Just as walls need repainting and appliances need periodic replacement, home elevators also need the occasional updates. If you’ve owned an elevator for several years or just moved into a home with an existing elevator, it may need some TLC to improve its looks, performance, and energy efficiency. Some older elevators obviously will need replacing, but often, all that’s required is a little modernization.
How long does a home elevator lift last?
A typical home elevator has a lifespan of 20-30 years before it needs to be replaced. Regular elevator repair, maintenance, and modernization can not only provide less downtime for your elevator but it may increase that lifespan to over 50 years. That’s a significant increase and one that can save you money since replacing an elevator can be more expensive than modernizing your existing unit.
Signs it's time to update your elevator
How do you know when it’s time to modernize your elevator? Often, the elevator’s performance is a good indicator that updates are needed. You may experience a less comfortable ride than before, excess noise during operation, or slower operating speeds, which all indicate the need for elevator repair or maintenance.
An elevator’s visual appeal — or lack thereof — also needs to evolve. Older styles of elevators may not match your home decor, while years of use can leave a once beautiful elevator door in need of a facelift.
Listen to your home elevator technician
Before you look into replacing your elevator door and other peripheral features, have an older lift checked by a professional home elevator technician. A technician can alert you to any elevator repairs you need to address and help you decide whether the repairs are worth the cost or if a new elevator is your better choice. They can also notify you of any additional safety features that may have become available. If you’re buying a house with an elevator, have it professionally inspected by an elevator technician before finalizing your purchase so you’re aware of any existing issues and discuss how you will be using the elevator to ensure it will suit your needs as home elevators are often custom-built to the unique homeowner’s needs.
You may find that your elevator manufacturer has gone out of business, a licensed elevator technician could assist you with replacing components such as old boards with more modern, up-to-date control systems. There may have been code changes since your elevator was installed and while the elevator will often go by when it was installed, you may want to consider updates to come up to the more recent codes.
Updating the look of your old elevator
Replacing elevator peripherals is much less expensive than replacing an entire lift. If the elevator’s internal mechanisms are in good working order, a little renovation may be all that’s needed. Modernizing the look of an older elevator can make it look like a brand new model. Areas to focus on while giving your home elevator a facelift include:
- Car panels and ceilings: Replacing or revitalizing the elevator car’s walls and the ceiling is one of the most effective ways to modernize your lift. Sometimes a simple coat of paint is all that’s needed, although it’s important first to check that the car panel material can be painted.
- Elevator doors: Swap out the elevator doors on your landings and the gate or door inside the elevator with new models. Talk to your elevator technician about recent code changes and safety features available too.
- Flooring: Replace old flooring with materials that complement your home’s design. Hard flooring is often a better solution than carpet, and you can combine it with slip-resistant area rugs for visual interest.
- Handrails: Handrails come in all shapes and styles. Pick ones that complement the elevator door, walls, and flooring.
- Lighting: Installing new LED lighting fixtures, which come in a wide range of styles and are energy efficient, is one of the quickest ways to change the look of an elevator car.
- New control panels: Elevator controls can be worn down with years of use, resulting in faded buttons and scuffed surfaces. Replacing your car operating panel, phone box, and hall call panel goes a long way to modernizing your elevator.
If your home elevator is simply too outdated for these renovations, then it’s time to consider a complete replacement. If you think it’s that time, talk to a professional elevator technician to determine the cost of a new elevator car or if you should replace the entire elevator system. If you opt for a complete replacement, it’s important to consider the different types of elevators currently on the market. Choosing a new elevator is a major decision, so be sure to take the time to do your research.
With the proper care, maintenance, and modernization, an elevator can provide years of attractive, stylish service. To start the process, arrange a meeting with a Symmetry Elevator dealer today. They’ll help you choose the hardware and decor needed to keep your elevator evolving with the times.