The staircase is one of the most common components of a home and it is also the most dangerous part of a home for those who are mobility challenged. To help aid in the movement of a person up and down the stairs, a stair lift is one type of mobility aid that can be installed. Another option is a personal elevator.
In cases of a straight stairway, a stair lift can be installed very quickly, easily, and inexpensively, but if the staircase is not straight, then the cost of a staircase lift will increase at least 1000%. Since there is such a large difference between the cost of a straight staircase lift and one that is designed for a curved staircase, a residential elevator becomes a cost effective option for those considering a curved staircase lift.
There are several reasons that a curved stairway lift is so much more expensive than a straight stairway lift. However, the main reason is that the track must be custom built to fit the curve of a stairway. Usually it takes at least 6 weeks for the track to be built and it often takes longer for it to be installed. Once built and installed, a curved stairway lift also looses most of its value, because the track will only work on an identical staircase. This means to re-use it, you would have to find an identical staircase or have a new track built, which would be almost as expensive as purchasing a brand new lift.
There is no uniform standard when it comes to curved staircases and because of the high cost of having the track built, you will need to have to receive an in-house measurement service before you can receive an accurate estimate of the cost of the lift. This usually means that you will be in for a high pressure sales pitch when the measurer comes into your home. It is not possible to receive an accurate cost estimate without having an in home measurement though. Due to the complexity of the installation, you will also have to have a professional installation of a curved stairway lift, which also adds to the cost.
Due to the very high cost of a curved stairway lift, a residential elevator often becomes a good alternative. Price wise, a residential elevator can often be installed for about the same cost as a curved staircase lift and they can usually be installed much quicker. You will also likely need an in-house estimate if you are considering a residential elevator and will need a shaft that allows the elevator to move vertically between floors. Many times a residential elevator can be installed into the space occupied by a hall closet.
In either scenario, you will spend much more money on a curved stair lift or a residential elevator than you would on a straight stairway lift, but since the price of a curved stair lift and a residential elevator is about the same, the elevator is usually The better choice. This is because an elevator offers much more functionality than a stairway lift does.