Residential Stair Lifts: Products, Installation, and Maintenance

Stairs that were no problem for so long can become a barrier to enjoying our homes as we age or face a change in mobility due to medical conditions.

The installation of a stair-lift (also called a chair lift, stair chair, or electric stair lift) can give you back the use of your whole home again, and is much more cost effective than moving, remodeling, or limiting yourself to one level.

Straight stairs, curved stairway, 90 or 180 degree turn?

We have a complete selection of residential stair lifts to meet each of these requirements.


Many homes have all of the bedrooms on an upper floor, (and often the primary bathroom facilities as well!). Laundry still in the basement? A residential stair lift can give you the convenience of a single level home without the costly moves.

On-Site Evaluations

People come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and also have different degrees of ability to operate a stair lift. Flooring materials (do you have carpet, hardwood, tile, etc.) also affect your safety getting onto and off a stair lift, especially for someone with strength or balance impairments. We highly recommend on-site evaluations by our trained staff to properly assess your individual needs. We’ll make sure you get the right solution to your stair lift needs.

Straight Stairs

The most common stairways in homes are straight runs of stairs. A straight rail stair lift is mounted to one side of the stairway so people who will walk up the stairs are not impeded. The seat swivels at the top of the stairs, allowing the user to exit facing safely away from the top step. The seat, arm rests, and foot platform fold up, allowing easy access past the stair lift for others.

Curved and Split Stairways

Northstar can provide a stair lift solution to any type of stairway, curved, wedge shaped stairs, turns, and even spiral stairs. A custom continuous rail stair lift will enable you to travel from one level to another in one easy ride.

A note:

The geometries involved in building a curved rail stair lift are complex, and there are MANY dimensions to be considered. A curved rail stair lift is manufactured to fit your particular stair way. The seat should be perfectly level throughout the ride from bottom to top. Getting a curved stair lift right takes expertise and experience.

Some companies try to sell a curved rail stair lift using “stock” components from a truck! Don’t be fooled! These rarely provide a proper fit, good installation or adequate solution. Don’t be misled by an “off the truck” fix for a unique requirement! Call today for an expert measurement and design for your stair way!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I have a narrow stairway. How wide do the stairs have to be to have a stair lift installed?

A: We have installed stair lifts successfully on stair ways as narrow as 27”! Stairs that narrow are extremely rare! We typically see stairs of 32” or wider, which readily accept stair lifts.

Q: What is the capacity of a stair lift?

A: Typically a stair lift is manufactured to safely accommodate between 350 -400 pounds. We can provide other capacities when needed.

Q: My stairs are curved. Do they make a stair lift that will work on these stairs?

A: Yes. We can provide a stair lift for curved, switch-back, wedged shaped stairs, or stair ways with turns and intermediate landings. We highly recommend an on-site (no cost) visit to determine the best solution for your needs.

Q: Do I have to have an outlet installed on the stairs for my stair lift?

A: No. Most stair lifts run on battery power, and the requirement for an outlet to support the charging system can usually be found in an adjacent room at the top or bottom of the stairs.

Q: Why not just buy a stair lift off the internet? Aren’t they cheaper?

A: Most reputable manufacturers require that their stair lifts be sold by local dealers who can install and support with service if needed. If you buy a stair lift on the internet you have to handle the delivery, installation, and have no access to service.

Q: What happens in the event of a power outage?

A: The stair lift is battery powered, and will continue to operate both up and down for typically up to 20 or more trips up and down the stairs.

Q: How often do the batteries need to be replaced? Are they expensive?

A: Most stair lifts have two 12 volt batteries that typically last up to 5-7 years! Replacement costs are currently around $50-60 dollars each.

Q: Can I lock to chair lift to prevent small grandchildren from playing with it?

A: Yes, most stair-lifts have a keyed switch either as standard equipment, or as an option.

Q: Can a stair-chair be installed outdoors?

A: Yes, there are outdoor models available. Consider weather conditions when choosing this option, as upstate New York has some extreme weather!

Q: Can I rent a stair lift?

A: Yes. The minimum rental period is three months, and rentals are monthly. The stair-lift will be installed to fit your stairs. Unfortunately, due to very high rail costs, curved rail stairlifts are not available for rent.

Q: What kind of warranty comes with the stair lift?

A: All new stair lifts come with a warranty, and time varies based on the manufacturer. Our stair lifts have a multi-year warranty, and a life time warranty on major components such as rail, drive system, and frame.

Q: I have hardwood stairs. Will the stair-lift damage my stairs?

A: No, although there will be some holes in the treads. Once a stair lift is removed the holes can be repaired using hardwood dowels by any craftsman.

Q: Can a stair lift be installed if there is a door at the top (or bottom) of the stairs?

A: Yes. We install many stair lifts on basement stairs, and the door can still be closed to keep heat in, pets in or out, etc.

Q: Does my stair lift require frequent service or maintenance?

A: While service or maintenance requirements are typically low for this type of equipment, we recommend an annual service and preventive maintenance program to keep any repair needs to a minimum, and to insure many years of reliable service.

Please get in touch with us today for more information on our complete residential mobility services.

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