Residential Elevator Suits Both New and Existing Homes


Not too long ago, an alarm system and a swimming pool were the ultimate expressions of luxurious living. Nowadays, however, amenities like these can be found in middle-class neighborhoods everywhere and are as commonplace in family homes as indoor plumbing. Today's accessory deluxe - a custom-built elevator.

Although elevators can be installed in an existing home, it is far more cost-effective to have your architect include them when drawing up the plans for your dream home. Of course, anyone building a house large enough to accommodate an elevator probably doesn't need to worry about a few thousand dollars, but an elevator can actually reduce building costs, as adding vertical space is less expensive than horizontal expansions, which increase foundation and roofing costs. Moreover, the installation raises the value of a home by an average of 10 percent, while adding only about 5 percent to the cost of a million-dollar residence.

Generally, cabs measure around 3-by-4 to 3-by-5 feet, as they are limited by national code to 15 square feet total. Building codes differ by locality, so it's imperative that architects and contractors are completely familiar with them and experienced in their applications. There are several types of drive systems to choose from, including roped-hydraulic, winding drum, vacuum or counter-weighted chain, some of which require building separate machine rooms. Since not all states allow all types of lift systems, it is especially important to be familiar with all phases of residential elevator installation before proceeding with construction.

Although the mechanics of a home elevator are strictly regulated, appearance and decor are limited only by one's imagination. The entrance doors can either become an unobtrusive part of the wall or make their own statement, the interiors can be paneled with any type of wood or covered with fabric, painted with murals, hung with artwork or finished in any number of other ways.

With older people becoming a rapidly increasing segment of the population, the demand for Home Lift is expected to increase exponentially over the next 10 to 15 years, expanding the resale market of these homes accordingly. But even without the prospect of profit, installing an elevator in your new home is both practical and affordable. As we get older, today's luxury becomes tomorrow's necessity, and the ability to move safely from floor to floor in a multi-story home is surely one of the greatest provisions we can make for our own futures.

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