Given that mobility issues affect at least 1 in 8 adults, wondering how to make stairs handicap accessible is a common question. Thankfully, there are a variety of solutions to ensure handicap-accessible stairs are available in private homes and public buildings.
The following five accessibility options will make it easier to move between floors.
1. Stair Lifts
Also known as a stair chair or stairway chairlift, a stair lift is a motorized device that takes users up and down a staircase while seated in a chair. The chair is attached to a rail secured to the stair treads. Stair lifts come in straight or curved rail options and are customizable to suit many staircase layouts. While stair lifts are not ideal for wheelchair users, they are often the best solution for people who can walk but have safety concerns about going up and down stairs.
Why stair lifts are a great handicap-accessible solution
A stair lift is an excellent option for residential staircases and certain commercial applications because they do not require construction for installation. A typical stair lift installation takes less than one day. Moreover, stair lifts have a compact build that allows them to fit in small spaces.
For outdoor stairs, a ramp can create a smooth and elevated path for wheelchair users to travel. That said, the space requirements often present a challenge. In public locations, a ramp’s required slope is 12 inches in horizontal run for each 1 inch in vertical rise. For example, if you have a two-foot rise in a commercial setting, you would need a 24-foot-long ramp, not including any intermediate landings. Private homes require less space than commercial buildings, but a ramp will still take up considerably more space than a lift when steps are involved. For this reason, ramps are usually not an option for indoor accessibility.
Why it’s a great handicap-accessible solution
For outdoor spaces with only 1 or 2 steps, ramps can be a simple solution and come in a range of material options. You can customize the materials with aluminum, wood, and more options to meet your design preference. Remember that ramps may require exertion on the part of wheelchair users, so they are not ideal in every situation.
As you consider how to make stairs handicap accessible, remember that the options go beyond stair attachments. The accessibility solutions below let users bypass the stairs altogether for easy passage.
3. Vertical Platform Lifts
Vertical platform lifts, also known as wheelchair platform lifts, are another option for adding accessibility to your home or business. In homes, VPLs are often used in garages, on decks and porches. They’re also commonly used for indoor and outdoor applications in public spaces. Vertical platform lifts feature a platform base powered by a drive mechanism. Unlike stair lifts that travel in an angled position, VPLs move straight up and down.
Why vertical platform lifts are a great handicap-accessible solution
When elevators don’t fit or are impractical, vertical platform lifts are a great alternative to stairs and take up less space than a ramp. These machines provide up to 14’0″ of travel in both public and residential spaces. The platform design allows wheelchair users to remain seated while utilizing the VPL.
4. Home Elevators
Add some luxury to your accessibility with a home elevator! Like elevators in commercial settings, home elevators move users between levels with the push of a button.
Why home elevators are a great handicap-accessible solution
There’s no need to navigate the stairs when users can move with ease in a home elevator. Because these elevators are built to fit within your home’s unique design, you can be sure you’re getting the perfect model. There are multiple customizable options for an elevator that will ensure it blends with the décor and style of your home.
5. LULA Elevators
A limited-use/limited-application elevator is a compact elevator designed to provide accessibility for wheelchair users. LULA elevators are typically ideal for commercial buildings where full-sized elevators are impractical.
Why LULA elevators are a great handicap-accessible solution
These elevators take up less space than traditional elevators and are more cost-effective. LULA elevators can also carry loads over 1,000 pounds, which is more than the weight capacity of stair lifts and wheelchair lifts. For small businesses, churches, and restaurants, these advantages make LULAs a popular choice.
Find the accessibility solution that suits your home or business
As you can see, if you are considering how to make stairs more handicap accessible, there’s no shortage of options. But whether it’s for a multi-level home or business, selecting the right choice can be overwhelming in the face of multiple options.
The stair lift and elevator experts at Arrow Lift can guide you in your search for handicap-accessible solutions. With over 35 years of experience, Arrow Lift helps businesses and individuals create more accessible spaces.
Whether you have questions about accessibility requirements or want to browse solutions with experienced professionals, Arrow Lift is here to help. Contact us today to learn more!