Over the past several years, much has been done to address deck and stair safety issues, but we still have a long way to go. One glaring example of the failure in deck and stair safety protocol is the industry standard of permitting "hot dipped galvanized" anchors, screws, hangers and other hardware to be in direct contact with ACQ, pressure treated wood. The galvanic corrosion created between the high copper content of the wood and the galvanizing is so severe that the normal industry standard of G90 galvanizing will corrode in as little as 12 months and G185, such as Z-Max® can be gone in 24 months. The industry (including code officials) has adopted G185 as a fall back position with no engineering testing available to substantiate the validity or longevity of this adoption...this is a "knee jerk" reaction and is an accident waiting to happen. Without a barrier between the pressure treated wood and galvanized hardware, serious corrosion is inevitable.
Is there is a better way? Advances over the past several years has seen the introduction of many new stair technologies. One system that stands out is engineered, self-adjusting, stair brackets. This system makes stair construction easier, stronger and faster. Basic skill level requirements are all that is needed to build a perfect stair the first time. However, should you make a mistake, the brackets can be readjusted to reform the stair, eliminating the normal loss of stringers that is all too common in traditional stair construction.
Consider Installing it Yourself: This actually applies to both new and used stair lifts. Most stair lifts that are made for a straight staircase can be installed fairly quickly and using only normal household tools. Talk with the dealer about the installation process and look at the installation instructions. If it seems like something you feel comfortable doing, you can save money by doing the installation yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable though, don’t do it and instead have the dealer arrange the installation.
Compare Prices: Compare the price of a new stair lift and a used stair lift. If you purchase a rebuilt or refurbished stair lift, then likely the only difference will be the warranty and the price. Most new stair lifts are covered by very extensive warranties, but used stair lifts might only have a 6 months warranty. If the price difference is not too great, then it might be a good idea to pay a little extra to get the full 5 or 10 year warranty that most stair lifts come with. Make certain you contact the dealer if the length of the warranty of the used stair lift is not listed.
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