Can Stairlifts Be Reversed?

Stairlifts help people dealing with the limited mobility that may come along with disease and/or aging. They allow the user to move between the different floors of their home, when they would otherwise be unable to do so. This is why stairlifts are an essential part of the “aging survival kit.” 

Stairlifts move up and down staircases, but can they be reversed? What does it mean to reverse a stairlift? This article discusses the process of reversing a stairlift, as well as the pros of owning a stairlift in the first place.

Types of Stairlifts

There are three different types of stairlifts; straight, curved and outdoor. An outdoor stairlift may be straight or curved. 

The kind of stairlift that’s best for you depends on the configuration and location of your staircase. A straight staircase will require a straight stairlift, while a curved staircase will require a curved one. The latter is harder to install and will cost more than a straight stairlift.

Pros of Owning a Stairlift

There are a few reasons that stairlifts are useful, and they are as follows:

  • They help people with mobility challenges go about their daily life with ease
  • They don’t require any major architectural modifications to the house
  • They can be easily installed and removed
  • They can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • They have enhanced safety features
  • They’re easy to operate once installed

What Does it Mean to Reverse A Stairlift?

Reversing a stairlift could be as simple as changing its direction either around a bend or on a straight line, or as complicated as uninstalling and reinstalling it. That being said, most stairlifts are designed to be able to switch directions with ease. 

Reversing a Stairlift Around Corners

Curved stairlifts can be reversed around corners. For this to happen, the tracks must be designed to follow the exact configuration of the staircase and any landings. Once installed, the seat will move in different directions along the curved track. Straight stairlifts, on the other hand, cannot go around corners. 

Reversing A Stairlift Up and Down

On your way up or down a flight of stairs, it’s possible to put your stairlift in reverse to head in the opposite direction. Since most stairlifts are remote- controlled, you’ll only need to press a switch to indicate the direction in which you want to travel. This decision can be made both before and while moving down the stairs, which is beneficial because it could keep the user from hitting an obstacle on the way up or down. 

Reversing A Stairlift Left to Right

If your stairlift was installed on the left side of the staircase, but later you decide that you’d rather have it on the right side, it is possible to make that switch. A stairlift can be installed on either side of a staircase, but this should be done by a professional. Note that, in some cases, it’s necessary to purchase a brand new track that is configured to the shape of the opposite side of the staircase. 

Reversing a Stairlift by Removing It

Most modern stairlifts are designed in a way that allows them to be removed without damaging the wall or the stairlift itself. Check your stairlift’s manual to learn about the steps involved in doing so.

If a stairlift must be uninstalled in order for it to be reversed, a professional should handle the process. Some companies will offer to do this as an after-service or at a minimal cost. They may also give you advice on how to go through the process yourself without damaging your stairlift.

Should You Reverse Your Stairlift?

Before reversing a stairlift, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would it be safe for the user?
  • How difficult would it be to do so?
  • Would it make the stairlift easier to use?
  • Does the staircase’s design allow for a reversal?
  • What is the budget for the project?