Elevator Installation Cost

How much does it cost to install an elevator?

The costs associated with selling an existing home and relocating to a new home can be quite exorbitant, but this is a common solution for millions of people with mobility issues who can no longer manage the stairs in their home. Instead of leaving their home, however, they could opt for the installation of an elevator.

According to Jay Romano, in the New York Times, the average cost of a residential elevator installation is $15,000. This sort of elevator would be able to manage weights of 500 to 1,000 pounds and rise around 50 feet in total distance. It could rely on cables or hydraulics and would demand no more space than a larger closet on each floor of the residence. Home improvement expert, Bob Vila, agrees with such figures and points out that most models can easily accommodate the average wheelchair or motorized scooter too - indicating an interior size of 15 square feet.

Residential elevators can open on a single side or even three sides, they can be equipped with very basic fixtures or they can come with luxury interiors and even infrared sensors to detect the presence of a passenger in the cabin. Clearly this means that a single estimated figure for a project is impossible. So, for the purpose of this discussion we will consider the needs and costs of installing a 15 square foot hydraulic elevator of "average" design, in a pre-existing home, which would adhere to the average pricing of $15,000 to $16,000 for the project.

Cost breakdown

Clearly, the installation of a system such as a residential elevator is going to require the hiring of licensed and experienced professionals. There are residential elevator contractors selling and installing all major brands, and their work will include:

  • Installation of a custom elevator designed to meet the needs of the owner. For this discussion we have selected a 15 square foot model of "average" design, which would include:
    • A cab of 6-10" in height, a single incandescent light, hardwood handrails, and an integrated control panel with built in emergency lighting and telephone fixture;
    • Vinyl or hardwood accordion gate to serve as entry door; and
    • A hydraulic system that offered up to 950 pounds in capacity, a travel speed of 40 feet per minute, and an auto lowering emergency system.
  • Installation of electronic control systems for style selected; and
  • Components designed to meet or exceed National Safety Codes for Elevator Safety.

Additional considerations and costs

This means that the homeowner will have to hire an experienced and licensed building contractor to assist them in preparing for the installation. This will usually mean that the following activities are also a significant part of the process:

  • Construction of a vertical shaft approximately 45"x52" in size which will necessitate the use of an architect or a structural engineer to properly design;
  • Approval of design and project by local planning or building agency; and
  • Electrical and carpentry work to local building code;

Most elevator suppliers will make a list of required electrical equipment that must be in place before the installation will occur as well. This means that the homeowner or their general contractor will need to ensure that a licensed electrician (charging between $75 to $200 per hour) installs such traditional fixtures as:

  • Single 230 volt - 30 AMP fused disconnect for primary power supply;
  • Single 120 volt - 15 AMP fused disconnect or circuit breaker for cab lighting;
  • Single GFI outlet;
  • Single light fixture with wall switch; and
  • Phone line with "pigtail".

Once this preparatory work is done and approved the average elevator installation will require approximately three to five days to complete.

Typical costs

$15,000 - $16,000

(15 square foot hydraulic elevator)

Cost to install an elevator varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). Get free estimates from elevator contractors in your city.