Vertical Lift or Outdoor Stair Lift: Which is Right for You?
A vertical lift or an outdoor stair lift are options for entering and exiting your house if you have mobility problems. Although a ramp is less high-tech and cheaper to install, you need a considerable amount of land to properly install one that has the right slope. Installing either a vertical lift or an outdoor stair lift is a much more compact option that is also less obtrusive.
Features of an Outdoor Stair Lift
An outdoor stair lift is similar to the type of device that you might install inside your home to move you up the stairs as you sit in a seat. Models made for outdoor use have marine grade vinyl seating to withstand the elements, a durable extruded aluminum track, an internal chassis and large weatherproof covers to protect the units when not in use. The unit attaches to the wall or side railings of the outdoor steps and can be flipped up were not in use to allow access to the stairs for other people, but it does impact the appearance of the stairs.
As with any stair lift, the outdoor model is built for one person. It is ideal for someone who can walk but has difficulty with steps, as someone coming out of the house usually has to step down to reach the porch or deck and then move along a flat surface until reaching the stairs. Someone confined to a wheelchair would need enough dexterity to move from the wheelchair to the seat, and would need to have someone bring the wheelchair down if it was necessary for mobility on level ground.
Benefits of a Vertical Lift
A vertical lift, on the other hand, is more similar to an elevator without the top, although many outdoor models do have some type of roof. A person riding in a wheelchair or a scooter can drive onto the platform and move up and down without having to transfer from one device to the other. The lift platform is large enough to accommodate another person, which makes the device very convenient. It can also be a handy way to get groceries or other packages into the house with minimal trips.
One of the major advantages of having a vertical lift is that it has a small footprint, while being able to scale six feet or more. A comparable ramp would have to be 72 feet long, based on the 1:12 ratio required by the ADA for ramp slope. The device needs four foot by six foot of space for a three foot by four foot platform. Adding a vertical lift can cost $4,000 or $5,000, but it is much less obtrusive in appearance than a ramp or stair lift, while being more functional than a stair lift. Upon moving, you can either have the device installed at your new location or sell it if you no longer need it. Unlike with the ramp, you do not have a large area of yard to refurbish when a vertical lift is removed.
If you have mobility issues and are interested in an outdoor stair lift or vertical lift for your home in Utah, contact Western Stairlift for a free in-home consultation. As an ADA certified contractor, we sell, install and maintain major brands of indoor and outdoor stair and vertical lifts.