Putting An Elevator Into An Existing Home
Is it possible to add an elevator to your existing home?
Yes, it is possible to add an elevator to your existing home. Most North American homes built within the last 50-60 years have been constructed, so that a residential elevator can be added with reasonable design and construction measures.
The best place to position an elevator in an existing home largely depends on the total project budget, and one’s desire to keep the current home’s layout intact. From our experience, many customers choose to use renovations as an opportunity to expand its scope and update their home.
It’s natural to picture adding an elevator to the exterior of the home, which would avoid cannibalizing existing rooms; especially if the square footage is limited. However the engineering and construction costs to create an adjoining foundation, and then connect the shaft or hoistway with the roofline in an attractive manner, may be more substantial than positioning the elevator within the existing building.
Within the home, the ideal location should connect all landings, or as many as possible, so the investment provides the highest level of value for both the home and its riders.
Some existing and newer elevator models are being designed for installing in existing homes, but it doesn’t change the fact that in most cases, some level of interior renovations are necessary to accommodate a home elevator system within an existing structure.
Why you should add an elevator to your home
There are many good reasons why you should add an elevator to your home, such as:
- It enables homeowners to enjoy their home through all the stages of adulthood and continue aging at home.
- A home elevator functions as a vertical hallway, which makes it easier to move big or bulky items safely between floors, which drastically reduces stairway falls.
- It allows homeowners to continue enjoying every area of their home, regardless of challenges with stairs. This includes basements or multi-level homes with numerous staircases.
In addition to providing utility while owning the home, having a home elevator has proven to increase the resale value of your house when selling, as it appeals to a wider audience versus comparable listings without these beneficial features.
The relative affordability of this luxury amenity is greater now than any time in history. Technology and competition have kept prices largely the same for 20-30 years; however, home prices in major urban centers have never been higher.
How much does it cost to add an elevator to your existing home
The cost of putting an elevator in an existing home depends on many contributing factors: the number of landings it serves, the type of elevator, desired options, whether it fits within the home structure or is being added to the exterior, and the resulting design/construction costs.
The average cost of a home elevator system in Canada is approx. $25,000-35,000 CAD. The average cost in the United States is similar ($25,000-$35,000 USD), but this amounts to slightly higher costs, due to the higher value of USD vs CAD. The general range will vary across North America, as pricing can depend on local provincial/state codes. It can also increase substantially for custom or luxury designs.
The cost of construction to accommodate a home elevator in an existing home can range anywhere from between $25,000 to $80,000, depending on the house in question, the location within the home, and the magnitude of the renovations needed. Construction costs for a new home build is drastically less than the cost for a renovation.
To get a more accurate price for your upcoming project, please contact us.
What type of elevator should you choose
for existing home
Safety is of course paramount when considering a mobility solution, but homeowners also want things that look good. Something that looks as though it is part of the home (house pride is a very strong motivating factor). Solutions that are more attractive and discrete.
Compact electric elevator
A compact, electric elevator is a smaller, traditional home lift that requires a shaft or enclosure surrounding it. The elevator system is assembled within the enclosed hoistway and attaches to the existing floor joists for support. The reduced capacity and cab size keep the price affordable.
- Can serve 2-4 landings
- Automatic operation
- Automatic cab door
- 35fpm speed
- Greater construction scope
- Requires more space in comparison
Shaftless personal elevator
A shaftless, personal elevator is an attractive and compact two-story lift that travels through an aperture between the floors. It can be installed in almost any room in the house given its small footprint, and can be parked on another floor to conserve the useful space for passage.
- Compact footprint
- Lower total project cost
- Can be hidden when not in use
- Visibility while traveling
- Slower 16fpm speed
- Constant push operation
- Can only serve 2 landings
Find answers to common questions about our residential elevators in our FAQ section. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us for assistance
What is the total cost?
The total cost is a combination of the elevator system, approx. $30,000 – 35,000, and the hoistway construction to accommodate the elevator. The later depends on the home and can range between $25,000 and $100,000.
How much room does it take up?
Same as a large closet, approx. 5ft x 5ft will allow a good sized elevator cab.
Will it fit in a staircase?
In most cases no, unless your staircase has a large enough void to satisfy a 5ft x 5ft (or larger) enclosure.
Can I enter the elevator from one side and exit the other?
Yes. We can configure the elevator cab to meet your design, whether its on/off same side, on/off opposite, adjacent opening, or all 3!
Are there any grants that cover the cost?
Available grants and tax breaks depend on local provinces/states and may be available for both a homeowner or home builder. We strongly recommend you research beforehand in order to take advantage of them. In Ontario, Canada where Cambridge Elevating is located in, there are two grants available for homeowners.
The first is the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit. This credit allows a homeowner to claim a 25% rebate on up to $10,000 for a maximum of $2,500 back for a renovation to make a home safer and more accessible. Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/seniors-home-safety-tax-credit for more info.
The second is the non-refundable Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC). It applies to qualifying expenses incurred for renovations (including both work performed and goods required) made to an eligible dwelling for eligible individuals. For 2022 and subsequent tax years, a maximum of $20,000 per year in qualifying expenses can be claimed resulting in a maximum tax credit of $3,000.
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How often do I need to service the elevator?
The manufacturer recommends twice annually but it can depend on how often the device is used. At least once per year, to maximize dependability and performance, certain elevator components require cleaning, lubrication, tolerance checking and testing.
Can I just buy the elevator and have a family member or friend install it to save money?
Sorry no. Only certified and/or factory trained mechanics can install elevating devices given the inherent dangers and risk of personal injury & death to those installing the devices and/or passengers riding them.
I cannot afford that, can you come check my house to see if there is a less expensive way to install it?
We have a reno-friendly Homelift model that only serves two floors. The total project cost is usually less because it does not require the construction of a full enclosure. The budget for that product is $45,000 – 50,000.
Will it increase the value of my home?
Yes. There is plenty of evidence that a home with a private elevator commands greater resale value and sells faster than an equivalent listing without because it appeals to a larger audience. Namely the growing number of people wishing to Age in Place and families with multiple generations at home.
Do you do the construction work?
No. However we can connect you with quality contractors who have intimate knowledge of our requirements from experience working with Cambridge Elevating on numerous projects over the years.
Does it fit a wheelchair?
Yes, we have many different cab sizes available. To ensure the cab size satisfies your accessible needs, the hoistway footprint available must be large enough.
Do you offer construction services?
No. However Cambridge Elevating or our network of dealers across North American might be able to connect you with quality contractors who have intimate knowledge of our requirements from experience working with our products on numerous projects over the years.
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