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How to Determine Your Budget for a Home Elevator

Determining your budget for your home elevator may sound intimidating, but the process is quite simple. Once thought to be expensive luxuries reserved for the mansions of the rich and famous, today’s residential elevators are affordable necessities for anyone with mobility issues or who plans to age in place.

Creating a budget for a home elevator means calculating the price of several important factors, including the cost of the residential elevator itself and customizable options. Typically, your residential elevator budget should consider the following:

  • Available space within your home
  • Elevator size
  • Drive mechanisms
  • Shaft or shaftless elevator choices
  • Style and customizable features
  • Annual maintenance

1. Does Your Home Have Room for an Elevator?

Your first consideration is whether your home has room for a residential elevator. Home elevators require a relatively large space, especially if you choose an elevator that needs a pit and machine room. The age and layout of your home may also limit where you can locate an elevator. Newer homes are often designed with future elevators in mind, with features like closets lining up on each floor to accommodate an elevator hoistway (shaft).

Older homes with smaller square footage may not have the internal space for an elevator hoistway. In such circumstances, elevator shafts can be installed along exterior walls or in garages, which may increase the overall cost of installation. Necessary renovations for pits, machine rooms, and shafts often determine whether home elevator installation is worth the price.

2. How Large of an Elevator Car Will You Need?

When creating a budget for residential elevator costs, it’s important to consider the size of the elevator car. As you’d expect, larger cars result in more expense. Not only does a larger car cost more, so too does the installation for the hoistway needed to house the car.

Most homes are well-served by standard-sized home elevators, with an average car size of 35 x 48 inches. Larger cars average 40 x 54 inches, with the largest residential elevator cars providing up to eighteen square feet of space.

3. What Kind of Drive Mechanism Do You Want?

When determining your budget for your home elevator, the drive mechanism for the elevator probably has the most significant impact on cost. A full-sized residential elevator with a machine room, pit, and multiple moving parts costs the most to install and operate. Simpler drive mechanisms, such as machine room-less elevators and pneumatic systems have fewer moving parts and need less installation space, which reduces costs but may limit the size and functionality of the elevator.

Popular drive mechanisms for elevators include:

  • Winding Drum: Winding drum elevators are a dependable, middle-of-the-road option that may or may not require a machine room.
  • Inline Gear: Inline gear drives are often used by machine room-less elevators. The lack of a machine room reduces installation costs, although inline gear drives typically require a pit.
  • Hydraulic: A hydraulic elevator uses pressurized fluid to move the car up and down, resulting in an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride. Hydraulic home elevators need a machine room and pit.

4. Shaft or Shaftless?

You can reduce the cost of installing an elevator in your home if you choose a shaftless model. Designed only for transport between two levels, shaftless elevators are compact systems that do not require the construction of a hoistway, pit, or machine room. Shaftless elevators are powered by a winding drum.

5. Customizable Options

Don’t neglect the cost of customizable options when creating a budget for your residential elevator. Car doors, lighting, paneling, and flooring can all be customized, as can control panels, emergency phones, and additional safety features. You can design your elevator to seamlessly blend into its surroundings or act as the focal point for a room. 

Once you choose a type of elevator, take the time to consider its customizable options. They may add to home elevator costs, but you’ll be using your elevator for decades — it’s cheaper to get what you want now rather than redoing customizable options at a later date.

6. Other Considerations

Once installed, your elevator will need a professional inspection as well as ongoing maintenance. You should plan to schedule semi-annual maintenance checks to keep the unit’s machinery running at peak performance.

When determining the budget for your home elevator, your local Symmetry Elevator Dealer is an invaluable resource. They will be able to provide you with the price of the elevator you’ve chosen, customizable features, and installation costs.

Start Planning Your Home Elevator Today

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