If you’re considering adding an elevator to your home, don’t let the cost hold you back. A residential elevator is a valuable investment worth making as it comes with numerous benefits that you can’t put a price tag on. Many homeowners are adding home elevators for extra convenience when carrying large or heavy items up and down and for helping aging family members or pets get from floor to floor and encourage their independence. Elevators also make the home more accessible for those who are disabled or immobile and add extra home luxury and value. When it comes to the costs for home elevator installation, pricing varies and depends on various factors, from the type of home elevator you choose and the features you want.
What Are the Types of Home Elevators?
When it comes to searching for the perfect residential elevator for your home, you have various options to choose from. While homeowners can pick about a handful of different types of elevators, two of the best types of elevators for your home include traction and hydraulic elevators. Elevators can be categorized by their drive system — the way their cabin raises and lowers.
- Pneumatic: These use a tube vacuum system for power.
- Cable-Drum: These use a cable wound around a drum.
- Chain-Drive: These use a chain rotating over a set of sprockets.
Whether you’re looking for something more discreet or don’t mind some attention on your residential elevator, we are here to help.
If you have the space in your home and not a lot of overhead, a hydraulic elevator might be the best option for you. Hydraulic home elevators use industrial and commercial engineering to get the cab up and down using a piston and pump system. The elevator pumps hydraulic fluid into a cylinder of the hydraulic arm through a valve, which forces the piston up with the pressure. As a result, the elevator gets pushed up which makes for a smooth ride.
Hydraulic elevators are also extremely efficient when it comes to transporting heavy loads across floors. Since these elevators require an additional space for a separate machine room, homeowners will need a slightly larger area in their home to plan for hydraulic elevator installation. With the additional machine room, this could factor into the equation when it comes to cost.
Unlike hydraulic elevators that use a piston and pump, traction elevators use a counterweight method to operate. In these elevators, steel ropes roll over a sheave to lift and lower the elevator cab. The counterweight system offsets the cab’s weight, so it’s exceptionally energy-efficient. The system is comparable to a seesaw since the weight distribution in both cases causes the ascend and descend motion. In this process, traction elevators don’t rely on any fluids to power the system like hydraulic elevators do.
Since the counterweight system is built into the actual shaft, traction elevators also do not need a machine room, so it could be the better option if you don’t have the space for a machine room inside your home. They do, however, require additional space above the elevator. This space holds all of the components to operate the elevator to raise and lower the car. Traction elevators are also typically just as smooth and quiet as most residential hydraulic systems out there. There are also plenty of custom options available to upgrade your traction elevator as you see fit, from observation glass panels to extra gates and more.
New Construction vs. Retrofit
How much a home elevator costs for a house depends on when you choose to have your hydraulic or traction elevator installed. While some may choose to have a residential elevator put in at the time of their home’s construction, others may decide later on to have one retrofitted. People may want to have a residential elevator retrofitted for their home in cases where they need immediate accessibility or to make traveling with bulky loads up and down different floors easier. No matter your reason to install a home elevator, if you don’t have one installed during your home’s construction, retrofitting makes it possible to install the residential elevator you’ve been looking for, years later.
Many homeowners agree that, if possible, it’s easiest to add an elevator to your home during construction. This way, architects can include the elevator into the home plan, which may also give homeowners more options when it comes to things like concealment, size or other decorative features. Installing an elevator during new construction also makes it easier for the elevator to fit perfectly into the desired space.
If you think you might want to put in a home elevator someday, you can plan for it during construction without actually putting one in. Design and size your home closets at the same place on every floor so you have space to install a home elevator later. Here’s what you can do at the time of construction to prepare for a home elevator down the line:
- Size your closets to match the standard requirements for an elevator shaft, usually 60 inches by 60 inches
- Give 8 inches in the slab for the recessed elevator pit, and at least 96 inches above for correct overhead clearance
- Offset the doors
- Put in temporary flooring in the pit and at each level — you’ll remove these when you’re ready to install your home elevator
- Put in blocking requirements in one wall
- Install a light, the phone line and GFI outlet in the area you designate for equipment
Although some may find it easier to add an elevator at the time of construction, retrofitting an elevator into an existing home is still doable and yields excellent results. With retrofitting, there are additional factors to consider:
- Where will you put your new home elevator?
- Think about home elevator safety
- Consider the elevator’s power requirements
- How will this addition impact your insurance?
- How will an elevator affect your home’s marketability?
When deciding where to put your new home elevator, you’ll have to consider areas that are unobstructed at all possible landings since a new room where the elevator will operate must be added to each floor serviced. The space should have at least 25 square feet of inside floor space. Additionally, if you’re planning to install a hydraulic elevator that requires a machine room, you’ll also need to talk with your elevator company about where the machine room will go as well while you’re mapping out potential elevator locations. You will also need to verify that your elevator meets all power requirements so it can run as it’s supposed to for years to come.
When it comes to home elevator safety, be sure to choose a trusted elevator company for installation services. These companies must meet the criteria set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to ensure maximum safety. Your elevator company should be working to improve elevator design and installation for the safest elevator possible. Homeowners may also want to reach out to their home insurance agent to discuss any potential impact on your policy. Installing a home elevator might increase your home’s replacement value, which could ultimately impact your liability coverage.
Whether installed at the time of new construction or retrofitted years later, know that a residential elevator will increase the marketability of your home and make it more valuable, since the added feature could attract a variety of potential home buyers. Plus, a home elevator makes your life more comfortable in a multitude of ways that no dollar amount can express.
What Are the Labor and Installation Costs?
So, just how much does it cost to install a home elevator? While residential elevator labor and installation costs depend on a variety of different factors, the overall price is likely more affordable than many homeowners imagined. When it comes to installation, this process could include things like relocating wiring, plumbing or air conditioning duct work — all of which could have an impact on costs. For specific pricing, it’s best to contact your elevator company.
Home elevator installation also varies widely according to the type of elevator you’re putting in and where inside the home you’re putting it. Depending on the type of elevator, installation could be as quick as two days or take a full week, since each type requires different levels of work. If your home elevator requires a shaft, pricing still depends on if you need a machine room, if your shaft is going to be hidden and where it’s going to be located. For example, it’s going to cost more to add an elevator to the side of your home than it is to install one where you have closets already.
Location also plays a role in the installation process, as some elevators require more space than others and are designed to be hidden or enclosed, resulting in more location restrictions. Regardless of where you plan to add your home elevator, accessibility should remain the top concern, and many professional elevator installers can help determine where the best place in your home is to put your specific type of elevator.
All of these features are typically factored into the total cost. Any inspection or permit costs are also usually included in the price of the elevator as well, but be sure to talk it over with your elevator company.
Potential Labor Costs
Labor costs for installation depend on the level of work professionals will be required to do, which depends on the type of elevator homeowners chose, location, if it needs a shaft and how many floors the elevator needs to climb. For example, shaftless elevators will be easier to install than those that have a shaft and machine room. Elevators with a shaft and machine room could require additional work to build a room for the cab and machinery and may even require cutting holes between your floors. Therefore, labor costs will be higher for these types of elevators. Most times, the total elevator cost includes installation costs. Installation can start around the mid-thousands and exceed tens of thousands of dollars in some cases. When it comes to labor pricing, however, it’s always the best idea to check with your specific company.
Other Costs to Keep in Mind
While the different types of elevators, labor and installation are all relevant costs to keep in mind, you must consider others, too. If you’re looking for more freedom when it comes to choosing the right elevator for your home, consider the costs associated with customization. Also, remember that where you live and the size of your home can influence cost, as well as additional maintenance to keep your elevator in its best possible condition.
1. Customization Options
If you want to ensure your residential elevator fits in with the rest of your décor and flows with your home’s aesthetic, take advantage of custom features for your elevator. Naturally, going fully or even partly custom will affect the cost to install a home elevator. Custom designs typically range in the tens of thousands of dollars but could reach $100,000 in some instances. At Residential Elevators, you can choose from various cab designs to create the cab of your dreams. Go for a simplistic style while still making the most of functionality or go with a beachy vibe and opt for a coastal cab design. Keep things traditional with a wooden cab — cherry or natural oak with stains like mahogany or dark walnut — or go for some natural light and sleek, vertical lines for a modern cab design.
Maybe you can’t choose a theme and want to incorporate very specific elements into the vision you have of your residential elevator in your mind. In this case, you can go fully custom and trust the experts at Residential Elevators to bring your design idea to life. Choose from eight different series:
- Classic series
- Estate series
- Modern farmhouse series
- Reserve series
- Shaker series
- Signature series
- Stainless series
- Vintage series
You also have up to 17 different handrail options, including brushed stainless, antique bronze and a variety of woods. There is also a large variety of cab materials, including different paneling, wood and stainless steel options.
Get the perfect lighting to contribute to your elevator ambiance when you choose one, two or four lights with silver, black or mirrored brass finishes.
There are also plenty of handrail options, from black and brushed bronze to mirrored stainless steel, as well as up to 22 different gate options with various scissor-style, accordion-style and automatic gates. You can even accessorize with things like glass full and half walls, full and half wall mirrors and more. With so many custom features to choose from, you can get the elevator you’ve been envisioning.
2. House Size and Location
The size of your home could also be an influencing cost factor when it comes to residential elevator installation. Plus, elevator installation costs may vary from state to state as some areas could charge more or require extra installation work, like electrical work or carpentry.
3. A Maintenance Contract
While your home elevator company should offer a warranty period with any residential elevator installation, what happens after this period expires and your elevator is due for maintenance? When considering what a home elevator costs, you need to keep maintenance costs in mind. Although your home elevator should last you for years to come, you must keep up with regular maintenance to keep your elevator in the best shape possible and to prevent any issues building up over time. Consider investing in a maintenance contract to cover these expenses after your warranty period is up.
At Residential Elevators, homeowners can choose from various elevator maintenance plan options to make the most of their hydraulic or traction elevator. With a silver plan, homeowners enjoy one complimentary annual preventative maintenance service call up to two hours long and half off all normal billing rates for replacement parts. With a gold plan, homeowners are entitled to two complimentary calls, 50% off replacement parts and 50% off labor for any additional service calls during the plan period.
The platinum plan, for those seeking the utmost protection, guarantees up to four complimentary service calls and covers all replacement parts and labor for each visit. Residential Elevators also offers a rental property plan, guaranteeing those with rental properties up to seven complimentary service calls and covers all labor and replacement parts on each visit. By signing up for a maintenance contract with well-trained elevator experts, you’re ensuring your elevator stays safe and functional, preventing steep repair costs down the line.
Add Value to Your Home With a Residential Elevator
While a home elevator is an investment, it pays for itself over time by adding value to your home. Home elevators add accessibility value for potential buyers who have health or mobility issues. Those who could greatly benefit from a residential elevator are likely to pay significantly more for the feature. Plus, home elevators are a great way to increase retirement value, as many people are looking for homes they can comfortably age in as they get older. While residential elevators are excellent investments for their functionality, homeowners are still drawn to their luxury and elegance even if they don’t necessarily need one, adding to a home’s design value.
At Residential Elevators, we’ve offered high-quality craftsmanship, a large selection of various options and affordable, straightforward pricing with full transparency for more than 20 years. See why more than 90% of homeowners say a residential elevator is worth the investment and contact us to get started on yours today.