How Are Chair Lifts Installed

How Are Chair Lifts Installed

What is a Chair Lift?

Chair lifts are installed in both homes and commercial properties to facilitate the movement of the physically handicapped up or down a flight of stairs. Commonly also known as stair lifts, it involves a motorised chair that travels along a staircase which has been fitted with rails.

Given the complexity of installation, it is natural for building or home owners to require more information before making a purchase decision. As such, this blog post has been created to inform users of the various chair lift installation steps and the considerations paid during each.

Step 1: Inspection of Premise And Needs

Before any installation can take place, a proper inspection of the stairs in question and the users’ needs should be accounted for. Common questions asked during this phase include:

Is the stairs exposed to outdoor weather?

  • Is the stairs exposed
  • What material is the stairs made of?
  • Does the stairs have a carpet fitted on top of it?
  • How many flights of stairs are involved?
  • Is the stairs straight or curved?
  • Are electrical outlets available near the stairs?
  • Do the potential users have any special requirements?


A thorough inspection of the site will allow suppliers to advice you on a suitable stair lift model to be used.

Step 2: Installation of the Rail And the Power Unit

The first step of the actual installation process involves the laying down and fixing of the rail over the stairs. At the start, a track laid directly on top of the stairs, with the ends elevated. Each part of the track is then connected and fastened with screws.

Next, brackets are attached to the rails to lift up the entire track while also acting as the supporting mechanism for its weight. These brackets are fastened with bolts to every second or third stair depending on the requirements. Additionally, brackets ensure that little to no damage is incurred by the stairs during the usual operation of the chair lift.

At this stage, it is important that the rail be installed with sufficient space between itself and the wall. This will prevent scuffing or scraping being dealt to the chair lift or the wall during operation. It is also worth noting that should stairs contain any railings or window sills along the wall, the stair lift would need to be installed away from that side.

A last step of this stage involves the attachment of the power unit to the rail, typically at the top end of the track. This power unit controls the actual movement of the chair lift up and down the flight of stairs. Most crucially, the unit needs to be firmly secured to the rail as its weight could lead to significant damage if it comes loose and drops down.

Step 3: Setting Up The Electrical Wiring

Once the rail has been laid, the electrical wiring can be hooked up. Depending on the model of chair lift chosen, different electrical set ups may be required.

For battery powered models, a battery charger is powered by a convenient electrical power socket near that of the rail. The battery charger is then connected to terminals on the tracks that help to charge the stair lift battery when not in operation.

In contrast, non-battery powered models require the set-up of a dedicated electrical circuit. A travelling cable connects the electrical wall outlet to the chair’s power unit to power it. In this case, without a mobile battery, the chair lift requires that the travelling cable move with the chair as it travels along the rail. To help manage the wire, a retractable spool is often included for the power unit, letting out or taking in any slack in cables as required.

Battery powered models are preferred for situations whereby the chairlift is not under constant use. This gives the battery adequate charging time. In contrast, while non-battery powered models can sustain heavier workloads, their travelling cable does suffer wear and tear over time. As such, a greater attention to maintenance may be required for them.


Step 4: Mounting The Chair On The Rail And Installing The Call Buttons

Before the chair is fixed to the track, it should be adjusted for the intended user of the stair lift. Typically, the height and arm rests can be fine-tuned. Once this is done, the chair can be mounted on top of the power unit. A check on the seat’s angle should be made, ensuring that it is level with that of the stairs. Additionally, a visual check of the entire rail for any physical obstructions or loose foreign objects should be conducted before test runs.

The chair lift’s call buttons also need to be installed at the top and bottom of the flight of stairs. This simple call control mechanism allows individuals to summon the chair to either end of the rail.

Step 5: Testing the Chair Lift’s Operation

Once the installation is complete, several tests need to be performed. This includes the functionality of the manoeuvring controls on the chair and the emergency brake that can be utilised by the occupant of the chair. In addition, automatic safety brake features in the event of the detection of an obstacle also need to be tested.

Duration of the Installation Process

Should a professional vendor be engaged, the entire installation should not take more than a few hours. This includes the time required to explain basic operation, safety and maintenance procedures to the owner.

Uninstallation Of Chair Lift Systems

Uninstallation of chair lift systems is a relatively simple process, with the steps being the reverse of the installation method. Post uninstallation, small holes will be left from the supporting screws. These holes can be easily filled or covered. If your stairs had a carpet fitted to it before the installation of the stair lift, then indentation and minor holes should be expected once the chair lift is removed.

How Tai Hee Engineering Trading Can Help

Tai Hee Engineering is one of the leading chair lift companies in Asia. Since 2006, we have been bringing the latest accessibility equipment and technology from Europe to Asia. Over the course of more than 500 private and commercial projects, we have successfully provided mobility solutions to our clients. We provide sound advice for all clients and recommend the appropriate product that best caters to their needs. Enquire about our chair lift Singapore solutions today.

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