The elevator car is the most customizable portion of a residential elevator. This component of the elevator will set the tone of the entire project, and justly so, will affect the home elevator cost. So where should you start with the interior design of your home elevator? There are items that every elevator car will have, and most of them can be customized. So let’s explore the components of the car and what can be done with them.
Every elevator car will have the following:
- Car gate/door
- Car Operating Panel (COP)
- Phone system
Home Elevator Floor
You may not have thought about this, but it is important to understand how the floor interacts with the rest of the elevator. The floor is the surface that will bear the weight of the occupying forces, be it people, or things. The walls will sit on, and be anchored to, the floor. The car door(s) will be guided at the bottom by a sill that is fastened to the floor. The floor is normally sent from the factory unfinished, allowing you to supply your own flooring. The sill is typically made from wood that will match the walls, and sits ¾” above the floor, this allows for ¾” hardwood flooring, as well as, carpeting, tile or other suitable floor covering. You should keep in mind that the weight of the flooring may affect the operation of the elevator, so let the manufacturer know what floor covering you intend to use while the elevator is in the design phase to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the structure of the elevator drive or shaftway.
Elevator Car Walls and Ceiling
As the largest surface of the elevator, the walls and ceiling are something you will want to get right. As a design element, the elevator walls will give you the opportunity to add new shades to your design pallet. Available with standard elevator car panel options as simple as plywood walls to be painted or stained on site, hardwood wood veneer flat panels, recessed panels, and raised panels, the elevator walls and ceiling are available in most wood species, and custom finishes upon request. Adding different media to the construction materials will alter the feel of the elevator. Options such as wainscoting, shiplap, and picture framing will add another texture to your elevator car. If you are so inclined, stainless steel, or glass walls are available for your home elevator. So, whether you desire to have the open, modern, interaction of a glass car; an arts and crafts motif; or the ornate experience of a mirrored car, our craftsmen have the skill and experience to make your vision a reality.
Car Gate/Door(s) for an Elevator
The enter/exit configuration of the elevator will determine how many entrance doors there are to an elevator car. There will be one car gate/door per opening of the elevator car. The price of the elevator will be affected by the number of gates/doors, because they are priced differently than walls, and may require a door operator.
Many types of doors and gates can be mounted to the elevator car. So first, we should differentiate between a door and a gate. Simply put, any solid panel passage barrier is a door; if the barrier is not solid, it is a gate. For most manufacturers, accordion doors are the standard car door. Other elevator car door options are available such as the traditional, commercial elevator sliding door which automatically retracts with two or three panels; the vintage style collapsible gate, which looks like a gate you would see in an old movie; a tambour style wrap around gate which retracts nearly out of view behind a car wall; and a safety panel door, which works similarly to a traditional commercial door, but is a lighter and lower profile construction.
With the exception of the collapsible gate, all doors and gates can be power operated, and commercial style, sliding doors must be power operated. Power operation allows the door or gate to automatically open or close upon arrival at, or prior to departure from, a landing.
A safety device is provided for all doors and gates with either power or manual operation. A gate switch is provided in an out of view location to monitor the car door position and prevents the elevator from moving if the car door is not in the closed position. An additional safety device can be used in most circumstances, this device, commonly call a light ray, works similarly to the sensors used on garage doors, which prevents movement if the sensor is obstructed. Light ray sensors, have a slim design, mounting to the car on the outside of the car door and emit a series of infrared beams preventing the elevator from moving if any of the approximately 90 beams is interrupted.
Car Operating Panel (COP)
The COP is the device that will allow you to direct the elevator to where you are going. Using a non-selective, collective control system, the COP consists of floor selection buttons, an emergency stop switch, alarm button, and a position indicator (PI). COPs can be customized to meet your desires. The COP comes standard with a brushed stainless steel faceplate with matching buttons, and a PI with red or optional amber LEDs. Floor selection buttons can be either letters or numbers and the PI can be programmed in alphanumeric combinations. A phone can also be integrated into the COP for your convenience. Depending on your wants and needs, the COP can be designed with alternative options, such as adding an additional COP in another location within the car for user ease, adding a remote control, key locking floor selection to isolate access to a given location, and adding a card reader or biometric control. The size and shape of the COP can be altered in many circumstances.
A telephone is required as an additional layer of security, allowing you to call for assistance in the unlikely event of a power outage while you are in the elevator. Our standard elevator systems come equipped for a phone to be installed. We provide, as a standard, a phone box, which will have a cover that will match the finish of the COP. The phone box is simply a cavity within the wall in which a standard phone can be installed. As stated above, the COP can have an integrated phone system installed.
Elevator Car Handrails
Handrails are a simple safety device added to the car to provide additional support for those who desire it. Anchored to the wall, the handrail is available in many finish options.
Car lighting is provided inside the car and automatically activates when the elevator is called. The lights will stay on during operation, and will turn off after the elevator has been idle for a period of time. The 24 volt car lights are operated on a separate circuit, with a disconnect switch integrated into the main control panel. Symmetry’s standard lighting consists of 2 LED light fixtures with 3 LEDs each. We offer several options for the lighting trim rings including Brass, stainless steel, Black, and antique bronze. If you plan to use a different light source, a conversion kit to allow for a 120 volt power supply may be provided. Symmetry lights are equipped with an emergency setting which will partially power the light and allow them to stay on for several hours.