Guide to Buying a Stairlift

featuring Dr Hilary Jones

A straightforward solution for straight stairs

12:00am & Tips and Advice

No two staircases are exactly the same, which is why every Acorn Stairlift is made to measure and fitted precisely to the unique dimensions of your stairs.

But here in the UK there is at least what we could call a ‘standard staircase’. A simple straight flight of wooden stairs, typically comprising 12 or 13 ‘risers’, or steps, is found in more British homes than any other type.

The reason why is obvious when you think about it ­– there is no simpler way to bridge the gap between two floors in a property. A straight staircase is the easiest and the cheapest type to manufacture, especially in the days when most things were made by hand, without modern machinery turning out standardised products.

Even before modern building regulations were widely enforced, most housebuilders worked to generally accepted principles, such as the height of rooms between floor and ceiling. That in turn gave a more-or-less set distance between ground and first floor, which usually meant around 13 steps to get from one to the other. Again, the height and depth of steps was determined by what was most comfortable to use, long before ‘building regs’ fixed the dimensions more precisely.

The result is that the 13-step straight staircase is the UK’s favourite, especially in the terraced housing which still accounts for the bulk of the country’s housing stock. Properties of a more distinctive or unique design, or those built at greater expense, could often differ from the norm. A curved or return staircase was harder and costlier to build and so could be an architectural feature of a more expensive property, even a status symbol.

Modern ‘new-build’ properties might also abandon the simple straight staircase for a variety of reasons. One is to add ‘character’ or a hint of ‘status’, although modern joinery production using computer-controlled machinery means ‘non-standard’ staircases are no longer expensive hand-crafted items. Another reason is that room sizes tend to be smaller in modern properties, so a different staircase design might be needed to maximise space.

But the good old-fashioned 13-step straight staircase remains the ‘plain white loaf’ of British staircases, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If the day comes when your stairs become an obstacle which you need help to overcome, you’ll be glad of your ‘standard staircase’.

Because just as this was the simplest staircase to build and install, it is the simplest to fit a stairlift to. Here at Acorn, we can supply a custom-made British-built stairlift to suit virtually any staircase. Our unique FastTrack® system for curved stairlift rails means our skilled engineers can assemble a bespoke curved rail on even the most eccentric and unique staircase in just a few hours.

But complexity inevitably increases the processes to design and manufacture such a stairlift, the number of components it requires and the time to install it. In short, a distinctive curved or return staircase can be conquered with a bespoke Acorn Stairlift, but it will necessarily cost more.

Conversely, we manufacture, sell, install and service more straight stairlifts than anything else –literally hundreds of thousands since Acorn was established in 1992. A straight staircase needs a straight stairlift rail – nothing complex about that. They are manufactured in our Yorkshire factory to the exact length required for each staircase, and fitted to the stairs, not the wall, so there is no need for messy structural work or redecorating.

An Acorn 130 straight stairlift can be installed in around an hour and fitted within days of your initial inquiry with us, even next day if urgency is paramount. Some minor modifications may be needed to suit your stairs, for example, if there is a stairwell at the top, but again these are commonplace and easily achieved.

One of the most popular options is a short hinged rail section at the foot of the stairs. This allows the bottom part of the rail to be lifted up out of the way when the stairlift is not in use, perfect for situations where it might otherwise cause a trip hazard or obstruct a doorway. The footrest, seat and armrests of all Acorn Stairlifts can also be folded up, making them ideal for narrow staircases.

The Acorn 130 is a straightforward solution for straight staircases, and because we build and supply so many and sell direct to the consumer, it is also extremely cost-effective. If you’re considering a stairlift for your straight stairs, give us a call on 0800 016 9760 to book your free, no-obligation home survey and quote. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the exceptional value for money that an Acorn 130 straight stairlift offers. Especially as an investment in staying safe on the stairs continuing to live independently in the home you love.

« Back to News Index

The Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation

We are proud to be the very FIRST stairlift company to earn the Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation. It is yet another effort that continues to prove that Acorn Stairlifts is a pioneer in the industry, always striving to stay ahead of the game, and to help our customers by providing the absolute best solution for their needs.

Arthritis Foundation logo