Friday, 23 December 2011

Stairlifts: How to Choose the Right Chair Lift System for Your Home

Stairlifts can become a major residential solution for improved accessibility in homes that are designed with one or more staircases. Due to aging, injuries or disabilities, an increasing number of the population will not be able to access upper levels of their homes in the coming years. This will eventually force many to move from the family home and live in an unfamiliar setting, even later in life, which can be traumatic. For those who want to be able to stay in their homes after a loss of mobility, a stairlift can offer more independence for those who most need it.

However, there are many choices of lift systems for home staircases that are available. Also, there is a wide variety of features that make it even more difficult to choose the right one for your situation. If you aren't sure where to start, here are a few tips to help you start the process of choosing the perfect lift system for your home.

Evaluate the needs

Before selecting a chair lift for your home, be sure to discuss the possibility with your doctor, physical therapist, or gerontologist. These professionals can help give you a broad idea of what you or your family member's needs really are and what mobility issues are affected. Also, if possible, discuss the prefernces and concerns that your loved one may have. Sometimes there is some apprehension among the elderly about mounting a chair lift system that carries them up one or more flights of stairs. This is just one of the concerns that can be addressed ahead of time.

Do a little research

Even before you talk to a stair lift company about their product, be sure to do a little research on your own so that you are competent enough to talk to a representative. If you aren't a bit knowledgeable, it's easy to be sold something that you don't really need or won't even like later one. At least know what general types of lifts are available, such as curved or straight lifts for the homes. Also be aware that there are many options that your representative may not inform you of, so knowing as many facts as possible can help you.

Contact a reputable stairlift dealer

There are several companies that manufacture and install home lifts. They also offer general information on their websites as well as provide information through the telephone or information packets. You can easily get a representative on the phone to answer some of your initial questions. When you are ready to discuss further details of purchasing and installation, you can meet with a representative in your home. He will go over all the details for your particular staircase as well as the costs of installation and servicing. You can verify the reputation of the company by checking with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints that may have been lodged.

It's usually wise to compare prices, features, guarantees, follow-up service agreements and warranties, with 2 or 3 companies before you make your final choice. Installing this type of mobility equipment in the home can be a large investment, although it can also turn your home into an accessible, safe setting for a disabled family member.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Safety Gates and Stair Gates - 3 Tips on Keeping Your Baby From Taking a Tumble

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. My son was barely two years old and still in diapers when I heard a blood-curdling cry coming from the living room. I instinctively rushed like a freight train from my bedroom to the source of commotion, only to find my son standing there at the base of the stairs with blood gushing from his mouth. In his hand was his own front tooth. I was speechless. Gathering him up in my arms I rushed him along with the disembodied tooth to the dentist, breaking every traffic law there is.

Luckily, the dentist was able to replace the tooth, and there was no serious damage other than the trauma it had caused us all. Apparently, my son had taken a short but hard tumble - only a couple of steps - and hit his tooth on the banister. That's when I decided (after lots of self-recriminations) that I needed to invest in stair gates throughout the house to prevent anything like this from happening in the future. Since I ended up trying all the major brands, I learned a few things along the way and thought I should share my observations with my readers.

First of all, when you start looking for a safety gate for your toddler, make sure you research the major brands out there and choose one which is recommended by a lot of folks. For me personally, I like the gates from Dreambaby (don't worry, I'm not an employee) for the simple reason that they have proven incredibly reliable. If you buy one from an online distributor you can often save money instead of buying directly from retail. Also most of the best stair gates from solid brands tend to use a swing close technology, so that you can open them easily at the push of a button and they close behind you. Look into that when you're checking the different models. This feature is so useful when your hands are full - you don't want your kid to sneak out behind you!

My second piece of advice is to evaluate all the spaces in your home where you'll need gates and get the measurements and where exactly you'll install them. The type of gate you need to protect stairs is not the same type as that used to guard hallways, because there are different installation methods and widths. Get this right before you order, otherwise you'll end up ordering twice!

Lastly, I'd encourage you to order all of the gates that you will need all at one time. The reason for this is because it is often cheaper to order several gates at once to save on shipping. Also it's just less work overall than placing order after order and waiting for everything to arrive. As long as you have determined in advance your gate requirements (widths and so on) then this is the most painless way to go. I hope these few tips point you in the right direction and save you an emergency trip to the dentist!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Cheap Stair Parts - Remodel Your Stairs With Iron Balusters

Remodeling your staircase with iron balusters is fast, easy and affordable! Your stairs are the focal point in your home and a simple remodel will dramatically change the entire look of your home and also increase your homes value at the same time. Most do-it-yourself enthusiasts can accomplish a simple stair remodel on their own without the need of hiring a contractor or stair installer.

A complete stair remodel guide.

After you have decided to remodel your stairs, the first step is to measure out your staircase and create a part list. This sounds difficult but in most cases you can simply count the number of wooden balusters (also called spindles or pickets). In order to meet stair code, your balusters can only be 4 inches apart max. If any gap greater than 4 inches exists in your stair system then you will not meet code and fail any home inspection. If your wooden balusters already meet code then your iron balusters should be able to use the existing holes that were drilled for the wood balusters.

After you know how many you want, it's time to go online and find some stair parts and pick a design. I recommend you go to cheap stair parts for your balusters. They have a great selection and low prices. Even if you find the same products on another any other website, they will beat that price by 5%. My home was a larger remodel and I spent over $1600 so they also gave me free shipping. I strongly recommend them.

When buying iron balusters, try to stay within the same family of products. Do not mix hammered balusters with plain balusters. Do not mix baluster sizes such as 9/16" round with 1/2" Square. Also do not mix finishes. Stay within the same finish for all of your parts. If you do not know what finish to choose, I recommend Satin Black to be safe but Oil Rubbed Bronze is very hot right now and should match your home as easily as Satin Black will.

Once you have purchase your stair parts, it's time to begin the remodel. Lay out some sheets on your stairs to protect your flooring from debris. Cut out your wooden balusters with any saw that will fit. Just make one cut in the center of the balusters and then wiggle out the the top and bottom. Remove any loose nails. After your balusters are removed, sand around the area and get it ready for any additional stain or paint. Now is the time to re-stain or paint any areas that need touched up.

Get a band saw or a chop saw with a metal cutting blade and cut your iron balusters to length. Measure from the bottom of the handrail to the top of the flooring, add 3/4" and cut your baluster that long. Then re-drill into the handrail one inch deep. Make sure the bottom has a 1/4" hole deep. Slide your baluster shoes onto the balusters and then slide your baluster up into the handrail and drop it down into the hole below. Use a dime size drop of non-drip, clear dry epoxy on the top and bottom of the baluster. This will hold it into place easily.

After the balusters are secure, drop the shoes down and then epoxy them to the floor. Now you have a finished look. Do some clean up and enjoy your remodeled stairs.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Top Handicapped Stair Lift

Handicap stair lifts are becoming increasingly popular in old homes, and even residences. They are very useful at providing mobility to the handicapped and those that are too old to comfortably go up and down the stairs without help. Stair lifts fill this need perfectly by allowing the user to both have independence and mobility while leaving family and friends to take care of their other needs.

There are, however, many varieties of stair lifts on the market due to their increased popularity. Getting one can actually become quite troublesome as getting the wrong one will mean the handicapped person will not be able to easily use it, making it ineffective and useless.

When you are buying one for your use, make sure you follow the following advice to make sure you get the best handicapped stair lift in the market.

Every stair lift is different, so make sure you look at the kind you will need by examining your needs. For instance, if the person you are getting this for is limited to a wheelchair, or cannot stand comfortably on their own, then you should get an elevator stair lift and not one with a chair.

Another thing about handicapped stair lifts is that they require a button to be pressed. If the person who will be using this cannot press a button by themselves, or cannot reach comfortably to press it, then you should consider another option.

Also look at the upper body strength in the person who will use this. The handicapped stair lift has a chair that the user will need to sit in, and if they are not even strong enough to sit in a chair without slipping, then it would be unsafe to get them a handicapped stair lift.

Make sure the stair lift you get has a seatbelt for safety. This is extremely necessary as without on the user could slip and fall down the stairs, seriously hurting himself. Make sure you check and make sure this works properly.

Also look at your home. You need to make sure the stair lift you are getting will fit on your stairs so make sure you sign on with a company that sends someone to your place to look at the house before installing the lift. Another important thing is after sales service. Hire a company that will be available to fix the stair lift should anything go wrong and has very fast repair times as otherwise you could end up with a broken stair lift and company that takes weeks to repair it.

Finally, you need to look at power. While most models come with a battery that will work in case of a power breakdown, make sure you check this and get one that has a good battery that will last a long time. Another thing to be careful about is how it is linked to your home power supply as you want the connection to be secure. Otherwise you will have to call an electrician every few days to fix the wiring.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Stair Lift Purchase Considerations

Considerations worth pondering when making your next stair lift purchase.

Overall, there are quite a few different types of stair lifts available on the market, with many sharing a common design. Making the decision as to which model to choose often depends on the exact location where the device will be installed, as well as the physical abilities of the person using it.

Step 1 - Evaluate what type of staircase you have in the home where the device will be installed. Types include straight, curved or an "L" shape.

If you happen to have a straight staircase, it is likely that you'll be able to find an inexpensive and reliable lift to suit you needs, with little research or hassle. These types of devices area easy to install and generally do not require the aid of a professional to set up properly.

In cases of curved stair cases, a special lift will be required. These types tend to be much more expensive and will likely require the attention of a trained professional to ensure a proper install.

The "L" staircase can usually be address by simply putting two straight lifts together in the middle. This will help you save on expenses, but will require that the occupant switch seats half way up.

Step 2 - Decide whether to purchase a battery powered or electric model. Most electric units will have a lower introductory price and offer longer lengths of reliable usage.

Battery powered models can be beneficial in cases of power outages, but are more costly both as an initial investment and throughout the lifespan of the device.

Step 3 - Evaluate any and all physical properties associated with the unit. Consider aspects such as weight, height and the size of the seat required for safe transport. The size of the unit will likely help you weed out unacceptable options, providing you with a suitable base of choices to select from.

Step 4 - Additionally, you'll want to take a look into the size of the staircase itself. For paths that are a bit more narrow, a standing lift may be better suited. Standing lifts will take up less space, thus allowing for unobstructed passage by those who do not require the aid of the lift.

The best option for finding your idea unit will always be to consult with a trained technician who can direct you toward the device that best suits your needs. In this way, you can evaluate available models while ensuring that which ever you end up choosing is installed in a manner which meets your area's regulations.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Stair Lifts Provide Easy Access For Physically Challenged

Now-a-days, stair lifts have become an essential part of any multistory building, be it residential or commercial. With the progress in technology, stair lifts featuring advanced technology are available to provide easy access for the physically challenged and aged individuals up and down the stairs.

A stair lift is a movable lift, which moves along a track on which a chair is mounted. Different kinds of stairlifts such as straight rail stair lifts, curved rail stair lifts and wheelchair platform lifts are available to fulfill the needs of different people with different conditions and disabilities. These safe and reliable floor-to-floor transportation devices are intended for indoor and outdoor applications. AC and DC operated stair lift systems are available in different models. Battery operated stairlifts function even during power outages. These are easy to operate and maintain.

Popular stair lift Models

In the accessibility equipment industry, some of the well known models such as Electra-Ride LT, Electra-Ride Elite, Electra-Ride II, Electra-Ride III, Electra-Ride Elite outdoor stairlift, Flow II, Citia, stair-Glide, Excel, B.07 straight stair chair and Step Saver straight stair chair are provided by the most popular manufacturers including Savaria Concord, ThyssenKrupp Access and Bruno. Most of these stair chair lifts come with advanced features.

Stair lifts Ensure Uninterrupted Performance

Bruno Electra-Ride Elite stairlift is yet another accessibility product, in which all controls are automatic. It comes in unique and ultra-compact design. For added comfort, this accessibility equipment has adjustable seat height, footrest height and armrest width. The flip up function of the arms, seat and footrest enables this system to allow space for others to use the stairs.

Stair-Glide from ThyssenKrupp Access comes with advanced features including hand held pendant control, overspeed brake, call/send controls, fold-up arms, joy stick control on arm, foot obstruction sensors, seat belt, and swivel seat cut-off switch.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Stair Lifts Explained - Do You Need One?

In homes that have more than one floor, and where there are people who are elderly or people who maybe have some health issues, and thus find climbing up and down stairs difficult, are where stair lifts are of great help. Stair lifts are a fairly useful invention. It was an American from Pennsylvania who designed and built the first stair lift in 1920. His idea was to have a chair that could carry his ailing friends up and down stairs.

Today, stair lifts have become quite common. There are two types of basic stair lifts that are manufactured and sold. One stair lift is a platform on which a person can stand, or place a chair on it for a person to sit, and the platform travels up a rail that is fixed on the stairs. The other, and more popular type, is a chair that is fixed on a carriage that travels up and down the stairs on a rail.

The stair lift uses electricity, and there are cables that are pulled and released by a motor that pulls the stair lift up the stairs. The stair lift has wheels that travel on a rail. Stair lifts run on AC or DC current. The DC-type stair lifts cost more as they use batteries to provide power to the motors of the stair lift, and thus require a charger to charge the batteries. The normal electricity that is supplied in homes operates the motors of an AC-type stair lifts.

Imagine a winch hooked to a platform that rests on wheels, and the wheels in turn are placed on a rail. The rail is fitted on an incline. When the winch is operated, the motor pulls the cable, which in turn pulls the platform up the rail. To make the platform go down the rail the cable is released slowly. This is the basic principle by which a stair lift works.

stairs in houses don't always go straight up to the next floor. There may be a landing, and then the stairs continue to the upper floor. The stairs can also have a curve in them. Today, stair lifts are available to cater for all these requirements.

All that is required is to tell the company from where the stairs lift is to be purchased about the type of stairs in the home. They will then send a person who will measure the stairs, and then tell you how much the stair lift is going to cost. Once the sale is agreed upon, they will come and fit the stair lift. stair lifts have warranties and after sale service.

Stair lifts are a convenience, and especially useful in homes where there are ailing people who have difficulty in travelling up and down the stairs. In cases where changing the house or extending the house to construct an extra room for the ailing person is not an option, then the convenient option is to get a stair lift. Stair lifts today have come a long way. The seat on the stair lift can be rotated, and they also have sensors. All these have been built to provide convenience and safety for the user. All it takes is a push of a button to operate them, and they are extremely safe and convenient. They can also be used to carry loads up and down stairs, just like carrying a laundry basket.

stair lifts are easily available. At times stair lifts are a necessity and not a luxury.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Fixings Squeaking Stairs in Older Homes

Oh yes the common problem of squeaking stairs in an older house. This could become very frustrating and annoying as you walk up and down the stairs. There seems to be one or two stair treads that are always squeaking. That annoying sound as you walk as softly as you can on your way down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to grab a quick snack.

The number one cause of squeaking stairs is when the nails used to fasten the stair tread to the stair strainers has worked its way loose. Over time as the lumber shrinks in the stair treads and the stairs stringers. You will start to develop a separation or a gap between the stair tread and the stair strainer.

The stair stringer can shrink as much as 3/8 of an inch in just a few years. I was building a home and went to measure the stair stringer that was 11 1/2 inches wide originally. Then I measured it after two months outside in the summer sun it now measured 11 1/16". I was amazed that the lumber could shrink that much in such a short period of time.

As the stair stringer shrinks it starts to pull away from the plywood or hardwood stair tread. As it starts to separate from the stair tread the nail will stay in its original position until the stair tread starts to put pressure on the nail eventually lifting it up a little bit higher than its original position.

As you step on the stair tread the squeaking sound you hear is the nail rubbing against the stair tread. There are a few ways to fix a squeaking stair tread. If you have access to under the stairway you can apply some adhesive along with a 10 inch 2 x 4 under the stair tread and attach it to the stair stringer.

First apply adhesive to two sides of the 2 x 4. The adhesive will be used to glue the stair tread to the stair stringer. You can use screws to screw the new 2 x 4 onto the side of the stair stringer.

If you cannot access the underside of the stairs and you have carpeting you can actually locate the stair stringer and drive a 2 inch screw through the carpeting in to the stair stringer. This will pull the stair tread down and will not allow it to rub up against the nail making that awful sound of a squeaking stair case.

If you have a finished wood stair tread you will not be able to screw through it into the stair stringer without damaging the finish on tread itself. It will be easier to access the stair stringer from below somehow and apply the 2 x 4 with the adhesive to stop the stair squeak.

You can apply these methods to as many stair treads that are squeaking without taking apart the entire staircase and rebuilding it.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Why Installing a Stair Nosing on the Edge of Any Kind of Stair Step Edge Is a Must

The durability and the safe use of stairs have always been a concern for architects and constructors.

The stair nosing has been around since the early 20th century.

For instance if you visit the gorgeous Plaza de EspaƱa in the historic city of Sevilla in Spain please pay attention to the step edges of the stairs that direct you to the upper floor from where you get a spectacular view of the palace's square. You will notice superb step edgings that most properly inspired today's stair nosing designers. This superb palace was constructed in the late 1920s.

There is no doubt that you will notice diverse step edgings in several old buildings with stone, ceramic, marble or parquet overlaid stairs.

The stair nosings that are installed on the step edge of ceramic tile, marble or wood covered stairs in contemporary buildings and particularly in public ones such as shopping malls, schools, governmental institutions are subject to heavy pedestrian traffic.

Installed on the edge of the ceramic or similar stair steps the aluminium stair nosing trim is designed to provide protection to the stone, marble or ceramic tile edge on the stairs by preventing chipping and fractures. The use of the stairs is safeguarded as stair steps may become hazardous particularly when wet or worn out.

A great deal of accidents occur going down on stairs when the proper attention is not paid. Many of these accidents may result in serious injuries.

Presently several models of aluminium stair nosings are suggested for the protection and secure use of the concrete, ceramic tile, marble, stone or wood covered stairs:

Stair nosings which are installed directly over the concrete stair step edge.

Tile-in stair nosings with or without replaceable pvc insert, designed to accommodate ceramic tiles in various thicknesses. These stair nosings may only be fitted during the tile, marble or stone installation process; as the bottom of the frontal edge of the nosing should get under the ceramic tile to ensure a firm grip.

The incorporated and durable ribbed PVC strips which come in a variety of colors (i.e. black, grey, brown or cream) achieve perfect compatibility with the ceramic tile colorations and furnish improved slip resistance.

Retro fit step edges, with or without replaceable vinyl insert that are fitted after tile, stone or marble installation.

There are no other major distinctions between the two stair nosings, both serve the same purposes. Worn out stair steps not only portray an unpleasant look, but on top of that the secure use of the stairs is endangered. As a consequence this form of anti skid stair nose is a perfect choice for upgrading and renovating existing stairs in poor condition and in need of repair. The worn out stair edges would be covered up and masked.

The grooves on the upper surface of the stair nosing will add an anti slip feature assuring the safe use the stairs. The utilization of non slip stair nosing is highly recommended to protect tiles on stairs from chipping and to prevent costly and unnecessary ceramic tile installation expenses afterwards.

An aluminum stair nosing fitted at the edge of the wooden stair would prove to be highly beneficial as well. The parquet and laminate flooring stair step edges will be protected from wear and the unsightly appearance of fractured and damaged stair step edges will be avoided. Subsequently damage to stair edges and its disagreeable appearance are averted as well as high-priced renovations.

Diverse stair tread nosing profiles that can withstand extensive influx secure the use of the wood stairs, and their anti-slip ribbed top surface and the grooves create slip resistance and enable the safe use of the stairs.

Slip and fall accident risks are reduced, injuries no longer become a concern and a decorative feature perfectly fitting the stairs is provided.

The retrofit stair tread nosing may be fitted with glue, adhesive tape or rather screwed to the tile, stone, parquet or similar flooring to allow a long lasting tight grip. When supplied predrilled and with countersink holes the installation with screws will turn out to be faster and smoother.

Tag : stair,stair nosing,installing,edge

Monday, 11 April 2011

How to Build Basement Stairs on a Budget

Basement stairs come in all shapes and sizes from the very simple utility/access stairs to the more elaborate decorative stairs in which the basement is expanded to be a major part of the living area. One of the major issues facing the stair builder is the unpredictable overall stair height that often occurs with basement stairs. Whether new or existing construction the basement slab height nearly always seems to vary up or down making pre-built stairs problematic. For this reason basement stairs are usually built to customized heights.

The normal procedure in the industry is to call out a stair specialist to custom build the stair using 2 x12 cut stringers as framing for constructing the stair. This can be a difficult and costly process requiring a high degree of skill. However, there is an easier solution available that will save you time as well as money. The system consists of self-adjusting, stair building brackets, used to form an "engineered stair". Adjustable stair building brackets provide a custom, tailored approach to stair building that is much faster, easier and stronger than conventional construction. They're an easy, low cost and simple solution for any custom basement stair building.

This bracket system can quickly form a basic utility stair or an elaborate, fully finished hardwood stair. The adjustable stair building brackets basically do the work for you, making the stair building process simple and streamlined. The brackets are approved as adjustable joist hangers which automatically adjust to form any rise or run required while at the same time, allowing the risers to be structurally attached between the stringers, carrying the load across the stair like stepping floor joists.

Only two outside stringers are required because they are full depth, without notching (unlike conventional cut stringers) and they're engineered to carry much greater loads than conventional cut stringers. Additionally, only three to four end cuts are required per stringer which eliminate approximately seventy saw cuts when compared to conventional cut stringers for basement stairs.

The adjustable stair building brackets may be used with many different materials including pine, MDF treads, hardwoods etc. The adjustable stair building brackets allow for customized rise and tread configurations which can be adjusted to meet all building codes for both interior and exterior applications.

The first thing you need to do is to determine the material you are going to use, the exact number of steps and the stair width. A fully interactive stair calculator is available online which further simplifies the process.

For materials, you will need (2) 2 x6's per stringer member for both sides. The stringers should be straight without any twist. The 2x6's should be at least 12" longer than the total length of your stair.

Adjustable brackets will allow stairs to be built up to nine feet in width, using only the two outside stringers. Use 2x8's for risers with heights up to 7-1/4" and 2 x10's for risers over 7-1/4". Treads may be 2x12's, 5/4 pine, 5/4 hardwood, sturdy floor ripped to size or MDF etc. Pre-cut risers and treads exactly to length once you figure out how many steps you need and their width- this will save time.

You start by setting the brackets on two 2x6 stringer members using the reusable spacers and pivot screws. Once set, remove spacers and rotate the brackets to adjust stair rise and run. Fix the brackets in position and attach the risers and treads. 3D demos will explain the process clearly- see link below.

Tools and other materials needed will be: Power drill, saw (preferably power saw),# 8 1-1/4" Phillips head, star or square drive screws for the stair building brackets, #8 2-1/2" screws for every 9 " of tread and riser connections and spacers to customize the rise and tread configurations.

ICC-ES approved, this" Engineered Stair Building System" eliminates the need to cut stringers and has been tested to be faster and much stronger than conventionally constructed stairs. Savings of $500 per flight of stairs and more are not uncommon with adjustable stair building brackets. Using this system, both professionals and do-it-yourselfers will build cost efficient basement stairs, without sacrificing quality, accuracy, strength or appearance.

Tag : stair lifts,stair,stair build,budget

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Difference Between Stair Lifts and Vertical Platform Lifts

Going up and down the stairs can be a hard task for many different people that suffer from arthritis, are older, suffer from a muscular disease, or are in a wheelchair. For these individuals it may not be safe or even possible to go up and down the stairs. This can be extremely frustrating because there is a whole section of your house that can not be used. There are several mobility related products on the market today that can help a mobility challenged person conquer the stairs. The most common solution is to install either a vertical platform lift or a stair lift.

A vertical platform lift is similar to a mini-elevator. It installs on the side of the stairs and travels vertically up and down. Vertical platform lifts consist of a platform that varies in size, depending on the model, with a set of handrails or walls attached to the platform. Vertical platform lifts are often referred to as wheelchair lifts. This is because they are made so that a wheelchair, power chair, or mobility scooter can be driven onto the platform. Vertical platform lifts are also used to access areas of different elevations such as a stage or bleachers. A vertical platform lift can only be installed on certain types of stairs. In order to function properly, the vertical platform lift must be able to vertically raise the platform the distance of the steps and access the top landing vertically. This is as opposed to accessing it across horizontal distance of the actual steps. A vertical platform lift is ideal for an outside porch, because most landings on porches have two exposed sides that a vertical platform can use.

A stair lift is also an aid to help people that cannot climb the stairs on their own, but it works differently than a vertical platform lift. Where a vertical platform lifts raises the individual vertically in the air, a stair lift is much more similar to an escalator. A stair lift raises a chair or small platform along a track that is bolted to the steps. Residential stair lifts are generally not designed to carry wheelchairs or other mobility vehicles up the stairs. They do, however, have available baskets to help carry belongings up the stairs and they also have a high weight capacity, similar to vertical platform lifts. Stair lifts can be installed inside or outside and no matter how your stair case is designed, there is probably a stair lift that will be able to attach to it. They also are generally less expensive than vertical platform lifts.

Deciding on whether to get a vertical platform lift or a stair lift will depend on several factors. If you need to be able to transport your wheelchair or other mobility vehicle while you are on it than probably a vertical platform lift will be best for you. If you do not need your mobility vehicle and depending on the type of stairs you have then a stair lift may be the best choice. Regardless it is no longer necessary to feel trapped in your own home simply because you can not use the stairs.

Tag : stair lifts,stair,vertical platform lifts,lifts

Sunday, 13 March 2011

All About Stair Lift Pricing

Stair lift is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of modern technology. These stair-lifts have given back the freedom of movement to people who could not move about freely either due to some injury or old age. These sorts of stairs can be installed in almost any kind of stair cases and provides the facility to move about stairs without making an effort.

These sorts of stairs generally work like monorails and are installed either inside or outside the railing of the stair case depending on the conditions. Pricing of these sorts of stairs mainly depends on their construction, type, and conditions in which they have to be installed. There is a wide variety of stair lifts available in the market, and each provides some advantages over the others.

The main reason for so many types of stair lifts in the market is that different houses have different types of stair cases with different construction design and space allowed in which the lift has to be installed. Similarly, different consumers need different types of aids to move about the stairs, and thus different stair lifts had to be designed to satisfy the needs of wide variety of customers.

Some of the common types of stair lifts include straight rail stair lift, curved rail stair lift, wheelchair platform stair lift, outdoor stair lift, and standing platform stair lift. Thus, the price of these types of stairs also differs due to various features. For example, some outdoor stair lifts are very expensive because they are made up of a non-corrosive material and are also properly shielded to defend against changing weather conditions.

Similarly, some indoor stair lifts don't include much gadgetry and need not have powerful electric motors to support a huge weight, and are thus less expensive compared to other types of stairs which need a powerful motor to support a huge weight. Thus, the price generally depends on the type of stair lift.

Some people are only temporarily disabled, and thus don't need permanent types of stairs in their house. For such people, there are different rental types of stairs also available in the markets. These types of stairs can be rented and installed for a temporary period, and after the required period is over the stair lift is returned to the company. This is a feasible solution for people who do not need the stair lift for a long period of time.

Another option available to customers is to buy used stair lifts. With the right amount of effort you can easily find the right stair lift in a very reasonable price in the used products market. However, one downside to purchasing used types of stairs is that there is no customer support along with it, and the buyer is totally independent in deciding which stair lift to buy.

This can become problematic as the buyer might not be able to fully understand which type of stair lift would fit in his situation, and thus might end up buying something useless. However, some engineers can also be hired or the company can also be requested to make suggestions as to which stair lift should be installed, and then a similar used stair lift can be purchased.

Tag : stair lifts,stair lift pricing,stair,pricing

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Stair Lifts - Benefits and Features

This article offers a brief overview of the benefits that stair lifts can confer on their users. Stair lifts, in various forms have been around for many years; King Henry the Eighth was thought to be a user and there is some evidence for human and animal powered hoists being employed in a similar capacity from the 3rd century BC.

Independence & Choice

The obvious benefit of stair lifts is to get a passenger up and down stairs. Beyond this purely physical benefit is their ability to offer their users freedom and choice, the freedom to move around their existing home and make a move away unnecessary, and the choice to stay in their home or one of their choosing.

People who develop mobility issues have often had to move away from their existing home as the stairs have become too difficult to climb or had their choice of new home severely limited to one stories buildings. A well tailored stair lift solution can give this choice back. You are no longer faced with a move away from familiarity, friends and family or a reduced list of housing options.

Stair lifts also offer a benefit to the relatives of the user - peace of mind. They are great health and safety devices, safely transporting a passenger up and down the stair without incident.

Many users of lifts can move around their home with relative ease but, worryingly for relatives, find the stairs just that bit more difficult. In older houses stairs can be narrower and steeper offing additional challenges to people with mobility problems and again, additional worries for concerned relatives. A well installed, well maintained lift can offer the assurance that a relative can take the stairs safely, every time.


But how do stair lifts work and what features can you expect to find on one? Features obviously vary between models and manufacturers, but here is a basic run-down of some of the most useful ones you can be looking for.

Firstly, a stair or chair lifts are very versatile and can be fitted onto any staircase, whether it's straight, curved, spiral or even outdoors. A stairlift, in the most basic terms, is simply a chair that runs on a track, precisely following the line of the stairs.

Stairlifts are powered by electricity. Many models these days come fitted with a battery back-up that is on continuous charge. This means that the stair lift can be used even in a power cut. Although power-cuts are not common occurrences, for stair lift users the ability to get up the stairs is not something you can do without. Bathrooms and bedrooms are often located upstairs and any interruption in the power can lead to an uncomfortable wait for the user.

A hand control, integral joystick or buttons are used to move the lift up and down the stairs. If for some reason you are not on the same level as the lift - it can be called using controls at either the top or bottom of the staircase - a great feature to ensure you can never be stranded.

A further safety feature available on some stair lift models is the swivel chair. While the stair lift is moving up and down the stairs, it faces directly away from the wall. When the user is getting on or off the chair, it turns 90 degrees and locks, so that the person can safely dismount, facing away from the stairs.

Seat belts are also included, which are vital for safety, and often a sensor that detects objects in the path of the stair lift. Many lifts have up to six sensors to pick up objects that block the way and prevent damage to the carriage. Sensors are also available that limit the speed of the stairlift and ensure a smooth ride. The ride will differ from model to model, so try a few out to find which suits you best.

Another important feature to look for is a lockout switch that stops it being operated by anyone who is not supposed to. A stair lift can be a tantalizing prospect for a young child and this mechanism ensures they cannot operate it and potentially hurt themselves.

Look also for lifts working on 24 volts DC, meaning that there's no worry over electric shocks.

Which Stairlift?

Now you know a little about the features available you can begin looking at different models. The internet is a great place to start. You will find comprehensive information on model features on most manufacturer websites.

So, which model of stair lift should you choose? To provide a quick overview - stair lift models generally fall into two broad categories, straight and curved. Straight models are made for stairs with no bends or half-landings. They are usually much easier to install and cost less than curved variants.

If your staircase has bends, corners or half-landings, you'll need a curved stairlift. Your stairlift rails will need to be custom-built to ensure a good fit to your stairs. This level of customization means that curved models are more expensive to purchase.

Reconditioned models can be a cheaper alternative to new stair lifts but might not contain all the features of the new versions. Re-conditioned models are fully refurbished used lifts and as a result may not be as feature-packed as totally new models. Just ask the manufacturer for a full feature list.

Tag : stair lifts,stairbenefits

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Get to Know the Basic Stair Parts

Before you plan on reconstructing or renovating a stair, you have to know the basic stair parts. You have to have a rudimentary knowledge at least so that the process of renovation or reconstruction will be easier. Also, if you hire a contractor or a professional, you won't be lost in the conversation. You will be able to contribute to the conversation by incorporating your ideas and such.

So what are the basic stair parts? Those are the parts you see and you use frequently in stairs.

These are the following stair parts:

Stair treads

The stair treads are the part of the stairs that you actually step on. It is perhaps the most abused part of the stairs. You'll find that the stair treads are often decorated with carpets and finished with varnishes. The carpets and varnish are decorations as much as they are protection. Since the stair treads are exposed to frequent physical and mechanical abuse they need all the protection they can get.

Hand Railings

This is another member of basic stair parts that you really have to get to know. They function normally to protect us from falling or slipping in stairs. This is the structure made of series of rods along the side of stairs. The hand rails are made for gripping. They support you as you go down or up in the stairs. Hand railings also have a dual purpose

You'd want to get to know hand railings because they serve to protect us but it also contributes to the whole look of the stores. There's so much you can do with hand rails in terms of design.

Additional tip: A lot of stair builders are loving how stainless cable railings look on their staircases. They are cheap, easy to work with and easy to maintain. They can easily swing from classic to vintage to contemporary, too. You can try using them if you are baffled about which material to use for your railings.

This is another stair part that ensures our protection. It is among the stair parts that have a dual purpose as well - protection and design. This is the part of the stair that holds the hand rails. It gives supports to the hand rails by 'carrying' the hand rails.

These three are the basic and most important parts of a stair. Having known its function, you will be able to fully appreciate its importance in your staircase. Also, you will be able to manipulate the said stair parts to your advantage - most especially in terms of design.

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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Stair Lift Or Stair Glide? What is in a Name?

you can see, the history of the innovation determines the naming of products we use today. Perhaps if you live in the UK, Canada, or Australia, a stair lift makes more sense. Perhaps stair glide makes more sense in the USA. I don't know.

What I do know though is that, today's stairlifts are really easy to use, functional, quiet and a pleasure to look at. They can easily become a centerpiece and a point of interest for any visitor to your house.

And, when you think about it, going up the stairs, you may as well call your device a stair lift, as it lifts you to the place where you would normally have a hard time going on your own.

Going downstairs, you will get a feeling of gliding though. Just visualize an eagle taking of from a rock by the mountain top, and gliding downwards, toward the valley below: Quiet, elegant, and a real pleasure to look at. So maybe riding downstairs, your stair lift really turns into a stair glide.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

New Stair Construction Building Codes and Tougher 2009 Code Enforcement Laws - What You Need to Know

The construction industry is entering a time of rapid change. New and existing codes relating to stair construction safety are now being enforced. Since safety will no longer be compromised, deck builders will have to confront the age old problem of making a deck safe when it comes to attaching posts to deck platforms, let alone attaching posts to deck stairs. Important issues such as, Child Safety, the American Disability Act (ADA) requirements and many new building materials are major elements driving new stringent code enforcement. This is why it is so important to protect yourself and your livelihood by making sure you are aware of the latest laws and compliance issues related to stairs. If a safety problem arises due to stair construction or compliance, it's not enough to say "I wasn't aware of the new laws." It's your responsibility to be aware and know of issues that could involve the safety of your family, friends, employees -- and potentially millions of dollars.

The number of deck injuries and fatalities have been increasing at a dramatic rate. Between 2000 - 2008, 30 deaths were reported as a direct result of collapse. This number does not include injuries. Statistics show that when a deck collapses that there is a 75% chance of severe injury and possible fatality. You can be proactive and check your deck for wobbly railings, rotted boards, cracks, missing and loose connections.

Stair Injuries: The most serious stair injuries being documented are the direct result of stair rail collapses. This shouldn't come as a surprise, because until just recently, no product or system has complied with the minimum code requirements for 'rail post support' on wood stairs.

Lack of Code Enforcement: There are many reasons one could assume why this important code violation has slipped through the enforcement cracks. Commonly, when stairs are built and ready for inspection, code officials will use the quick 'tug' & 'pull' test, if minimal amount of deflection is evident, then the stairs, will more than likely, pass. To officially comply with the existing stair rail post support code, all stair rail posts must withstand a 200 lbs. lateral load. It's a serious challenge to accurately 'on-site' determine structural integrity in relation to stair rail post support. However "Tort" protection for the building departments, still places the "liability issues" squarely on the shoulders of business & property owners.

The problem: Traditional stair construction using cut out stringers or commonly used stair angles, do not have the rigidity to hold 200 lbs. lateral load (applied to the post) as required by code. Until recently, there has never been an easy or satisfactory solution for building rail post supports that are strong, and meet building code requirements as well.

The Simple Solution: Rail posts can be used with adjustable stair brackets that have been engineered to achieve the required lateral load. This combination has been tested and proven to withstand 200 lbs. lateral load and 500 lbs. ultimate load as required by code- a first in the industry.

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Friday, 21 January 2011

Things to Consider When Deciding on a Stair Lift

Stair lifts serve many useful functions apart from the ability to travel up and down stairs. Stair lifts are symbolic of independence and mobility for all those persons who cannot move about freely over stairways. In almost every household, stair lifts have become a staple feature especially for the senior citizens or disable persons in the home.

There are many aspects to consider before a person decides to buy the stair lift for a family member.

Kind Of Incapacities
Most stair lifts have an intrinsic design to help the person to climb stairs but are devoid of other aspects like the ability of the person to get off or sit on the lift alone. It is best to consider a stair lift, which provides the ability for the persons to get up or off the lift on their own.

Stair Examination
The width of the staircase should be calculated to ascertain if it has the capacity to accommodate the bulky nature of stair lifts. If you happen to be in doubt as to the particular model apt for your kind of stairs, you can ask the stair lift manufacturer to perform the quotation. Thus, you can ask the company representative to examine your staircase to ascertain the best model fit.

Comfort Aspects
You also need to evaluate the comfort levels of the person who will be using the stair lift. Certain stair lifts are manufactured with a straight design while other stair lifts can be customized for a more curvilinear fit.

Height And Weight
The height as well as weight of the person should be calculated to ensure that the stair lift fits in the best possible manner. The dimensions as well as measurements of stair lifts must be in accordance with the person who will use them.

Options For Installation
If certain stair lifts need tedious methods of installation, it is best you do not opt for them as they complicate matters more for you. Certain stair lifts go easy on the installation but are not of the foldable variety and then there are others, which might be tough to install but are easily folded to facilitate optimal storage.

Consult Occupational Therapist
If you are still in doubt as to, which model of stair lift will suit the person using it, consult with an occupational therapist. You can browse through the brochures to arrive at the best model to fit the needs.

Experienced Company
Incase you decide not to purchase the stair lift from a manufacturer, you need to look for companies, which have a good reputation for the products sold. Ultimately, it is not only about the brand but also customer assistance as well as support when you start using the product.

You must always take the time to consider the best possible stair lift option. Do not get carried away by attractive deals or promotions and instead follow the above tips to select the stair lift with the best comfort, fit and durable parts.

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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

About Stair Lifts

Handicap stair lift is another form of stairlift but they are not exactly the same. A stairlift can serve as a multipurpose equipment that can carry wheelchairs and transportation carts. On the other hand handicap stair lift are used solely for users with disability and unable to ascend a flight of stairs. Handicap stair lifts are manufactured in different models to suit the different stairs it will be installed in. There are the straight handicap stair lifts and curved handicap stair lifts that are for curved staircases. Whatever the kinds of rails used, the stair lifts can be used to transport heavy stuff between floors. Standard stair lifts measure about 25 inches and the rails weigh 30kg. Stair lift can be folded compactly against the wall when it is not required. The platforms are pulled by cable or chain along the rail track. The seats on the handicap stair lifts are comfortable with footrests and armrests. The seat heights are adjustable too.

Handicap stairlifts are simple to operate and can function at the touch of an on and off button. Curved stair lifts are more expensive as they require the manufacturers to send engineers to the house to measure the curved stairs and build according to the dimensions. Handicap wheelchair stair lift are well fitted with safety features to ensure the well being of the users on top. However, one should still be caution when buying used stair lifts. For a start, when checking the used lift, always ensure it has a safety belt. Some lifts have been operating for years and the safety belt may have worn off. This is highly dangerous for handicap stairlift users as they may fall off the stair lift during movements.

When purchasing stairlift, you should consider the models and the profile of the users before shelling out a substantial amount to buy.While choosing the handicap lift, one should keep the user's disability in mind. The user of the stair lift should get themselves in and out of the lift seat comfortably with little or no assistance. They should also be able to stand on their own two feet for a short amount of time. Handicap lift still require a fair amount of user effort to fulfill its potential. If the user is unable to transfer out of the wheelchair comfortably and has problems standing, chances are the handicap stairlift does not meet the need. If the user is able to stand on his own, we can use a perched stair lift.

They should also have the strength to manually push the buttons on the stair lift. I can understand some users may experience problems exerting strengths with their fingers. Users with these problems should choose handicap stair lifts which are operated by sensors or maybe voice commands. These special lifts will cost more due to the additional technology built in. Users must be able to keep their upper body upright on their own without a back support. Because if they do not maintain their posture on the handicap stairlift, they face the danger of slipping off the lift seat and further injuring themselves. Last but not least, the safety belt should be in working condition and secure the user firmly in place.

Handicap stair lift that intends to carry wheelchairs up and down the staircase have to be assessed separately as the different wheelchairs have to be taken into consideration. The size and weight of the wheelchair should be taken into consideration. The stair lift chair will also be considered as users of all age range might be using the lifts. User issues such as stiff knee can be addressed by have a handicap lift that leans forward and wider stair chairs. Fear of heights can be reduced by installing handrails for users to hold on while on the handicap stair lift. Guardrails have the ability to provide additional assurance and safety to the users, hence, lessening their fear and anxiety.

As handicap lift users may have different disabilities, there are a variety of controls that suit different users comfortably. For example, users with bad eyesight can respond the the audio signals given out by the stair lift when it is moving or terminating. There are handicap stair lifts which have sensors built in across its platform. These stair lift sensors pick out obstacles in the path of the handicap stair lift and stop moving upon detecting danger. These sensors should be found in old stairlifts too. Sensors can also double as speed delimiters to check the speed of the moving handicap stair lift. A safe travel speed is around 0.15 meters per second for straight rails handicap stairlifts and much slower for curved rails stairlifts.

Tag : stair lifts,handicap stair lifts,acorn stair lift,stair design

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Sunday, 2 January 2011

What to Look For When Buying a Stair Lift

Stair lifts are an imperative invention which has made the mobility of the old and the disabled possible. People who have some issues with their legs or who are completely handicapped can make use of the stair lifts. It can help them go up and down the stairs on their own and they no more have to wait for someone to lift them or support them to climb the stairs.

A stair lift is easy to install, and can be fixed at almost all stairways. However, if you wish to purchase a stair lift for yourself or a dear one, you need consider a few things.

When you plan to buy a stair lift, an agent from the stair lift company will have to visit your place. This is essential as to know the precise measurements of your staircase and evaluate your particular requirement. Once they have taken the measurements and noted your need, they can present you with a number of options of lifts for stair.

You should request for a written quotation before making any decision. This is important as stair lifts are not very cheap. You can also contact a number of stair lift suppliers so that you can have various options. Having a number of options will help you make the best deal in terms of cost as well as function. You can compare their prices and warrant etc.

If you think you cannot afford to buy a new stair lift, you can also find the option of used ones. However, you should remember that the used lifts for stair might not have any warranty. Instead of purchasing a second hand stair lift from a private supplier, it is preferable to purchase a reconditioned lifts for stair from a supplier who is well established. But in this case as well you must see the warranty.

One of the best things about lifts for stair is that they can be installed at any staircase regardless of the style, size, or shape. Most stair lifts are meant for indoor usage; however, you can also find some which can be used outdoor as well. You can find many different sorts of stair lifts which are meant for different purposes, and cater for the needs of people with diverse problems.

A common type of lift for stair is a standing stair lifts. These stair lifts are meant for those who can stand but cannot bend their joints to climb the stair. They can stand on these lifts for stair, and thus move up or down the stairs independently. The standing lifts for stair can also be installed in a limited space without any problem.

Another type of lifts for stair includes the seated stair lifts. Those who are completely handicapped and cannot move up or down the stairs at all normally use these. They have seats which run along the stairs. All you have to do it to sit on them, and you can move about. Some lifts for stair also come with the additional feature of fold able arms.

Tag : stair lifts,stair design,wood stair,stair gate

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