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Does My House Have Enough Space for an Elevator?

Space is an important consideration when installing a home elevator in an existing house. No matter what type of elevator model you choose, you’ll have to sacrifice a certain amount of floor space. Once you understand typical elevator dimensions, you’ll be better positioned to make decisions about where to install a residential elevator, as well as which elevator types are most appropriate for your home.

How Much Space Do You Need for a Home Elevator?

Home elevator shaft dimensions differ slightly by make and model of each elevator but typically measure 5’ x 4’. The elevator shaft, therefore, takes up 20 square feet of floor space, which allows for an elevator car size of approximately 15 square feet.

When home elevator size is discussed, it’s important to think in three dimensions. Floor space is important, of course, but so is the height of the elevator. Residential elevators are typically designed with two- to six-story homes in mind, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers restricts a home elevator’s travel height to fifty feet or less.

In addition to the shaft, home elevators often require a pit beneath the shaft that is approximately 6 to 8 inches deep. Several of the most popular elevator models also require a machine room to house the elevator’s mechanical drive and controller. The minimum recommended size for a residential elevator machine room is 4.5’ x 5.5’.

An alternative to a machine-room powered elevator is a machine room-less elevator (MRL elevators). Instead of using a machine room, MRL elevator motors are housed at either the top or bottom of the hoistway, making this type of elevator ideal for small homes. You will want to consult your local elevator company, as not all jurisdictions allow the controller in the hoistway.

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Where Can You Make Space for an Elevator in Your Home?

As residential elevator dimensions take up a fair bit of space, it’s best to install them in areas of “dead space” in your home that are rarely used. Possible locations capable of containing a home elevator hoistway include closets, the ends of hallways, spaces around stairways, and corners of dens and living rooms.

How Can You Install a Home Elevator if You Don’t Have Space in Your Home?

If you don’t have room for a standard-sized elevator in your home, you may need to look into the shaftless home elevator. The shaftless home elevator does not require a pit, machine room or shaft, thus creating a space-saving compact design offering the same convenience of a home elevator with a smaller footprint.

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The smallest home elevators take up about nine square feet and allow one person to use the elevator at a time (for small-space solutions for wheelchair users, wheelchair lifts may be a possibility).

Pitless elevators and machine room-less elevators are also small-space solutions. Another option is to install the elevator machine room, the hoistway, or both on an exterior wall or inside the home’s garage.

Do I Have Enough Space in my Home for an Elevator?

The best way to determine how much space you have available for a home elevator is to have an experienced home elevator technician visit your home to discuss your needs and evaluate your home’s available space. Contact your local Symmetry Elevator dealer to set up an appointment today, and take the first step towards improving your mobility and maintaining your independence.

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