You might be surprised to learn that home accessibility in the United States is rare. While 13.7% of U.S. adults have a mobility disability–including 1.7 million people who use wheelchairs or scooters–only 9% live in accessible homes. Even so, there is good news: one-third of homes could be modified for wheelchair accessibility. This is one reason that many people choose to modify rather than move. In homes where steps, stairs, or other elevation changes pose a challenge, vertical platform lifts (VPL) can provide an important solution.
Vertical platform lifts (VPL) at a glance
Vertical platform lifts (VPL), also called porch lifts, provide vertical access with the push of a button. VPLs work via a lifting mechanism that raises people on a sturdy, flat platform up to 14 feet high. VPLs can be installed either indoors or outdoors to reach entrances, decks, porches, upper story rooms, and basements. VPLs are also relatively cost-effective, safe for use in all weather conditions, and useful when space is tight.
While options vary by product, all of our wheelchair lifts include the following features:
- ADA and ASME compliant
- 750-pound weight capacity
- Made in the USA or Canada
- Multiple sizes, many customizable
- Optional accessories
- Warranty coverage
Curious to know more? Read on to learn 5 ways a vertical platform lift (VPL) can make your life easier.
You can also get help right away by contacting your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We offer free in-home consultations to discuss your accessibility needs, identify potential safety issues, and recommend the best solutions.
“Would easily turn to Next Day Access again if we need mobility services…they were very transparent and made sure that we were involved and satisfied throughout the installations. Five stars all the way!”– Karl, Florida
Vertical platform lifts can save you space
Vertical platform lifts (VPL) offer vertical access in spaces too small for ramps. Consider the guidelines for ramp slopes from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA recommends a maximum slope ratio of 1:12, meaning every foot of rise should utilize a ramp at least twelve feet long. While this ratio provides a safe and usable solution for many, it also proves impractical for some. Space limitations based on yard size and height of an entrance or access point can eliminate ramps as a solution outdoors. Additionally, most interiors lack the necessary space to create multi-story access.
By comparison, VPLs can provide vertical access with a very small footprint. With a VPL platform as small as 32” by 42”, you can gain up to 14 feet of rise! The space saving benefits of VPLs extend beyond the barriers of ramps. In fact, many people prefer VPLs to ramps, even when given the choice. By taking up less space, VPLs can protect existing landscaping, walkways, and parking from coverage by lengthy ramp runs and turn platforms.
To determine the best options based on available space at your home, contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. During our free in-home consultation, we’ll evaluate the layout of your exterior or interior. You’ll gain helpful insight about installation recommendations and products best suited to your unique needs.
“The quality of work was excellent. We’re exceptionally satisfied with the services and found that it was exactly what we were looking for.”– Margaret, Iowa
VPLs can cost less
Vertical platform lifts (VPL) achieve cost savings for many people, compared with other options. VPLs serve as an affordable alternative to solutions such as lengthier ramp systems and in-home elevators; lifts also cost less than many renovation projects or moving costs. Consider the costs of alternative solutions to VPLs:
Complex ramp systems. As we mentioned earlier, ramp slopes should not exceed a 1:12 ratio. In the case of small rises–such as a single step from the walkway to the entrance–a ramp might be the more economical choice. However, costs increase quickly on properties with hills, multiple-step entries, or access points above ground level. Once rises exceed 30 inches, the ramp system will require multiple runs and platforms to maintain a safe and comfortable slope. The more complex the ramp system, the more expensive.
Home elevators. Home elevators and VPLs perform similar functions. Both are designed for vertical access to rooms on multiple levels or stories. Both are safe to use, easy to operate, and operate with a smaller footprint. Although elevators and lifts function similarly, elevators cost significantly more. The product itself can cost double or triple that of a VPL. Elevators also require extensive construction as part of installation, adding to the steep price. By contrast, VPLs can be installed with simpler modifications and provide affordability without sacrificing functionality.
Moving fees. People searching for a wheelchair-accessible home find steep competition with scarce options. In the United States, less than 1% of homes are wheelchair accessible. Even “livable” homes for people with moderate mobility impairments make up less than 4% of the market. According to Paul Moody of Pro Mover Reviews, costs to move a three-bedroom home range from $2,250 to over $10,000. These prices don’t include increased mortgage payments, down payments, closing costs, or other fees associated with buying a home. In some cases, moving will cost less money than modifications like VPLs. However, there are many cases in which installing a VPL will save money–not to mention the headache of moving.
Exterior modifications. In the United States, 68% of homes require the use of steps. If your home is one of them, you might opt to install an accessible entryway elsewhere. With the right factors, this expense might be more economical. However, there are plenty of situations in which exterior modifications can cost much more than a VPL. For example, walkout entrances can cost thousands of dollars due to excavation, foundation prep, labor, and door framing. This expense does not factor in any interior modifications required to make space for the walkout entrance or create accessibility to upper floors. By comparison, installing a VPL requires minimal disruption to your exterior and can utilize existing entrances.
Interior modifications. For wheelchair or scooter users who want to make their existing home accessible, the cost of interior modifications can quickly skyrocket. For instance, nearly one in four homes lacks a bathroom on the entry level. To build an accessible bathroom, costs can range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. Installing a VPL is much less expensive and maintains access to bathrooms on other levels of the home.
Want to know the cost of installing a VPL in your home? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a free in-home consultation. Pricing depends on a few factors including the location of installation and the product you choose. Our pros can help you to determine the best options for your needs and budget.
“The install was done efficiently and quickly and throughout the process, the team was helpful. Reasonably priced, quality product, and good service—can’t ask for more.”– Danielle, California
Vertical platform lifts can reduce stress
By installing a VPL, home can become a haven for wheelchair or scooter users instead of a source of stress. Research indicates that access is the most common disability-related stressor for wheelchair users. Specific to the Physical Disability Stress Scale, “access” relates to a person’s freedom of movement both inside and outside of the home. Over a third of respondents in a recent study self-reported stress due to inaccessible places that included stairs or other physically inaccessible features.
Yet for nearly 87% of wheelchair users, home is neither designated as ‘accessible’ or even ‘livable,’ according to the American Housing Survey. This means the vast majority of wheelchair users in the United States are living with the daily stress of inaccessibility within their own homes.
With such troubling data, one might wonder why people don’t move into accessible homes. The burden of moving is one reason among many. Moving is often ranked as one of life’s most stressful events on a list that includes death, divorce, and getting fired. Avoidance of stress is not the only reason people choose to remain in their homes. People also choose to adapt to their existing home in order to maintain a sense of independence, connection with neighbors, and financial stability. The loss of these supports rank as stressful in their own right, and can compound the stress of a move.
Because some of the most common barriers to accessibility at home involve steps, stairs, or other changes in elevation, VPLs are a great solution. VPLs restore access for wheelchair and scooter users and create a stable, sustainable, and low-stress living environment for years to come.
Wondering if a VPL is right for your home? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a free in-home consultation. We can take a look at the layout of your home and suggest modifications that reduce stress and improve your quality of living.
“Our local accessibility experts were very knowledgeable and thorough in the selection and installation of a vertical platform lift. Any questions or concerns were solved immediately.”– Candice, North Carolina
VPLs can expand accessibility
There are several ways that VPLs can expand accessibility in the home. In particular, VPLs offer more accessibility for wheelchair and scooter users. Where stair ramps require transfers and additional wheelchairs, VPLs create vertical access with weight capacity for both user and chair or scooter together. For all users, VPLs offer a contained space to carry additional items like walkers, canes, crutches–or anything else you’d want to bring from one level to the next including groceries, luggage, and delivery items. For this reason, VPLs offer more accessibility options than stair lifts.
Additionally, operating a VPL is straightforward and reliable. People with a diverse range of abilities can operate VPLs from Next Day Access using the following mechanisms:
Continuous pressure. For operation on the platform, all VPLs available through Next Day Access utilize continuous pressure methods including rocker switches, paddle switches, and up/down buttons. As the name suggests, users can move the VPL by applying continuous pressure in the desired direction. This method is accessible and safe for a wide range of abilities.
Remote control. Primary users or assistants can operate the VPL using a remote–or wireless–control. Remote controls can be handheld or installed alongside the platform for easy access. Note that this option is available only on select models.
Call/send controls. Call/send controls are hardwired and installed off of the platform. Primary users or assistants can operate the VPL by pressing a button either to “call” or “send” the platform between levels. Note that this option is available only on select models.
Do you want help identifying the best VPL for your needs? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a free in-home consultation. We can help you to expand accessibility at home and live life on your own terms.
“Thanks to Next Day Access I could resume access to all three levels of my home, go out to eat with neighbors, and surprise my mother on her 88th birthday. I will be forever thankful for this company’s professionalism and caring nature.”– James, Texas
Vertical platform lifts can support safety
By installing a VPL, you can enhance safety for yourself and others visiting your home. VPLs can serve as a powerful ally when navigating inclement weather, physical obstructions, and power failures. Below we’ll expand on these common ways that a VPL from Next Day Access can support your safety.
Inclement weather. With minimal maintenance, many VPLs can be operated safely in a variety of weather conditions. VPLs from Next Day Access include features like all-weather controls, specialized coating, as well as standard and add-on heating kits that improve functionality in extreme cold.
Injury prevention. All VPLs carry safety features to prevent injuries during operation. Safety gates and barriers automatically close during operation. Obstruction sensors can detect objects under the platform and signal the lift to stop. Emergency stop switches on the platform give users the power to halt operation quickly if necessary.
Power failures. People who use power chairs and scooters know how disruptive a loss of power can be. Fortunately, many VPLs contain backup battery power sources so you can maintain access even during a power outage.
It is very important to know that the safety of your VPL depends on choosing a trusted product and installation team. Your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access are trained and seasoned professionals. You can trust our team to offer the best options based on your particular environment, layout, and accessibility needs. We’ll also make sure you know how to maintain and operate your new VPL with confidence.
To get started, schedule an in-home consultation today with your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. Consultations are always 100% free!
“Next Day Access has been exceptional in every part of the process. Their prices and warranty are very competitive, but most importantly I have confidence with their service and professionalism. I know if I have any issues, I’m in good hands with Next Day Access.”– Randy, Maryland