Can You Install a Home Elevator in an Existing Home?

If your home did not come with an elevator, you may wonder whether you can get one installed. Is it possible to add a home elevator when the space did not account for this upgrade? How much work will it take to incorporate a home elevator into your property? And how can you get started on the process?

At Inclinator, we’ve installed many home elevators in homes that did not have any to start. Whether you want an elevator to help you to age in place or have current mobility issues that demand a new way to get from floor to floor, we can assist you. Here’s what you need to know about installing a new elevator in your home.

Where Can a Retrofit Home Elevator Be Installed?


Many new homes built in the 1990s or later have hoistways built into them, which allows for easy retrofitting of a new elevator. Architects in the ’90s began noting the rise in popularity of home elevators. Often this deign element means stacked closets, or a closet on one floor and another on the next floor exactly on top of the first. A second possibility is a small pantry on one floor, with a small office located on top. Basically, it’s two non-essential places on top of one another.

Don’t have a hoistway such as this? You may still have the space for an elevator. You need about 25 square feet of completely clear space on each floor, one located right above the other. You’ll add a new “room” at each level of the home, so you require space to spare.

In addition to having enough room, you’ll also need to check on other elements elevators require as well, such as:

  • Overhead clearance: Depending on what model you choose, you’ll need a minimum of about 102 inches of clearance, though some models require up to 117. Remember, the overhead clearance will sit 22 inches above the cab.
  • Pit: The pit for the elevator, which holds the cab when it comes down to the bottom floor, must be a minimum of 12 inches in most cases, though you can find ones that measure 8 inches.
  • Power: Home elevators run on a strong supply of electricity. You must ensure you have enough to keep the elevator functioning before getting an elevator installed. Speak to your elevator installation company about which requirements you have to follow.

How long will it take to get your new home elevator after you’ve addressed all these issues in your home? Custom-ordering your elevator should result in a manufacturing time of about eight weeks. When you have a hoistway site already installed, it can take as little as three days to install a new elevator.

We recommend contacting your insurance company to inform it of the change. A residential elevator will boost the “replacement value” of your home, or the amount that the insurance company has to pay in the event that your home is destroyed. You want to make sure you’d be properly compensated for such a catastrophe.

Do I Need Space for a Machine Room?


Machine rooms provide an easy-to-access space for the components that make your elevator run. They make it easier for repair people to access the parts of the elevator and make repairs. This convenience leads many people who are building homes with residential elevators to choose to have a machine room built into those plans.

These rooms are not, however, necessary. You can get an elevator that does not require a machine room. Some models come without a machine room. Look for the “MRL” designation, which stands for “machine roomless.” Our MRL Overhead Cable Drum Drive System does not have a machine room, which can save space in houses with limited room. Our other cable drum model, as well as our hydraulic model, do require a machine room. Personal preference and space are the two biggest factors in this decision.

Of course, safety will be the main priority for you when you get a home elevator installed. You want to keep your loved ones safe and ensure everyone uses the elevator without harm. Institute safety measures such as teaching children how to properly operate the elevator or setting limits on usage.

Installing a home elevator will raise the resale value of your home. People who want to age in place or have mobility issues often seek out homes with elevators, which increases the marketability of their house as well.

Are you ready to install a home elevator in your residence or learn more about your options? If so, we can help. We’ve been in the business for decades and have assisted many people with getting an elevator that meets their goals. Contact us by filling out our online form or calling 800-343-9007.