The Scary Reality of Installing a Stairlift Yourself

Halloween isn’t the only scary time of the year; we’ve seen first-hand how ‘DIY’ stairlift attempts can turn into real life horror stories.


2020 has been a strange and unpredictable year so it’s understandable that if you find yourself in the position where a stairlift is necessary for yourself or a loved one, you’d want to find a solution for the least possible money. It’s pretty easy to pick up a used stairlift so what’s the harm of trying to install one yourself? This is one of those occasions where technically you could, but it doesn’t mean you should. The British Health Care Association (BHTA) strongly recommend that you don’t attempt to install a stairlift yourself and Sykes Stairlifts strongly shares that same view.

With Halloween approaching we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share how installing your own stairlift without experience could turn in to a pretty scary experience. With 35 years of experience under our belts, we’ve seen more than our fair share of self-installation stairlifts that have gone wrong.


Safety should always be first and foremost when it comes to home adaptations. By their very nature, stairlifts are designed to make the stairs safer for more vulnerable individuals. By incorrectly installing one or buying one in an unknown condition, the potential for risk is increased no matter how well intentioned you are. There is already a risk when it comes to a vulnerable person using stairs, please don’t add to that risk unnecessarily. An experienced stairlift engineer will spot safety issues that an untrained person wouldn’t think of so it’s better left to the experts.

The Positioning
Starlift positioning is crucial, both at the top and bottom of the stairs. These contact points where the user gets on and off the stairlift should be specifically aligned so the user can safely turn their swivel seat or leave the chair lift with their feet firmly on the floor where it’s safe to do so. If a stairlift is incorrectly installed at the wrong position the risk of falling or injury is greatly increased.

The Fit
If you’re thinking of buying a stair lift second hand, it is extremely difficult to find one with a stairlift rail that will fit your staircase perfectly. A fitment that is anything other than perfect increases the risk of tripping hazards for the user and others.

Missing or Spare Parts
If you’re not familiar with stairlifts and you buy used, how do you know it’s complete and not missing parts? Even something as simple as a missing bolt or runner could render it either useless or dangerous to use. Furthermore, when it comes to servicing it or if any parts require replacement – how easy will they be to get?

When you buy a new or reconditioned stairlift from a reputable stairlift company you should receive a manufacturer or supplier warranty. This can work out more cost effective in the long run and offers valuable piece of mind that your equipment is safe and covered should any issues occur.

The Look
A stairlift can be a commitment, it’s something you’ll see every day and can alter the look of your living space. Installing a used one that doesn’t quite fit right isn’t going to look aesthetically pleasing. Having a modern, correctly sized and installed stairlift doesn’t have to detract from the look of your home.

There you have it, we hope we haven’t scared you too much, but we’ll let you decide if you think a used stairlift with a ‘DIY’ installation is worth it. You may be shocked to find out just how affordable our stairlift solutions are!

Happy Halloween from the whole team at Sykes Stairlifts – Stairlift experts based in Sheffield. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like any more information.