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Stairlifts For Narrow Staircases

Acorn T700 Straight Stairlift With Folding Hinge Rail

Believe it or not, under UK building regulations there is no minimum width for domestic staircases. Disabled access and direct fire escapes have rules on width, but unless your property has been built for disabled access there is no guarantee that your staircase will be wide enough for a stairlift.

Properties built after 2010 generally have a minimum of 800mm clearance which is usually wide enough, depending on the user, which we will expand on later.

What if you live in an older property?

One of the most frequently asked questions asked by those that live in smaller or older houses is whether or not their staircase will be wide enough to fit a stairlift.

Minimum width for a stairlift

As a rule of thumb, a straight staircase would need to be at least 750mm (~29.5 inches) wide. If the staircase is curved the minimum width will increase to 850mm (~33.5 inches).

Those of you with staircases narrower than this need not worry, technology has come a long way over the years and there is likely a solution for you.

Stairlifts can be fitted to almost any width staircase, there are just less manufacturers to choose from, and there are usually higher costs involved.

Since stairlift manufactures became aware of the problem they’ve been engineering some pretty ingenious solutions.

So, what is the problem?

When sitting in a seated position, side-on to a staircase, the distance between your spine and knee or feet may exceed the width of your staircase, once the width of the stairlift is factored in.

Potential Solutions

Compact designs and folding parts maximise space and efficiency. Folding armrests and seats, a folding footplate and a slim rail enable compact stairlifts to be neatly folded away when not in use, ideal for both the user and other members of the household who will be able to use the stairs as normal.

Whilst it’s great to know that some slimline stairlifts can fold away nice and neatly to assist other stair users, this isn’t dealing with the concern of how a stairlift-in-use can navigate up and down narrow staircases.

What If your spine-to-knee (or spine-to-toe if you can’t tuck your feet back further than your knees protrude when sitting down) measure more than the width of your staircase?


If you’re able to sit on a higher seat, perched slightly on the edge, your knees would not protrude out as far!

However, it does rely on you being able to comfortably sit/perch in this position for the duration of the chair lift journey. If that’s something you’re able to do you will have choice available to you from different stairlift manufacturers as some provide a perch seat option.

Whatever your fears or concerns there is likely to be a solution to suit your needs and your staircase! Contact Trent Stairlifts today for advice on the best stairlift for your property in Nottingham today – 0115 8087 383