You will need a curved stairlift if your staircase isn’t straight and has one or more curves or turns.
What is a Curved Stairlift?
Curved stairlifts are designed for stairs with bends or corners that a straight stairlift can’t be fitted to. They are sometimes known as around the corner stairlifts.
Whereas a straight stairlift is simple to install using a readymade track, a curved stairlift requires a specially made track that’s customised to fit the exact layout of a staircase.
Because they run on custom made tracks, curved stairlifts can be fitted to nearly all configurations of curved stairs. There are exceptions, such as where there is a low bulkhead, or in some circumstances building work may be required to make alterations in order for a stairlift to be fitted.
A purpose built track can be manufactured to exact specifications and allows flexibility. For example, a parking bend could be included to enable a stairlift to be parked away from the end of the stairs when not in use.
Due to the fact that they require a track to be made to order, curved stairlifts can’t be delivered and installed as fast as standard straight stairlifts. There is also more work involved to fit a curved model, so the installation itself may take slightly longer.
Due to the extra work needed to manufacture the track and install a curved stairlift, curved models are more expensive that basic straight ones.
Different Types of Curved Stairlift
There are several well known stairlift manufacturers in the UK that offer a range of different curved stairlift models. Which model is best for you will depend both on the layout of your stairs and your individual requirements.
Basic models come with standard features for safety, comfort and ease of use. Certain models can be adapted to meet the specific needs of the user by adding optional extras. Additional features may include things like a powered swivel seat or a retractable rail.
For users that are large or obese, some companies offers heavy duty stairlifts for curved stairs. Heavy duty models have extra capacity and are designed with a higher weight limit than standard models.
If you have particularly narrow or steep stairs that curve, a compact model may be the best option. Several companies offer compact and slimline stairlifts that can be fitted on some narrow curved stairs.
For stairs that have very tight bends a perching stairlift might be required. This type of stairlift has a perch seat instead of a chair and doesn’t take up so much space on the stairs. A perch stairlift may also be a good choice if the user has difficulty bending and finds getting in and out of a chair a challenge.
If you have external steps that you need to use to access your garden or reach your door, you could consider an outdoor stairlift. Some suppliers offer curved stairlifts that are designed for use outside.
Is it Possible to Fit a Straight Stairlift on Curved Stairs?
In a small number of circumstances it may be possible to save money and get a straight stairlift instead of a curved one. For instance, if your stairs have just one turn at the top, with just a couple of steps up to the landing, a bridging platform may be an option. This can be used as a bridge over the final steps between the stairlift and the landing. Safety should always be your number one priority and it’s important to be aware that a bridging platform won’t be suitable for someone with very restricted mobility. In this case a curved stairlift would be the safer option.
Another type of staircase configuration where it may be feasible to install two straight stairlifts instead of a curved one is where the stairs turn just one corner. If the user is able to safely transfer between the two stairlifts at the point where the stairs turn, this could be an alternative to a curved model.
In both these examples if the user’s mobility is likely to deteriorate in the future it would be advisable to purchase a curved stairlift to enable them to travel the entire length of the stairs without risking a fall.
Curved Stair Lift Prices
Curved stairlift prices tend to be more expensive than those for straight ones. The reason curved stairlifts cost more is because there is a lot more time and work involved in making a bespoke track and fitting it to the stairs.
How much a curved stairlift will cost you depends on your particular requirements. Each staircase is different and the number of steps and curves will affect the price. Which model you select and any optional extras you add will also influence the cost.
As a very approximate guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from around £4,000 to over £5,000 for a brand new curved stairlift. To get an accurate price you will need to get a free no obligation quote from a reputable supplier.
Reconditioned Curved Stairlifts
Some suppliers sell reconditioned curved stairlifts. These are second-hand models that have been fully refurbished to a safe working standard. Although you will still need to have a track specially made to fit the layout of your stairs, you could save money by buying a reconditioned rather than a brand new model.
Reputable companies will provide a warranty, professional installation and aftersales care when you buy a reconditioned model. However, it is advisable to compare prices and the level of warranty cover between a reconditioned stairlift and a new one. You may find it doesn’t cost much more to buy a brand new curved stairlift and you will get the security of a newer model and a longer warranty period.
It is not advisable to purchase a used curved stairlift privately from a seller on Ebay or other websites. The price may be low, but you will have no guarantee the stairlift works properly and is safe. You will have no comeback if it breaks down and you risk wasting your money. Crucially, a second-hand curved track won’t be compatible with your stairs. You will need to buy a brand new purpose built track in order to fit the stairlift and pay a professional engineer to install it correctly.
Some companies offer the option to rent a curved stairlift. This may be an affordable solution if you only need a stairlift in the short term. For instance, you may be unable to climb your stairs temporarily while your recover from an injury or operation.
Again, because you will need to have a bespoke track made to fit your stairs, the price of renting a curved stairlift will be more expensive than renting a straight one that can be fitted on a readymade track.
There will usually be a one-off set up fee to get a rental stairlift installed, followed by agreed monthly payments of a smaller amount. It is important to think very carefully before deciding to rent instead of buy a stairlift. As a general rule it works out cheaper over the longer term to buy your own stairlift rather than rent one.
Get More Information
It is slightly more complicated to get a price for a curved stairlift than a straight one as your stairs will need to be carefully measured and assessed. You will need to make an appointment for a free home visit from a reputable company that can advise on the most suitable model for your needs.
Although you may have to wait for the track to be made, the installation itself should be completed within a few hours with minimal upheaval. A curved stairlift can enable you to continue using both floors of your home without worrying about falling on the stairs.