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Elevators offer the most convenience when ascending or desending mutliple levels of the home. There are 2 construction requirements and methods of installation, which are: elevators that require the contruction of a hoistway and elevators that do not require a hoistway.
ELEVATORS THAT REQUIRE A HOIST WAY
The most popular elevator appears as if it is a closet. The difference is when you open the door there is an elevator inside.
This type of elevator occupies about 5 x 5 feet if space. One of the walls of the hoist way needs to be load bearing to support the weight of the elevator and its occupants/contents. All exterior walls are load bearing, some interior walls are load bearing. The challenge with an elevator installation in an existing home is having the 5 x 5 feet of space available as well as having the enter and exits on each level of the home lining up in a logical manner.
For example: It would not be desirable for the rider to be required to enter or exit the elevator from a bedroom. In most cases in existing homes the most desirable solution in providing elevator access is the construction of a hoist way on the exterior of the house.
ELEVATORS THAT DON’T REQUIRE A HOISTWAY
The most cost effective elevator solution is installation of an elevator that does not require a hoistway. However, it does require a load bearing wall and will access a maximum of 2 levels. Unlike an elevator that is installed in a hoist way which conceals the elevator cab, this elevator cab is exposed on the level in which it was parked.