How Wide Do Stairs Need To Be For A Stairlift?

There’s a lot that goes into customizing a home to make it easier to get around, especially between floors. One question we get a lot is, “How wide do stairs need to be for a stairlift?”

Your stairway should be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate the safe and comfortable operation of most stairlifts, although some stairlifts might work on stairs as narrow as 28 inches.

Many staircases in new houses are at least 36 inches wide, due to the 2012 IRC (International Residential Code), which is great news for some, but if your house is fairly old it’s still necessary to double-check the width.

How To Properly Measure Your Stairway Width

indoor stairlift with stairway width visible

Measuring the width is typically as simple as using a measuring tape to measure from wall to wall in the stairway.

But what about in situations where there’s a railing instead of a wall on one side of the stairway? Or what if there are other obstructions along the stairway?

The safest measurement goes from one wall to the farthest possible obstruction on the other side of the wall. For example, if your stairway is 32 inches wide but there is a 1 inch molding on the wall side and a 2 inch obstruction from the railing, then reduce the overall measurement by 3 inches, which brings it down to 29 inches wide.

If you’re not sure how to properly measure your stairway, one of our seasoned experts can come in and do a measurement for you as part of a complimentary in-home inspection and assessment.

If My Stairs Are The Wrong Size, Is There An Alternative To A Stair Lift?

Yes, the most common alternative is a stair-climbing aid, something you hold on to with your hands as you walk up the stairs. Similar to a stairlift, this would require a track for this device to be installed on, but instead installing a chair on the track, a hand-held device would be installed.

Alternatively, there are also wheelchair stair climbers which are electric-powered wheelchairs with additional wheels that assist in climbing or descending stairs while being seated. This, however, would require a person to facilitate the process, so this is not a viable solution for individuals who need to climb stairs independently.

Despite these alternatives, we still strongly recommend consulting with an experienced stairlift installation company before ruling out a stairlift as an option. Click here to request a free in-home assessment today!

How Much Does A Stair Lift Cost? (Various Installations Compared)

elite outdoor straight stairlift

If you know that you would benefit from a stair lift but you’re not sure if you can afford it, you are probably wondering, “How much does a stair lift cost?” Our answer is based on the thousands of stair lifts we’ve installed in clients’ homes.

Typically, a stair lift costs between $2,500-$5,000 including installation fees, for straight staircases, which are most common. Installation on spiral staircases can run as high as $10,000 or more depending on complexity.

Why can the price range so drastically? Keep reading to find out what factors can impact price so you can get a more accurate idea of what it might cost you.

Most Common Factors Impacting Installation Costs

Our least expensive installations are refurbished stair lift installations on straight staircases. Refurbished units can cost as much as $1,000-$1,500 less than brand new models but is subject to availability. If you already have a stair lift, you can save money on a new one by trading in your current one.

The most expensive installation is typically on curved staircases. This is due largely to the complexity involved, and the extra time required to double check and make sure the installation is stable and reliable.

The following charge breaks down common situations and the typical costs:

Installation TypeTypical Cost
Straight staircase, refurbished unit:$1,800-$2,500
Straight staircase, new unit:$3,000-$5,000
Curved stairlift, indoors:$10,000+
Outdoor stair lift:$5,000+

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Stair Lift?

Maintaining your stair lift is important to ensure your safety at all times. Plan to have a professional come and do a yearly inspection and maintenance, but of course contact a professional if you notice any changes in your stair lift that could impact your safety. Yearly inspections typically cost between $100-$200, depending on the complexity of the installation.

Since stair lifts are battery powered, plan for the occasional battery replacement. Batteries typically last 3-4 years under normal conditions. The cost to replace the batteries is between $75-$150, plus a service charge.

What About Medicare?

We often get the question, “Does Medicare cover stair lifts?” In short, the answer is No, it is not covered. There are other options to make getting a stair lift affordable, including opting for a refurbished unit, seeing if it would be partially covered under Medicaid, or applying for financing (we’ve partnered with OneMain Financial to offer this).

Would Renting A Stair Lift Save Me Money?

If your need for a stair lift is somewhat temporary, renting one could save you some money. Typically this runs between $125-175/mo with an initial service fee of $600. Over the course of a year or two, this typically costs as much or more than buying or financing one, so if you expect to need one more more than 12 months, then purchasing one may be your most cost-effective option.

Get A Custom Quote

When it comes down to it, the only way to get an accurate estimate on how much it would cost to install a stair lift in your home is to get a quote from a local professional. If you’re in the Lancaster County & York County region (Pennsylvania), contact us here at Independent Home Solutions by calling 717-393-8213 or by requesting a free in-home assessment. One of our experienced professionals will come into your home, take measurements and provide an estimate, and help you determine the most cost-effective solution.

Does Medicare Cover Stair Lifts? No, But Try This Instead

stairlift at bottom of stairs

If moving from the ground floor of your house to the upstairs level has become difficult, you’ve no doubt heard about how stair lifts can help make this possible. Stair lifts can get pretty pricy depending on the installation, which leaves a lot of people wondering, “Does Medicare cover stair lifts?” The answer is…

No, Medicare does not cover stair lifts or the installation of stair lifts in your home. However, there maybe be other options for you to get a stair lift without paying the full price.

Before we explore alternate options to Medicare, it’s first helpful to understand why Medicare doesn’t cover this kind of equipment.

Why Doesn’t Medicare Pay For Stair Lifts?

Medicare covers equipment that is the category of what they call “durable medical equipment” (DME). This includes a variety of equipment including “patient lifts” which are sometimes confused for “stair lifts.” A patient lift is a device that helps a person move from a chair to a bed or something similar.

While a patient lift is covered, a stair lift is not because a stair lift is installed into the house (the wall and the stairwell) which makes it a “home improvement” thus disqualifying it from coverage with medicare.

Other Ways To Get Financial Assistance For A Stair Lift

Depending on your situation, you may have some other options besides Medicare to get some financial assistance for your stair lift.

First of all, if your injury happened during active service, you may be able to get some support through VA health care. Check to see if there there are any financial support options or any VA grants that may apply to your situation.

If you qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to get a portion of the cost of the chair lift covered. Learn more about how to apply for Medicaid through USA.gov

Alternatively, look for insurance programs that accept Medicare Advantage, which may cover a portion of the cost, depending on your situation and the insurance program.

If none of these ways seem relevant or viable for you, you may have to pay the full price for a stair lift, which we’ll explain in the next section.

How Much Does a Stairlift Cost?

If you have to pay the full price for a stairlift, the cost could range anywhere from $2,000 up to $5,000 or more (including the cost of installation) depending on the make and model of the lift. If you have a curved staircase, the cost of installing a custom stair lift goes up significantly, possibly as high as $10,000 or more. If this is more than you can afford up-front, we offer financing options through OneMain Financial – click here to apply!

Or if you go the rental route, typical costs of renting a stairlift is between $300 to $500 per month.

But there’s no need to guess at pricing! Simply request a free consultation and one of our specialists will come out and inspect your stairway and let you know exactly how much to expect the installation to cost.

Are Stair Lifts Tax Deductible?

We are not tax consultants but we have heard that many people have been able to get a partial or even full tax deduction for the cost of the stair lift and installation. Check with your CPA to see if you may qualify.

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