Many households have decks or patio areas that are accessible by a stair case located outdoors. For those with conditions that affect their mobility, an outdoor stair case can present a daunting challenge. Luckily, there are many options available for those that need an outdoor stair lift.
All stair lifts are composed of four basic components; the track, the drive train, the chassis, and the seat. The drive train is located inside of the chassis and consists of the gears or pulleys that propel the chassis and seat up and down the track. The drive train can be either rack and pinion or cable driven. Rack and pinion systems utilize gears and a toothed rail along the track. Cable driven systems use a high strength aluminum cable that is wound around a pulley inside of the chassis.
The stair lift track is the portion that is actually mounted to the stairs and supports the weight of the chassis, seat, and rider. Depending on the type of stair lift, the track also houses the toothed gears for rack and pinion lifts and the high strength cable for the cable driven lifts.
The chassis contains the electric motor that moves the lift up the rail. The seat is mounted on top of the chassis enclosure and usually folds up while not in use.
There are a few factors to consider when installing a stair lift on an existing stair case. Special attention must be paid to the material that the steps are constructed from. Concrete steps will require different types of fasteners than wooden steps. Also, the length of the stair case must be measured in order to obtain an accurate price quote from a distributor. Each stair lift track is custom cut to the home owner’s specifications and the length will affect the final price of the stair lift.
For a straight stair case, a stair lift is a safe and economical solution but for outdoor use the chassis and track of the stair lift must be sealed to protect against the elements. Also, the seat must be of a marine grade vinyl or similar material to withstand sunlight and moisture. Most outdoor models also include a cover for the seat so that it is protected when not in use.