Installing a stairlift near a door presents the user with a few safety hazards. For example, a stairlift could obstruct a door’s range of motion. That being said, it is possible to have a stairlift end by a door, but you will need to make some adjustments to make everything work smoothly.
Before discussing these adjustments, it’s necessary to understand the mechanisms involved within a stairlift at a basic level.
How Stairlifts Work
A stairlift is a device with two simple parts; the chair and the track, both of which may be either curved or straight. The chair has a motorized gear at its base and elsewhere to enhance safety and mobility. Once powered, the chair moves along the track of the stairlift, allowing the user to move up or down the staircase.
Call and send switches allow different people in the house to use the same stairlift. In other words, one person on one end of the stairlift may use the switch to “call” the lift to where they are. You can also use the switch to send the seat back to a different floor.
Why Installing a Stairlift Near a Door Isn’t Ideal
Architects who design houses rarely factor in the potential need for a stairlift. Consequently, you will find that many houses have staircases that start or end near a door.
Stairlifts use two rails to guide the chair about a staircase, and these rails can protrude outward by approximately 14 inches. This creates a tripping hazard and may obstruct a door’s range of motion.
To get around this issue, the idea is to get the stairlift out of the way when it is not in use. This can be achieved by modifying the track or the seat in any of the various ways that are outlined below.
Using Folding Tracks
Folding tracks are the easiest way to go about installing a stairlift that starts or ends near a door. They allow the user to move the track away from the door when the stairlift is not in use.
Folding tracks are also referred to as folding rails, and they can be folded either manually or with a remote. The latter is ideal for the elderly who may not be able to manually fold the rails. Note that most stairlift companies will charge extra for folding rails.
Sliding tracks allow a track to slide away from a door when the stairlift is not in use. They are installed with a mechanism that allows part of the track to slide out of the way once the stairlift has reached its destination.
Most stairlifts will come with a foldable seat that helps move the stairlift out of the way. Foldable seats don’t hog up space at the doorway, and they also protect the seat from being damaged from constant bumping from a door.