provider will make sure any and all cables are neatly tidied away. 

Stairlifts can be fitted to the vast majority of staircases without any remodelling or big changes necessary. Most reputable stairlift providers will include a free stairlift survey to take measurements and recommend what type of stairlift is most suitable for your home, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best fit for you.

Ready to find out which stairlift fits your needs? Get in touch! Or browse some of our other stairlift-related posts to find out about grants for stairlifts, alternatives options to stairlifts, or stairlift maintenance once you have one.