Stairlifts for narrow staircases, here are your options
You may be surprised to know that there is no minimum width for a household staircase unless the property was built specifically for disabled access.
However, we’re glad to say that properties built after 2010, typically have a minimum of around 80cm (31.5 inches) which is usually wide enough, depending on the person it’s for.
Can you buy stairlifts for narrow stairs?
In short, yes you can; but it goes without saying really that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, as each home is as unique as its owner, with its different sized doorways and wide variety of hallway layouts. Also, stairlifts for narrow staircases are not specifically manufactured for this purpose, given the vast range of mobility issues that users suffer from.
However, we’re delighted to say that there are several options you can choose from, which should result in installation being possible, as stairlifts can be fitted for almost any width of staircase.
Most leading manufacturers of Stairlifts now manufacture ‘slimline’ or ‘compact’ models with folding arm-rests, seats, footplate and a slim rail to enable them to be folded away when not in use, so that other people in the house can get up and down the stairs easily and quickly.
To help you or your family make the right decision for your needs, we have put together the following guide detailing all the models you should look at, so you can purchase a stairlift with the confidence that it will be perfect for your individual requirements.
‘Slim-style’ Straight Stairlifts (such as the Handicare / Minivator 950+ / 1100) or ‘Compact Curved Stairlifts (such as the Bison 180 or the Handicare Free Curve / Free Lift’)
These UK manufactured, industry leading innovative stairlifts are the perfect choice for by far the majority of people who want a stylish, robust and affordable stairlift. Available in a range of colours and additional useful extras such as a powered swivel seat and footplate, remote controls and key switches, they come with a 2 or 3 year warranty, are very easy to use and can be fitted in around 3-4 hours.
Perch stairlifts (named because the user has to stand or ‘perch’) require much less room than the equivalent standard models, as there is no large seat extending out in front of the stairlift track. Ideal for those who find sitting impossible or uncomfortable, the user can easily ‘glide’ up the stairs in a standing, upright position, secured in place by a seatbelt and able to use a shortened seat for comfort. Swivel seats are also available.
This type of indoor model is also a great option for anyone who has trouble lowering themselves into or raising from a seated position, due to arthritis or knee or hip complaints regardless of whether they need to purchase one because of a narrow stairway. It is important to remember, however, that perch stairlifts need the user to be able to stand for a short period of time and that a certain amount of headroom will be required in order for the person who is standing to travel up and down the stairs. All Handicare stairlifts are fitted with remote controls and key switches in case of an emergency or should you need to stop the lift quickly.
Bespoke Curved Stairlifts
If standing is not possible and you still need a stairlift for a narrow staircase, a custom built bespoke curved stairlift could be the perfect solution. This model would involve a special bespoke-built track being installed which would allow the stairlift to be raised slightly and kept a short distance away from the top and bottom of the staircase, providing the necessary clearance for other members in the house to walk past, yet remaining fully accessible.
It’s worth pointing out here of course, that custom-built stairlifts are, by very nature, more expensive than the standard models available. This is because they are manufactured to fit your property exactly, involving bends from 42 to 80 degrees which necessitates more technical and slightly longer build times, as well as taking longer to install. That said, they not only provide an excellent solution to narrow staircases but also make the most of your available space.
How can I tell if my Staircase is wide enough?
As a rough guide, when sitting in a seated position, side-on to a staircase, measure the distance between your spine and knee (or feet) to the opposite wall and if this is at least 75cm, you should be alright. Staircases narrower than this width may need a different solution.
It is worth noting of course that Stairlifts fit to the stairs and NOT the wall, so no re-decorating or alterations to your property are required.
Can I buy an exterior stairlift?
Most people think of stairlifts as just being for indoor use, but there are also countless people across the UK who have benefited from the installation of a stairlift for outside, for a variety of reasons.
These days, such stairlifts available in both straight and curved models have become much more commonplace. It is not just gardeners who find them extremely useful and beneficial but any property with exterior steps or particularly steep driveways. They make getting outside and back in again, easier, safer and can be fitted to almost any type of property including Golf Clubs and Care Homes who regularly have them installed throughout the UK. Manufactured to a high-quality standard, with the wonderfully inconsistent British weather at its core, the best outdoor stairlifts are designed to cope with whatever the elements throw at them. Fully waterproof and weather resistant (with an additional cover for added peace of mind), and UV stable, outside stairlifts are both durable and ultra- reliable, providing any user with the assistance they need to get inside or out as well as making the most of their outdoors, garden or to get into their vehicle.