Thinking about your options for a more accessible home? An elevator has certain benefits over other options, like stair lifts, but many people are put off by the idea of losing valuable floor space in their homes. While there is inevitably going to be some loss of space, there are models which minimise this to just the size of a large closet -- or even less.
To install a home elevator, you will need to find space for where it's going to go up and down, known as the hoistway shaft. This will work out to roughly the size of a large closet on each floor you want the elevator to go to. On top of this, hydraulic models will also require a machine room to house the drive that makes them work. This room is also roughly closet-sized. If you want to minimise lost floor space, look for non-hydraulic models. Winding drum and traction drive models can both be fitted without machine rooms, as long as there is space to mount the drive at the top of the shaft. A consultant will be able to advise if this is possible in your home.
If the models above aren't compact enough, an innovative design from Argentina may be the solution. Pneumatic vacuum elevators have a footprint of just one square metre. As there's no hoistway or machine room to install, there's no need for excavation or construction work, and the whole apparatus can be installed very quickly.
The vacuum elevator works by altering the air pressure above and below the car, creating a smooth ride. The space inside the shaft is, as the one-metre footprint would suggest, quite narrow, so this type of elevator is not suitable for wheelchair users. However, it has a number of benefits. A locking mechanism is used to stop the car at various floors, which doubles as a foolproof safety mechanism. It's also one of the cheapest options on the market, due to the easy installation and lack of construction required.
Of course, if you want to almost completely do away with the problem of lost floor space, it's just a matter of thinking outside the box. External elevators can either be attached through a shaft constructed on the side of the house or prefabricated offsite and attached directly. The latter is one of the quickest ways to install a home elevator as the only modification needed to the existing house is to build doorways on each floor.
For information on different types of elevators needed for large residential buildings or commercial spaces, contact a company like Forte Lift Services to see what options best fit your needs.