Friday, 28 November 2008

Everything You Need to Know About Stair Railings

Are you thinking of decorating your home but you do not want to do a lot to it? Are you looking for something which will add a lot of character to your home without having to do a lot of work? If so then stair railings may just be for you.

Stair Railings and Their Many Uses

Stair railings come in extremely handy and they can be used both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors the railings can be used as a safety barrier between the stairs and the floor. It is easy to fall when going up and down stairs so by providing outdoors railings you are protecting both yourself and any visitor which comes to your home.

Indoors stair railings also add a safety feature but they can also look really decorative as well. The only real difference about indoor and outdoor railings is that with indoor ones you can use whichever material you like for them. When they are outside they are exposed to all weathers and that can wear them down or damage them if you have the wrong type of material. Usually the best choice of material for outdoor railings is iron and indoors wooden ones are the most popular.

Wooden indoor railings can create a modern, warm look which are inviting. They can also give the home a slight country feel and you can feel instantly relaxed because of that. Iron and other metal railings can be a little too imposing, especially inside so it is generally better to select wooden ones for in the home.

One of the main things which you need to remember is that no matter which type of railings you are fitting, they need to be measured and fitted properly. If they are measured incorrectly they may not hold a persons weight and they could be potentially dangerous. Obviously this is a big problem so it is vital that you measure the area where they are going and if you are unsure about fitting them yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.

Stair railings can look good both indoors and outdoors and you can purchase them in a number of different materials. Each material has a different look to it and that will affect the overall look of the home when they are used. Always ensure that you purchase ones which match the theme of the home for example do not get modern wooden railings if your home look old fashioned!

Overall choose carefully when looking for stair railings and remember that you can choose whichever material you like indoors but generally iron is better for outdoor use. All railings have the potential to improve the look of your home and though they can also stand out and look odd if you purchase the wrong ones.

Andrew Caxton is a journalist who has written more articles and newsletters on this subject for . You can find more information and resources on stair railings at his website.

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Stair Sprints - A Great Exercise

Losing weight is not hard at all and almost anyone can do it. You need to watch what you eat and start a simple exercise routing.

You don't need to starve yourself or exercise yourself to death. All you need to do is get a few exercises into a routine and eat the right kinds of foods and you are set. You don't need specialized equipment, a gym membership, or even a great trainer.

A great exercise you can add to your routine is that of stair sprinting. This type of exercise is easy and anyone can do it, either at home, at work and even in the park. All you have to do is go up and down flights of stairs several times.

You can do this in a building, at the shopping mall, and just about anywhere that has stairs. The more floors the better it is for you.

This is the ideal exercise even for people who already consider themselves to be fit. Try running up and down a flight of stairs several times. If you can't manage to go up very many don't worry.

The more you go up and down stairs, the better your physical condition gets. In no time at all you will be running up and down those steps.

Try stair sprinting for a couple of weeks and then increase the number of stairs you go up. Change your repetitions from 2 to 4 and continue working yourself up as you get better at it.

Stair sprinting is a great exercise for the leg muscles and the glutes. This is a great exercise to get those legs into shape. Just be careful with the stairs, pay attention to what you are doing and don't trip and hurt yourself.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Vertical Platform Lifts Vs Stair Lifts

When faced with the option of using an elevator or using the stairs, many people opt for the elevator. Climbing the stairs, even for those that are young and in shape, can be very strenuous, but if you are mobility challenged then in addition to being strenuous it can also be dangerous. This is why many people use mobility lifting aids to help conquer the stairs.

There are two general types of lifting aids that are used in the home. The stair lift is probably the most common type, but many people also install vertical platform lifts. They both offer a different service.

Vertical platform lifts are basically elevators that are installed alongside a set of steps. While very similar to elevators, a vertical platform lift is completely self contained, so there is no expensive construction or installation. These types of lifts are most frequently used on the front steps of homes and are able to transport a standing person or a person who is in a wheelchair or electric scooter.

Most vertical platform lifts have a maximum lifting height of about 12 feet. At this distance the lift will need to be secured firmly to the ground, but also to the side of the stairs. They are often called porch lifts since they are most often installed onto the front porch of homes.

A stair lift is another type of lifting aid that is used to help a person climb the stairs. Unlike a vertical platform lift, stair lifts usually only carry people, so if you use an electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter, you will not be able to carry it on the lift.

Where a vertical platform lift moves straight up and down, a stair lift is installed lengthways on the stairs. Usually a metal track is secured to the steps and then a chair or small platform is sent up and down the track. This makes these devices more flexible than a vertical platform lift, because they can be installed onto almost any type of staircase.

Price wise a stair lift usually costs less than a vertical platform lift, but they do not offer as much functionality. A porch lift can be used to transport multiple people and also their mobility devices. They can also be used to easily move goods and supplies between levels of the home.

A stair lift on the other hand can usually only carry a single person and minimal goods and supplies, but what the staircase lift lacks in functionality, it makes up for in flexibility. Often a vertical platform lift is not able to be installed indoors, because of the walls in the home, but it is extremely rare that you won't be able to install a stair lift.

Vertical platform lifts and staircase lifts are both mobility aids that are used to improve safety on the stairs, but they also greatly improve mobility, because the stairs are no longer an obstacle with the addition of one of these mobility aids.

Brad Brubaker has used many types of mobility related devices. Learn about stair lifts, vertical platform lifts, and many other types of Mobility Aids by visiting US Medical Supplies.

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Acorn Stair Lift - How Does It Rate?

The Acorn Superglide 120 is the number one selling stair lift on the market. But is the number of home stair lifts sold by the company due to hype and slick marketing, or does Acorn sell in large numbers because it's the best?

Safety should be the buyer's first concern when looking for a stair chair lift. It should be a mobility aid and not a health and safety hazard. Also, you need to determine what features it should have to best serve your requirements. The price of the it should be your last concern.

Acorn models come fitted with many safety features as standard. Like most top rated stair lifts, the Acorn Superglide is powered by DC 24 volt rechargeable batteries. This ensures that you're entirely safe from electrocution. Pressure sensitive sensors are fitted to 5 surfaces on the chair; on the footrest and carriage. This ensures that the chair will immediately stop should any obstacle be encountered.

The swivel seat is standard and will only operate when the seat is in the correct locked position.

As standard, an inertia lap belt is supplied, but there is the option of fitting a static, 3-point fixed-over shoulder harness.

Most importantly, electronic and mechanical breaking systems are fitted as standard to prevent any uncontrolled descent of the chair.

One shouldn't assume that all companies provide the above safety features. The Summit stair lift, which is cheaper than the Acorn Superglide, only comes with sensors on the footrest - there is nothing to detect any obstacle on the rail itself. Also, the Summit does not feature a breaking system anywhere as near sophisticated as the Acorn machine.

The Acorn also comes with mechanical joystick and two wireless remote controls. The chair is of a slim line design and can be folded to free up space on the stairs. You can also get outdoor versions and you can get an Acorn Superglide Perch stair lift, which is great for those who have trouble in bending knees.

Few other manufacturers offer so many features as standard and at the same cost of an Acorn machine.

Well, it all sounds too good to be true, but does the Acorn stair lift have any negative points?

In fact, it does. Acorn only makes a straight stair lift. Therefore, you won't be able to use this company's product if your stairs are curved, have middle landing, half turns etc. Other manufacturers like Bruno and Stannah make curved stair lifts. In order for a manufacturer to claim to make the best machines, it really should be making curved models. Curved machines require more advanced manufacturing techniques and one would have to ask if Acorn lacks these.

Also, the Acorn website touts that the Superglide is very easy to install. The company says that if you can put up a set of shelves you can install an Acorn stair lift. The Accessibility Equipment Manufacturer's Association strongly recommends against self-installation for many safety reasons as well as local law violations and lack of warranty. Both Stannah and Bruno advise against self-installation and state that installation of any kind should only be carried out by a qualified technician.

One can't help thinking that Acorn promotes self installation because it helps boost sales.

The Superglide is one of the best stair chair lifts for straight stair cases. Most consumer reviews seem to back this up. But, if you do buy an Acorn stair lift, do have it professionally installed. If the dealer tells you that there isn't any need and it will only add to cost, find another dealer who will install it for you.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Why Stair Railings are Not Just Functional

If you look upon the stair railings in your home as simply something to hold on to as you go from one level to another, you are missing a lot. Stair railings can add a lot to the look of a home and reflect your personal taste in decorating. Stair railings made of wood, metal or other materials are available that are easy to install and will add a great deal of value to your home. Don't forget that the stair railing is the first thing people see when they enter your home. If you are going to install a new stair railing in your home, seek the advice of a professional who can advise you as to the best choices in materials, design and types of construction.

For a choice that will always be in style, wood stair railings are usually the way to go. Wood stair railings are classic and have been used for many years and are still popular today, even with the choice of other materials that are available. There are unique designs available in wood and wood is one of the easiest materials to work with. Oak railings, for example, have a lovely reddish tinge and visible knots that add to the character of the railing. A beautiful oak wood balustrade overlooking a room will truly be memorable. Matching the color of the railing to the floor will lend a smooth, unbroken line to the area, but sometimes that may not be easy to do, Trying to match the all of the wood aspects of a room, such as the flooring, stairs, handrails, trim and balustrade is not an easy task. The most visible and noticeable part of a railing is the handrail, and it is also the part with the most important function: to steady people and to hold up the balustrade. These are important elements to consider in the design of the stair railing. The soft glow of wood railings offer charm and grace to a home and add a finishing touch to the beauty of the home while, of course, adding to the value. Strong, durable wood is a material for stair railings that will never go out of style. Traditional buildings, such as libraries, office buildings or houses and commercial edifices built in the traditional style usually have oak wood railings. It is preferred because it adds elegance and warmth to whatever area it is in.

Today, many people opt for metal railings, and this style goes well with certain decorating, especially since there are so many styles with decorative options to choose from. You will find metal railings in many luxury residences because of the elegance they can add to a home. They are especially prevalent in commercial spaces since they offer the same design and safety features as wood, but can be much more functional. The almost limitless design features available in metal railings make them right for almost any environment. Metal railings, of course, have to be installed by a specialist in that material. Make sure you hire a craftman who works in metal, because this in not an easy material to work with.

An expert will be necessary for any stair railings you want, because of the important steps that have to be considered in building a rail; the safety of a railing is paramount. The height of the stairway, the proper number of steps and the height of the rise are all very critical to both the safety and beauty of the stair. With the proper guidance of an expert, you can use your imagination and creativity in designing a beautiful staircase, especially since you have today's modern assortment of designs to choose from. Just let your inner artist guide the way.

Andrew Caxton is the author and editor of many resources published at If you would like more information on this topic please checkout his website, read his article about stair railings, and subscribe to his successful e-newsletter, published regularly

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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Installing a Stair Lift to Increase Safety

Walking up and down the stairs is something that is difficult for many individuals who are over 65 or suffer from medical conditions that effect their mobility. Not only is climbing the stairs difficult, but it is also dangerous, so many people choose to install a stair lift.

A fall down the stairs can be devastating and is the leading cause of hospitalization and accidental death among people over 65 For this reason, many avoid the stairs or rely on friends and family to help them. In some cases the inability to safely use the stairs might seem cause for a dramatic life change, such as a move, but none of this is necessary if you choose to install a stair lift, which are also often called stair chairs.

A stair chair gets its name, because a person is able to move up and down the stairs in a chair. A track is secured to the stairs and an electric motor then moves the chair along the track. Depending on the type of lift, some are capable of supporting over 500 pounds. These models are considered heavy duty stair chairs and also feature seats that are wider and reinforced. Most non-heavy duty lifts support around 350 pounds.

Individuals who have straight stairways are usually able to install a stair lift for much less than the cost of a residential elevator. In these cases, the stairway lift can also be installed without any major home renovation and often in less than a week. Several do-it-yourself kits are available that can be installed in only a few hours. If you don't feel comfortable or qualified to do the installation, you can have the lift professionally installed as well, which still costs considerably less than an elevator.

Those that have a straight stairway or one that is 'L' shaped and has a 90 degree bend, can usually install a straight stair chair with little difficulty, but those with curved steps are not so lucky. A curved lift will have to be custom built and professionally installed. Usually the cost is at least a hundred times more than a regular stair chair. The curved lift also will only work for the staircase it was designed, which greatly limits the resale value. In this case, a residential elevator is a good option.

Unlike the curved lift, the elevator will recoup much of its initial cost when the house is sold. Several quality residential elevator kits are available that can easily be retro-fitted into a home. They can be installed into wooden frames, without the necessity of having a brick or concrete elevator shaft. A vertical space between floors is necessary, but often times a hallway closet provides the perfect space. Since the cost and time it takes to build and install a curved lift and an elevator are relatively the same, the elevator is almost always the favorable choice.

Using a stair chair or an elevator is an excellent way to decrease the risk of a fall. In many instances they can be easily installed for a very affordable rate, without requiring excessive home construction.

Sam, a writer, is knowledgeable about many different types of mobility aids including stair lifts, which are a great way to increase safety on the stairs. Whether you have need of curved stair lifts or one for a straight staircase, visit the Stair Lift Guide to learn about these mobility aids.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Bruno Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor Stairlift

A stairlift is a basic requirement for physically disabled people, whether it is for indoor use or outdoor use. Bruno, a leading stair lift manufacturer in North America, presents you the Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor Stairlift for effective outdoor use. This stair lift is meant for straight stairways. Bruno has in its repertoire other accessibility products such as indoor stairlifts for straight staircases as well as curved staircases. Vertical platform lifts and vehicle lifts are other products manufactured by them.

Bruno's Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor Stairlift provides easy, safe and comfortable movement on outdoor stairways. This stair lift helps physically disabled people to overcome their difficulties in accessing outdoor locations.

Some of the special features of Bruno Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor Stairlift are:

- Weather-resistant cover system to protect the chair from elements when unused
- Can operate at temperatures ranging from 25° F to 125° F
- Electrical enclosure available for protection from rain and other severe weather conditions
- Long lasting powder-coated paint finish gives extra protection from weather

This stair lift has a lifting capacity of 400 lbs. Bruno Electra-Ride Elite Outdoor stairlift can function with battery also, and therefore can be used even during power outages. The battery can be charged by plugging it into the household power outlet using a charger. Other exceptional features are lockable swivel seating for easy entry and exit from the seat, two remote keys for call/send controls, seating size of 20 inches between the arms, charging station indicator light at the top and bottom of stairways, and precise and easy service through onboard diagnostics.

For the security of users, safety measures such as retractable seat belt and sensors are provided. The safety sensor senses obstacles in the way and stops the lift, thus avoiding injury to the user and damage to the lift. Adjustable foot rest height and seat height ensures maximum comfort to the user.

Bruno provides a 5 year warranty for the major components of the stair lift. Some parts of the lift have two years warranty. Bruno has appointed worldwide dealers for the convenience of customers who wish to purchase their's products. For installation, maintenance and repair of the stair lift, all assistance will be provided by these dealers.

Day Elevator & Lift, a premier provider of stair lifts, elevators and wheelchair lifts for residential and commercial applications. Bruno Electra-Ride Elite outdoor stairlift is a long lasting product and is so designed that it provides maximum safety and reliability.

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Saturday, 1 November 2008

Stair Lifts - Preventing Difficulty on the Stairs

It is very common for those who are over the age of sixty-five to have difficulty using the stairs. Many times it is as a result of a neuromuscular disease, like multiple sclerosis, but often it is a result of a cognitive disease, like arthritis. Regardless of the reason, it is very easy to hurt yourself on the stairs and falling down the stairs is a leading cause of death. To help prevent the risk of severe injury a stair lift can be installed to almost all types of staircases.

A stair lift is a device that carries a person up and down the stairs. They are often called stair chairs, because most use a chair that moves up and down the stairs on a metal track. Some models are available that use a small platform, referred to as a perch, and require the rider to remain in a standing position as they move up and down the steps. These types of lifts are mainly used by people who are not able to bend their legs and since they require a good deal of balance, should only be used if medically necessary.

The easiest type of stair lift to install is one that is designed for a straight staircase. These types of lifts can usually be installed by the homeowner in a few hours. The track is installed directly onto the steps and using the supplied hardware can be bolted and leveled with relative ease.

The straight stair lift is not only the easiest type of lifting aid to install, but it is also the least expensive type of lifting aid. Stair lifts that install to the wall or banister are much more expensive and will generally require a professional installation service. If you have a straight staircase then you should almost always be able to install a traditional stair lift, but in some cases where the staircase is extremely narrow, you might be forced to install a wall mounted stair lift.

People that have a narrow staircase, more often than not are able to install a traditional staircase lift, but people who have a curved staircase are not so lucky. If you have a curved staircase, you might need to purchase a custom built curved stairway lift. These lifts are usually at least a hundred times more expensive than a straight stairway lift. In addition to being much more expensive, a curved lift will often take over two months to be built and installed.

The reason these lifts are so much more expensive than a traditional lift is that a curved stairway lift will need to be custom built to fit the curve of your stairway. In order to get proper measurements, a curved stairway lift dealer will send a salesman to your house to measure your stairs and give you an accurate measurement. This salesman will then perform an in home sales pitch, which is often high pressure and is designed to make you purchase the lift right then.

There are some cases where two straight stairway lifts can be installed in place of one curved stairway lift, so if you have an 'L' shaped stair lift then it is a good idea to contact a dealer of straight lifts.

Sean Noughtly has had experience with many types of stair lifts and other mobility lifting aids. Visit AmeriGlide to learn about stair lifts, dumbwaiters, wheelchair lifts, and more.

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