A residential porch lift is a great way to provide accessibility at home. Wheelchair lifts make getting in and out of your home easy and worry free, while maintaining independence as long as possible. Yes, of course you would like a vertical porch lift, but how much does it cost? Good question.
If you are considering installing a vertical wheelchair lift for your porch or in your garage, considered all of the costs involved. Read on for details on estimated costs of installing a vertical porch lift.
Note: this article is specific to residential installations, and focus on our 28” and 52” wheelchair lifts. Commercial projects have their own considerations, code requirements and permits. If you are considering a wheelchair lift for your business or public building, please consult with local installers to estimate total costs.
The total cost of installing a residential wheelchair lift varies by the following 7 criteria:
Product specific costs:
- Maximum lifting height
- Configuration of the lift
- Added lift options for added safety and function
- Shipping costs
- Site preparation requirements
- Installation time
- Local code requirements
Maximum Lifting Height
The first thing you will need to know when looking for a wheelchair lift, is what your lifting height requirements are. Measure from the ground floor to the upper landing floor. That is your travel distance. This article is focused on residential installations for lifts no higher than 53”.
Note: Lifting heights between 53” and 14 feet are considered high tower lifts. Those usually require more involved installation and a licensed installer. If you’re lifting requirements are over 14 feet, than you will need an elevator.
When choosing a lift, select the one that has a maximum lifting height that either matches or exceeds your travel height. For example: if you measurement from ground floor to upper landing floor is 24”, select the 28” wheelchair lift. If your measurement is 28.5”, select the 52” lift.
The most affordable residential lifts are the same price for a 28” lift and a 52” lift in the same configuration.
- 28” Straight Left Access Wheelchair Lift =Base price ~$3,684 USD
- 52” Straight Left Access Wheelchair Lift =Base price ~$3,684 USD
Straight Through Access vs Adjacent Access
Straight Through Access
Wheelchair porch lifts come in two main configurations. Straight through access and adjacent access. The main differences are of course the travel directions of the person riding the lift and the platform size. A straight through lifts are simple and the most common. The rider gets on the lift at the bottom and when they get to the top they keep going straight to get off the lift at the top. Platform sizes are usually 34” wide and 54” long.
Sometimes, the space provided doesn’t allow for a simple straight through access lift. The adjacent lifts have a wider 40”platform, but the same 54” length. This leaves enough space for someone in a wheelchair to get on the lift at the bottom, and then turn to the right or left to get off the lift at the top.
Note: the other factor that you will need to know before ordering, is the handing of the lift, which indicates which side of the lift the control tower will be on, as you approach from the lower landing. This choice doesn’t affect pricing.
The straight through lifts cost a little less, but the price difference is around $226
- 52” Straight Left Access Wheelchair Lift =Base price ~$3,684 USD
- 52” Adjacent Left Access Wheelchair Lift =Base price ~$3,910 USD
Added Lift Options
For the most part, a basic residential lift will be sufficient for many applications. But there are many optional features you may want to consider adding.
Remote call stations– Price range ~$135 to 275 USD per landing
Remote call stations are useful in households where more than one person may be using the porch lift. For example, if the rider is on the upper landing, but the lift is down at the lower landing, you can push the call station button to remotely move the lift to the correct landing. You will probably want one call station for the upper landing and one for the lower landing.
There are different styles of remote call stations:
- simple one direction push button ($135USD)
- toggle call/send station. ($192USD) -also allows you to send the lift to the opposite landing, which is helpful for caregivers.
- Each of these styles can also come keyed. ($229 to $275USD) -This allows you to control access to the lift, and prevent your grand kids from turning your lift into a playground.
Residential upgrade with Safety Pan– Price ~$578 USD
The standard lift platform is a steel mesh, so you can see through the platform. That way, if the neighbor’s cat sneaks underneath while you are lowering the lift, you can instantly stop the lift. The upgrade option is to have a safety pan. This changes the lift to a solid platform, with a safety pan underneath. If, while the lift is lowering there is an obstruction (and a loud meow), the lift will automatically stop. The safety pan option makes the base of the lift a little taller. This upgrade comes with an 18” toe plate, instead of the normal 8”, to allow for an easier incline to get on the lift.
Carriage Gate upgrade– Price ~$1,388 USD
The standard lift has an open design, with just a toe plate at the entrance and the handrail each side. If you prefer a more enclosed lift, you can upgrade to include the carriage gate. This is a 42” high door on the lift, with an interlock. This upgrade includes a solid handrail and a control wall extension, which encloses the 3 sides of the lift.
Upper Landing Gate– Price ~$1,185 USD
You can add an upper landing gate, to keep to ensure no one accidentally steps off the end of the landing when the lift is down. This is more important for higher lifts. The upper landing gate can be integrated into an existing railing. The landing gate also comes with an electro-magnetic interlock, to prevent the gate from opening until the lift is all the way at the top landing.
Electro-Mechanical Interlock – Price ~$449 USD
If you are supplying your own upper landing gate, you can purchase the electro-magnetic interlock, to prevent the gate from opening until the lift is all the way at the top landing.
24 Volt DC Power Unit – Price ~$1,358 USD, plus 12V batteries.
The battery backup system is a helpful upgrade, especially if you live in an area that has frequent power outages. For peace of mind, your lift would be plugged into the DC power unit, which is plugged into your outlet, so the batteries are constantly charging. You will need to provide two of the 12V U1 Gel Cell Batteries. These can range from $80 to $130 dollars each.
These are the main options available.
Lifts ship factory direct and can be delivered right to your home. Residential delivery – Price ~$535 USD
You can save a bit of money by having the lift delivered to a commercial loading dock, but then you’ll need to arrange to have it transported to the job site. Commercial dock delivery – Price ~$335 USD
Other Costs to Consider
The residential wheelchair lifts are designed ideally to work in existing spaces, beside small porches or decks or in a garage. If your home already has the ideal set up for a vertical porch lift than there may be zero preparation costs.
Residential lifts need to be installed on a concrete pad that is, at least 60” x 60” and 4” thick. If you are installing your lift in a garage with a pour concrete floor, than you can install the lift easily. Make sure the ground is level at the installation site.
If you are installing your lift by a small deck or porch, than you will need to add a concrete pad, and possibly a pathway to the lift. You can hire someone to come and pour the concrete pad for you, or do it yourself if you have experience. Concrete pad costs can range, depending on overall size and if you also need a concrete pathway to the lift. Price estimate ~$250-$1,000 USD
When exiting the lift at the top, someone in a wheelchair needs room to safety roll off and maneuver to the entrance of the house. If you need to make your upper landing bigger there will be added costs. It is best to try and find an area that already has good access and room at the top of the lift. Again you can hire someone to build the landing or do it yourself if you have experience, but there will still be material costs. Also consider the costs of adding your own railing and landing gate, if you choose that option. Price estimate ~over $1,000 USD
If you are hiring someone to do the installation for you, make sure they are prepared. Have them review the installation instructions and video and survey the site to make sure they have everything they need when the lift arrives. A simple residential lift is fairly easy to install but will require at least two people just to handle the lift as it is very heavy.
We have had customers tell us that they were able to complete the installation within 2-3 hours, so long as the site is prepared. It may take a little longer for someone without experience. Again if you or a relative or friend is handy and technically inclined, a do-it-yourselfer could easily handle this installation, with some extra muscle on hand. Labor Price estimate ~ $0 – $500 USD
Permits and Inspections
Even for residential lifts, some regions and municipalities require a wheelchair lift installation to be inspected and have permits. It is extremely important to check with local building authorities to see what they required in your area. Some areas are particular about who can do the installation for wheelchair lifts, and may need a Certified Elevator Installer or state licensed installer. If local authorities have requirements specific to the lifts, you can usually request those modifications for additional cost.
Making Independence a Reality | Freedom Lift Systems™
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