As the population ages and life expectancy increases, more and more Americans are finding themselves living with reduced mobility later in life. This can often impact their ability to perform everyday, simple tasks like going up and down the stairs. To combat this, many individuals use stairlifts, which utilize a chair connected to a motor and a rail to safely move between floors of their homes. But what if you have a curved staircase, or one that has a turn in it? Can you still install a stairlift? The answer is yes! Curved stairlifts can be designed to fit any configuration of staircase, but you need to make sure that you have the right specifications. Keep reading to learn 3 important specifications for your curved stairlift.
For any stairlift—regardless of whether it’s curved or straight—you need to ensure that you have the proper length of rail. Those rails act as the track for your stairlift’s chair, so their length must be precisely fitted to the length of your staircase. Too long, and it will jut out into the space at the top or bottom of your staircase, obstructing traffic; too short, and you’ll be stranded in the middle of the stairs. Typically, getting the right length isn’t a problem for a professional who is experienced in stairlift installation. If they do happen to make a mistake on these measurements, they should correct it without charging you any additional fees for their error.
For a straight stairlift, the length of the rail is more or less the only specification you have to worry about for the lift’s track. However, curved stairlifts are more complex. Different designs have a different curve to them, and the railing must fit that curvature exactly in order to work. Even for staircases with only a single turn in them (such as with L-turn and U-turn staircases), an inaccurate measurement of that turn radius can cause the rail to not fit the staircase properly, or to stick out too far into the middle of the staircase, making it difficult for others to use the stairs.
This calculation can be a bit more difficult to perform, but again, experienced professionals who have installed many stairlifts should be able to get this number down correctly.
Finally, you’ll need to decide on any added features you want on your curved stairlift. For example, do you want a rail extension that comes around the end of the staircase, so that the chair is more easily accessible? Is there a certain color or type of upholstery you want on the chair? While these features may not sound as important for curved stairlifts as the ones mentioned above, they’ll ensure you get exactly the lift you want for your home.