Your stairlift options for a spiral staircase

By Chris Clayton

The most difficult type of staircase to fit a stairlift to is one which literally or almost spirals. But even so, if your stairs are like this, you still have a good chance that you can have a stairlift (also called a chair lift) installed on it.

But you have to be aware with this type of staircase, you will only have the option of fitting one type of stairlift and unfortunately this is the most expensive type of stairlift on the market.

a spiral staircase

A curved stairlift

There are two main types of stairlifts: one that runs on a straight rail/track and one that runs on a rail/track that can curve. This latter type is called a 'curved stairlift' and for any set of stairs which spiral in some way, this is the only choice you have.

The main problem with this type of stairlift is that they are a lot more expensive than buying a stairlift that runs on a straight rail/track (normally between 2 to 3 times as expensive).

Also, although this isn't a problem for most people, the majority of curved stairlifts from most companies only have seated models. So if you are thinking of buying a stairlift where you move in an almost standing position (called a perch stairlift), you options will be limited.

To learn more about curved stairlifts, read my article on 'What a curved stairlift is'.

Your options are unfortunately limited

Many staircases which spiral in some way are normally quite narrow (below 29 inches / 73 cm wide). But fortunately, some manufacturers make slim curved stairlifts models which can be fitted to narrow staircases (for example, the Thyssen Flow Curved stairlift can be fitted to stairs as narrow as 24 inches (61 cm)).

Unfortunately, as a rule of thumb, the slimer a stairlift is, the more expensive it will cost.

If you have a staircase which isn't narrow (more than 29 inches / 73 cm wide), you have more options on the models you can fit on your stairs. As a result, you can choose a model which is less slim, but cheaper.

If this is the situation with you, you can save money by going for the less slim model (and make sure you ask for this, because stairlift companies have a habit of trying to push the slimmer and more expensive option on you).

Contact stairlift companies

So now you know what options (or lack of options) are. You won't know for certain if you can a stairlift fitted until you get some stairlift companies to come out to your house and perform an assessment.

All these are free, but they will try their hardest to get you to buy from them when they are visiting your house. But don't, you can substantially reduce what you end up paying by waiting.

To learn how to reduce the price you pay for a stairlift, read my article on 'Lowering the price you pay for a stairlift'.

If a stairlift can't be fitted safely

Unfortunately, on some spiral staircases a stairlift can't be fitted safely. If a number of reputable companies come out and assess your stairs and tell you they can't fit one, then I'm afraid you can't have one fitted (trust me in telling you they would fit one if they could do safely).

If this happens, you may have an alternative to either living downstairs or continuing struggle getting up and down the stairs, but it's neither an ideal or cheap alternative. You could install a vertical platform lift. This is like a conventional lift which passes through the ceiling of a room on its way up.

Although these are normally made for wheelchairs, they can also be fitted with a seat for people who don't need a wheelchair.

Getting one of this installed is both far more expensive than fitting a stairlift, takes longer to install and requires some major changes being made to your home (i.e. removing part of a floor). Although it is far than ideal, it is an option if you can't get a stairlift fitted.

To both see what a vertical platform lift is and find out more details about them, visit this web page.