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STILTZ Elevator Installation - 2016


Date:  2016  8  1

Dog Bing Bing inspects
the plan on the screens
OKs the elevator project...

Bing Bing




There  is  a window-style  air conditioner (right),  Friedrich,  inside of this utility  closet. It's  got  to  go.
The  utility closet under the stairs will have to go.   It's going  to become  the  elevator  entrance.
Preview: See the "after" picture.

 1      Work begins in earnest -

2016  9  19  Work begins in earnest -

There used to be a utility closet / storage shed...

... and here used to be a window-type air conditioner inside the utility closet.

... now, with the utility closet & its enclosed air-conditioner out of the way, there's a hole in the wall now.  The elevator entrance will be here and things can now begin in earnest. (It's unusual to have an air conditioner protrude into a utility closet, but that's how it was here.)

 But first Daniel and Carlos will need install a plastic dust barrier in the room downstairs; then the real work can begin.


This is the layout downstairs.
The elevator will encroach on the downstairs living room.
You can see it (yellow) enclosed in its downstairs elevator shaft.
There will also be some new shelves (yellow).


Let's bite the bullet and write a down payment to STILTZ' installer, Western Stair Lifts, to get things going!

Eighty-three (83) days later, I was able  to write  the final check.
Everything to be done by STILTZ had been accomplished.
Total cost of elevator plus construction was $47,107.



 Daniel and Carlos installed a plastic dust barrier downstairs.

This is where it's going to happen, the building of the elevator shaft -- in the downstairs living room. 

With a plastic curtain, the team corralled the dust and muck from the rest of the downstairs dwelling.





The layout... thinking. It's the biggest part of the project.


    As seen from the downstairs living room, the sheet rock is now gone from the wall where the air conditioner was.  That's where the new elevator entrance will be.  Daniel is concentrating on the layout.  Stiltz provided some plywood templates to help with that laying-out-procedure.

The utility closet under the outside stairs has been removed and a space has been cut out for the elevator entrance.

The entrance to the elevator is going to be here, under the stairs.
There's a temporary "door".

                                 Through Daniel's head, in this view, is a stair step.

He'll bump his head. That's gotta change - the stairs will have to be reconfigured -

- - - Click images to enlarge




Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

 Before     Work in progress ...

There's a toe-trip on the walkway.  Not good for wheel chair access!
That thing needs to go...

 After    Finished.

...That thing went.



There needs to be an elevator pit -


Cutting the concrete for the elevator pit.
It's not very deep.
(We don't want a step up to enter the thing.)

There is to be a shallow pit underneath the building to allow level entrance.

The pit's precursor:  an unpleasant surprise.
There's an air duct underneath, for Christ's sake!


We'd hoped that this wouldn't happen.



That air-duct needs to be taken care of. Daniel needs to go deeper
to re-route it.  (
Note that the door will have a "corner missing" on
top. That's because of the stairs outside.)

We're going deep to re-route that air-duct.
It looks like we'll need about one cubic yard of cement.



  Orca~Ann (Jowles)  2000 - 2015     


Orca~Ann (Jowles)  wanted  to  be  interred  here.
I promised.    This is the sarcophagus for her ashes.   


Orca going under...


This will be the elevator's pit to allow level entry.


 1     The woodwork -

The woodwork -

Daniel Carpenter of ESK Quality Remodeling LLC
designed and is now building an elevator shaft downstairs.






  This is what it looks like downstairs.
Two-by-tens are in place & the elevator entrance has been roughed out.
Two-by-fours for the shaft walls are in place now.
The ceiling (the upstairs floor) hasn't been opened yet;  there are a lot of nails and screws in it).


2016  10  17

First Light!  This spot marks  
one corner of where a hole is about to be cut in the upstairs floor.  Daniel Carpenter of is drilling up from downstairs.



STILTZ provided a plywood template for the opening through which the elevator will travel. Daniel uses it to cut a hole in the upstairs floor.




   Daniel saws the opening for the elevator, upstairs.

Everything's gotta be measured just right!

Carlos catches the sawdust.




Daniel discovered a telephone cable under the bamboo floor!
It's held aside while he continues cutting corners of the hole.



A hole is roughed out on the upstairs floor. Carlos temporarily assembled the removed bamboo flooring (left) from the hole, onto the STILTZ -provided traveling platform, which will later become the top of the elevator - and it will become a part of the upstairs floor.


Daniel and the kids are working with the fellows from Western Stair Lifts.




 It's a family affair:  Daniel and the kids working hard...


This  circuit  activates a  buzzer to open  a door  and turns on a light if the door is ajar. A solenoid / buzzer opens the downstairs outside door. It's activated by Sw-1, upstairs.  A magnetic reed switch, Sw-2, illuminates an LED upstairs if the downstairs outside door is open.



  Link    Make your own GARAGE DOOR INDICATOR LIGHT - No transformer!

  A blue LED - added to the housing of the switch that opens the door.


The blue LED was mounted inside the switch housing; it illuminates when the downstairs door is left open. (Sw-2 in the diagram.)

A junction box in the ceiling (downstairs)
where  all  the  wiring  comes  together.



Upstairs, Sw-1 can buzz the door open.
(A red LED  wasn't visible during
the day but it was pretty at night.)


  Downstairs, A magnetic reed Sw-2, illuminates the blue LED
      when the door is not closed.


2016  10  19

It's time for the drywall today!  Tomorrow Stiltz and Western Stair Lifts will arrive to install the elevator.


The pit has its braces removed;  it's ready for the elevator tomorrow.
Note, at left and right, the indentations for the elevator support beams.

Daniel applies sheet rock to the elevator shaft.  It's insulated.

2016  10  20     The day of the installation.
                          Henk van den Ende  of
Stiltz came and so did some people form Western Stair Lifts -

The day of the Installation, the workers arrived bright and early AM. First they unloaded the support pillars of the elevators.  The fellow in the red jacket is Preston Hill of Western Stair Lifts.

Upstairs, a hole is awaiting. Daniel Carpenter of ESK Remodeling
made that and all the other things.
  Link  ESK also made this bathroom.

The hole from below. The 2x10s support the elevator lid. There's a
temporary spacer to assure that the support beams are at the right
distance form each other.  Jesus looks on from above, thank god.

Looking up the elevator shaft.

Looking down from upstairs.

Getting ready to hoist the control panel and motor up in preparation
for attaching the elevator cab underneath.

Unshackling the chains whereby this thing hoisted itself upstairs.

It's temporarily supported over the abyss by 2x4s underneath.

For now, a wired control can make the thing go up and down.

Meanwhile, downstairs, the elevator cab is assembled.

The sides of the cab are riveted onto the frame.  Stiltz's Henk van den Ende is showing the people form Western Stair Lifts how it's done.  I'm told that this is STILTZ'S first installation in our state.

There  are  two 
remote controls.





The underside of the elevator cab before its skirt is attached.


The elevator is made in the UK.  Its motor is from Germany.


Let's try this thing now... It works!
Just now, the cab disappeared to the floor below.
Qian-Qian, Daniel and Henk look on.  Qian-Qian is very excited.
Tomorrow Stiltz will complete the installation.



Inside Cab Dimensions

With:   31 in.
Depth: 42 in. (door to door)
Height: 76 3/8 in.


Stiltz TRIO -- Capacity 2 People.


Upstairs, minimal rearrangement: before and after -

2016  10 
11 ... before.

2016  11 ...after --  with new bamboo flooring.

   2016  10  26


Meanwhile more things need to be done downstairs: The outside stairs and the entry.  Daniel is readjusting the stairs -- He's going to raise the corner landing platform up one step to allow for better headroom at the elevator entrance below.

The "Utah" door.  It's shaped like the map of Utah.  Above, metal cladding is being applied -- we want to make it look a bit like a real elevator door. There's going to be an electric door release here...



 ... and there's a doorbell downstairs.
It's wireless and it doesn't need a battery!
From Amazon.

  Goop is starting to be applied to the entrance floor;  it's going up the siding a bit.

The entrance is finished. This is what it looks like after Daniel hung the door and applied the  gray goop to the floor.


2016  11  14

 The elevator's cover plate gets some bamboo flooring, glued and screwed on from underneath.


To recapitulate -



This is what the outside looked like before we started & what it looks like now, after the project is finished.



Downstairs:  before & after -

Once upon a time there was an air conditioner in the wall downstairs; QQ & Sandy celebrate because the apartment cleaning is finished.





Now QQ is excited because the elevator shaft is finished.
There  are  now  some  new shelves.   Bing Bing looks on.


  2016  11  7


 This (blue arrow) shows the location of the switch to flip if you want to
    override a door interlock ( I removed one door).

 Preston of Western Stair Lifts returned to correct some conduit
    routing of the 220v  power line.






    2016 11 7
The dust cover under the flooring...
it arrived a bit late because it had been damaged in sipping, but now it's here.


Here's one thing STILTZ doesn't provide - A kick plate. 
That nice Berber carpet goes from ceiling to floor. 
It's going to get dirty and needs a kick plate to protect it. 
I bought an acrylic thing from Amazon.

STILTZ video:  Door electrical connection. (More STILTZ videos.)
How to do without one or more doors of your elevator.
I did that; I removed this (downstairs entrance) door from my elevator.



Get it on Amazon


Kick Plate



Door Lock




Door Latch



Door Bell



Door Grab Bar



A Review:
Digital Distance


It's a Beautiful Machine

I've searched a long time for an elevator.  I'd contacted many vendors / manufacturers.

I started looking in 2012 and went to several places to see their installations.  The next summer, Lowry Foster of Nationwide Lifts gave me a demonstration of an installation in Loveland, Colorado. (Unfortunately we got stuck mid-floor in this Savaria V-1054 lift during the demo.)   The same year, Paolo Restaino of Domus Lift flew here from Milan, Italy, to take look at my elevator needs, offering to sell me one for around $16,500, sans installation.   In 2014 I visited a Savaria installation, an outdoor unit, in Salt Lake City, UT.   (Again, my wife and I got trapped inside! A kind passerby opened the door for us from the outside.)  In 2016 I was shown a STILTZ elevator on the internet and I immediately gravitated to it.

I'd visited many places to check out various lift installations:  Loveland CO, San Diego CA, Salt Lake City UT, Provo UT and I went to the NAEC convention in San Antonio, Texas:

Although my TRIO model  seemed a bit smaller [~ 14ft2] than the Savaria units I saw, it seemed to fit the bill and so I bought it.  My STILTZ TRIO is much quieter in operation than every other home lift I'd investigated; it travels abut 50% faster and uses less electrical power than most of the other units I saw. Maybe that's because it's a bit lighter. It's solid, not tinny.  I'm very pleased with my unit.  This web blog shows a video of its operation as well as photos made during its installation and the construction of a custom elevator shaft with entrance from the outside.

Click / tap to enlarge

The remote control - The remote controls seems less solid solid than the one for your TV. They use AAA batteries, instead of the more substantial AA ones.

The range is extensive; I've activated my elevator from across the street, half way down the block. They're not Wi-Fi, which in my opinion is a good thing, and their radio transmission are keyed to one particular elevator.

To mate a remote, one removes the access panel over the elevator door (two screws, inside, above the front door).  On the elevator wall (right) is a plastic housing labeled REMOTE RECEIVER. Insert a small screw driver into the hole (arrow) of the plastic housing cover. Depress the switch underneath and simultaneously depress the UP button on the remote control.  That's it - the remote is now paired with the elevator.

I try to be accurate in showing everything and if there are any mistakes or omission I welcome the reader to contact me and I'll ask the web guy to fix it.


Design & Improvements

The overall idea, concept, construction and design are  excellent, I think. Some aspects seem a little old-school; others might be done differently.  For example

Kick plate - It's wall-to-floor carpet on all sides.  That's nice, but the bottom of the carpet is going to get dirty.  Buy a kick-pate!

The safety stop -  the safety feature (it works!) on the bottom surface of the cab, which stops the elevator if it meets an obstruction, could be modernized say, with redundant radar, sonar or laser  as is used here, or the auto-focus technology of today's cameras. I think it would be quite cheap to implement something like this. As is, some of the design aspects seem a bit dated. For instance, the STILTZ design has a cloth "skirt" at the bottom, under-floor of the cab, in which mechanical things and limit switches are housed.  This skirt adds about 10cm or so to the overall height of the cab.  Because of this skirt, one can't enter the cab without a slight step up.  Electronic sensors might eliminate a need for this skirt.  (In my installation, I wanted a level, wheel chair accessible entry.  Thus I had to spend a nice chunk of money to cut a hole downstairs in the concrete floor where cement was poured in order to make a pit to allow level entrance.)

The light curtain - Its placement is inside door frame of the elevator.  When, say, an elbow protrudes, the elevator comes to a halt. In  operation, this happens often when two people occupy the cab. It's irritating and a nave user shouldn't have to worry about this.  If this full length, top-to-bottom light curtain had been installed near the outside surface of the elevator cab, we'd have almost two more inches of elbowroom in the cab.  A misplaced toe or pants cuff shouldn't cause a full stop!  And the dog wouldn't bring the thing to a halt when she presses her snout against the glass of one of the two cab doors.

The 'no-noise' - This elevator is the quietest home elevator I've investigated.  But - it makes an awful clunking racket when -- on its way up -- the top of the cab meets the floor cutout, the elevator's cover piece.  This piece continues to travel up further with the cab.  There are are six posts at the top of the cab which simultaneously make contact with the floor cutout as the elevator climbs.  The solution to diminish this noise is to put a small felt pad atop of these posts (or stick them onto the bottom of the floor piece).  STILTZ does not provide such felt pads.  It makes a world of difference

Here's one thing STILTZ could provide - padding.
STILTZ provides several sets of springs of various strengths, which one can use to choose the pressure level at which a weight atop of the floor piece triggers an auto-halt function of a rising elevator.  We chose to replace the black, default springs with the yellow, medium strong springs.

Click / tap to enlarge



My STILTZ representative -
National Dealer Sales Manager at Stiltz Home Lifts.



My STILTZ representative -
Madeline Cassino
Sales lead coordinator for Stiltz Home Lifts.




 Letters -

From: Peter  ****<ON FILE>
Subject: +++ STILTZ TRIO Elevator - Comments +++
Date: May 12, 2017 at 9:56:50 AM MDT

Thanks for the blog. Two questions.

How deep (shallow) does the pit have to be to make it level?

I can't get my head around why the floor cover does not impact the second floor ceiling. If the lift has to rise 8' plus the depth of the floor, say 1', that is more than the height of the room above. What am I missing?


From: Mike  ****<ON FILE>
Subject: +++ STILTZ TRIO Elevator - comments +++
Date: February 12, 2018 at 3:27:31 PM MST

Just a thank you for the site. I've been looking into Stiltz, and it was great to see a detailed account of your experience and installation.

I was a bit shocked by the $47k total cost, but it appears you had some curve balls thrown at you. What do you estimate cost would be if installing in new construction, and all the site work has been taken into consideration?

Thanks again.




*** UPDATE 2017***
 It's about six months now since since the STILTZ elevator was installed, and overall, I'm quite happy with it. 

 A deficiency:  When 2 or 3 people are in the elevator, many times the cab can twist just enough  (because it's made of light weight metal - and that's good!) because the weight of occupants is not distributed evenly on the cab floor. That twisting of the cab floor can cause the elevator door to register as open, even though the door appears to be closed.  I mentioned this problem in email to my local STILTZ representative / installers (Western Stair Lifts - they said that they'd report it to STILTZ) and I've not received an answer after having waited for many months.  For example, when 2 people are in the elevator, the cab floor can twist just enough to prevent the elevator door from closing.  When this happens, it's obvious (now, with experience) that passengers must attempt to reshuffle their positions in the cab -- to rearrange so as to shift their weight on the floor in order to circumvent this problem.  It's a pain and it's embarrassing when one has visitors. Some months ago, Western Stair Lifts told me -- in response to my complaint about this -- that they would mention this problem to STILTZ but as of APR-2017 I have not been contacted concerning this problem.

*** UPDATE 2018***

The remote control's radio receiver in the elevator relies on the elevator's battery in order to function.  It seems that this is a DESIGN ERROR.  The remote control receiver in the elevator should be powered by The MAINS supply, in my opinion.  This has caused several malfunctions so far.

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