Is a through-floor lift practical in my home?

Is a through-floor lift practical in my home?

Three main questions may need to be asked to determine whether a through-floor lift will be practicle in your home:

1) If you were to use a wheelchair on your first-floor are the rooms, doorways and facilities suitable for a wheelchair?

There will be no point installing a lift if either your bathroom or bedroom is too small for a wheelchair to be used. In the bathroom you may need space for:

- a turning circle or the space to carry out a 3-point turn,
- sufficient space in front of the basin for a wheelchair to approach squarely,
- space to the front and / or side of the toilet to allow transfers,
- space to enable transfers to a bath or level access shower

In the bedroom you may need space for:

- the lift (unless the lift is to be fitted in the hall way),
- a turning circle or the space to carry out a 3-point turn,
- an electric bed,
- room to the side of the bed to enable transfers,
- room either side of the bed if this will be required by carers,

2) Is your house large enough for the loss of space which will be taken up by a lift and is there room for the necessary access to the lift?

A recommended size is approximately 1000mm in width and 1500mm in length for the lift plus an area of the same size to allow room to approach the lift in a wheelchair and open the lift door.

3) Are there suitable positions for the lift on the ground floor and directly above on the first floor?

Transfers between the bedroom and bathroom may be completed using a mobile bath or shower chair, or via a ceiling tracked hoist. Having an adjoining bedroom and bathroom will enable these transfers to be carried out with greater warmth and privacy.

Additional considerations

The cost of maintaining the lift should be considered. The original warranty or service agreement may cover servicing costs for a period of time. Beyond this period the maintenance of equipment, such as lifts, provided via a disabled facility grant is usually the responsibility of the applicant and this may be expensive. In some areas Social Services may assist with costs but this should be checked prior to any decision on installation.

An extension as an alternative to a lift

In some circumstances an extension may be more appropriate than a lift. Ideally the proposed extension should be accessed from a hall or family area and not require access through the kitchen? Advantages of an extension may include:

- It will be quicker to access facilities, such as a toilet, in an extension compared with having to use a lift to access them upstairs
- An extension allows users to move relatively quickly between areas, compared with using a lift, and is therefore less likely to isolate the user
- An extension will add to the value of the house.

However there are also disadvantages to an extension including:

- An extension is likely to reduce the size of your garden
- An extension may result in the user sleeping on the ground floor of a property away from the rest of their household (if they sleep on the first floor)

As with many decisions regarding through-floor lift features we recommend you consult an occupational therapist regarding the lift features which best meet your needs.

Read our advice on through-floor lift features or click on the picture below to view through-floor lifts.

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement