How To

How to Make the Outdoor Area Barrier-Free with an Outdoor Lift?

Accessibility should not end at the door to your garden. For older people with reduced mobility or wheelchair users, it can be a problem if the outside area of ​​the property is only accessible via steps. That is why there are individual outdoor lift models that allow barrier-free access to the garden or house entrance. An outdoor stairlift is weatherproof and available in different versions. 

When does an outdoor lift make sense?

An outdoor lift is useful if seniors or people with disabilities are no longer able to access stairs to the garden or in front of the house due to physical limitations. Also, steps in damp and wet quickly become slippery, smooth in winter, which is an additional risk factor. Older people, in particular, play it safe with an outdoor lift when snow and ice cover the stairs outside.

Find the right stairlift for outdoors

Outdoor stairlifts are available in different types and models. Which of these models is best suited depends primarily on the individual situation of the user and the type of use. Lift and platform lifts are the best choices for people who need a wheelchair or walking aids. While the lift is more like an elevator and transports people vertically upwards, the platform lift is a stairlift that moves along the stairs.

Features of an outside lift

  • a narrow aluminum rail with a protected rack
  • moisture-resistant and UV-resistant surface material
  • galvanized, powder-coated feet
  • galvanized motor chassis
  • waterproof switch

Both types have a surface that can be easily accessed with a wheelchair or a walking aid such as a walker. A seat lift or a classic stairlift for outdoors is suitable for people without a wheelchair. It runs along the railing or the steps and has a seat instead of a platform.

Regardless of which model the decision is made in the end: With an outdoor lift, safety and weather resistance must be the main focus.

It is used outdoors in every season and is often particularly important when stairs are covered by snow and ice.

To be prepared for all weather conditions, robust processing and equipment with sturdy, corrosion-resistant materials are necessary.

Seat lifts for outdoors

An outdoor stairlift works just like an indoor seat lift but is made so robust that it can withstand any weather. This is not just about moisture-resistant equipment. Extreme weather conditions such as intense heat or cold require a surface material that defies any climate.

For external lifts, this means, for example, that the drive is sealed and control elements are encapsulated so that rain, snow, sun, or wind cannot damage the electronics.

Also, the rotating seats of external lifts are mostly water-repellent and easy to clean. The technology is also operated on the models for outdoors as well as on stairlifts for indoors.

The installation of outside stairlifts is relatively simple. External stairs are often built straight, so the rail is easy to assemble. It is attached to the concrete floor at the top and bottom and also fixed on the steps.

For this purpose, small holes are drilled in the steps and the rail is screwed tight. As with indoor lifts, the rail can be attached to both sides of the stairs.

In terms of safety and comfort, outdoor lifts also have the same functions as indoor stairlifts. Most outdoor stairlifts are also equipped with a lock. So you have control over the use of the elevator at all times and prevent misuse. The outer lift can be covered with a protective cover for additional protection against the weather.

Outdoor lifts for wheelchair users: lift and platform lifts

In addition to a conventional outdoor seat lift, as already mentioned, other alternatives are also suitable for outdoor use. A platform lift is similar to a seat lift, anchored by a rail system on existing stair railing or the steps. The main difference between this model and the seat lift is that it does not require a strenuous transfer from a wheelchair to the elevator. People in a wheelchair or with a walker can simply go onto the platform.

Also, elevators are easy to use by wheelchair users and people with walking aids. However, they are not real stairlifts, which means that they do not follow the stairs. Instead, they only move vertically, like a small elevator.

Both types of lifts, both the lift and platform lift, enable wheelchair users to use the outdoor area without barriers, thereby ensuring a fair amount of additional mobility.

The alternative to the building: the outside elevator

If a classic lift is required, but there is not enough space inside a building, an external elevator can be the solution. It is comparatively easy to install on the house facade afterward since no elaborate openings have to be made inside the house. The elevator shaft is built directly on the facade of the building and its design can be adapted to the architecture of the house. The shaft walls often consist of large glass surfaces, which means that the elevator is visible inside the shaft and, in addition to its function, it also offers a beautiful eye-catcher.

What does an outdoor lift cost?

The price for external lifts depends on the type of lift, the length of the rails and the shape of the stairs. Even if there are basically outside lifts for curving stairways with curves, the majority of the outside stairlifts are made for straight stairs. Since there are different costs for each type of outdoor lift, the following table should help you to get an overview.

Lift typeStair shapePrices / costs *
Seat lift outsidestraight$4,500 to $7,500
Platform lift outsidestraight$9,000 to $15,000
Platform lift outsidecurvy$12,000 to $25,000
Lift lift inside and outsideHeight up to 1.79 meters$5,700 to $15,000
Lift lift inside and outsideHeight up to 3.00 metersfrom $17,500
Outside elevator$30,000 to $50,000

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