Elevator Cab Interior Remodeling Cost [A Simple Guide]

A Guide to Elevator Interior Renovations

Calculate cost for elevator interior remodeling.  The ultimate guide for elevator cab renovations. Everything you need to know.

Even if your elevators are reliable, you may not be satisfied with the elevator interior design.  As you consider upgrading the interior, you probably wonder what it would cost.  We built this guide to answer every question you might have, including cost and code.  If you’re thinking about remodeling your elevator interior, then this guide is perfect for you.

Let’s get started.

Elevator Interior Remodeling Cost 

The cost of a project is usually the best place to start.  Understanding your budget, and what it can buy, will help you lay out available options to make a decision.  Since we’ve already posted a guide on full elevator modernization costs, this post will focus on the elevator interiors only.

We built an elevator interior cost calculator to help you estimate the costs in your building.  Our calculator is free to use.

Free Elevator Interior Cost Calculator
Immediately check the cost for an interior upgrade in your building. 
Get Elevator Interior Cost Now

Types of Elevator Interior Upgrades

1. Pre- Manufactured Option:
Fortunately, most options for upgrading elevators come in pre-manufactured modular kits. The parts necessary to upgrade your elevator arrive at one time, and they are usually pre-marked to make installation quick and complete.  These “off the shelf” products help you save on material costs and labor costs.

This also means you will experience less downtime with the elevator. Your residents may be able to use the renovated elevator within a few days.  


2.Custom Option:
Many class A buildings install unique elevator interiors and select more expensive materials, some of which may need to be cut to size, which will increase the overall cost for the material.  Labor costs may also increase. A custom option allows for unlimited designs.

Elevator Ceiling Panels

If your existing ceiling is acceptable, then you could consider keeping what you have to save money.  Substantial material and labor costs are required to remove an existing ceiling and then install a new one.   Use our Elevator Interior Calculator to determine the estimated savings by keeping your ceiling.

If you decide to upgrade, passengers appreciate a well-lit elevator. It might make them feel safer while giving your elevator a  professional atmosphere. The ceiling you choose has a lot to do with the amount of light in the cab.

The elevator ceiling is available in materials ranging from stainless steel and aluminum to the more traditional panels sitting in a suspended ceiling frame. The type of ceiling you choose affects your choice of lighting systems. You will also want to select the best bulbs. The three options are incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs, or fluorescent bulbs.

Because the light bulbs in an elevator are on 24 hours a day, LED bulbs are a good solution for lighting. They produce the strongest light and are cost-effective. They also have a longer lifespan than the other types of bulbs. A set of quality LED lights could last you up to five years. That’s a long time between light bulb changes.

Elevator Interior Wall Panels

Panels in an elevator are like the paint on walls in a room. The color and pattern influence the passenger’s moods and demeanor. However, the walls in rooms don’t take a beating like the panels in an elevator.

Elevator wall panels are constantly being jostled with suitcases, briefcases, purses, boxes, carts and other objects.

Consider the primary use of your elevator. If it’s shared between tenants, repair technicians, clients, and delivery people, it’s going to take a beating. You may want to choose elevator interior finishes designed for plenty of hard use.

Elevator Pads

You need to protect the elevator wall panels in your cab.  The elevator interior should come equipped with a ledge to install hooks or a spot to install wall studs.  The studs or hooks are used to hang the pads.

If you don’t buy the pads from the elevator cab company, you can always purchase pads yourself.  This will save you money.

Elevator Handrails

Many people don’t think about the handrail; they think it’s something to lean against or balance packages on. An elevator handrail is a critical part of your elevator, and you should put thought into choosing the right one. Many elevator handrails must be removed to replace the panels.  If you’re going to replace the wall panels, you should consider replacing the handrail while it’s already removed. This will save you from having to pay twice if you decide to upgrade the handrail in the future. ​

Elevator Floors

A separate floor company usually handles floors.  Having a different company do this work will often cost less than specialized labor for elevator projects.

Elevator Interior Installation Process

You may not be too concerned with how the interior is installed.  However, labor will make up the majority of the total cost, so even a small understanding of the process might help you plan better.

The installation process for your new elevator interior is pretty straightforward. Usually, it’s done by a team of two to elevator technicians. The total time will depend on your situation and the upgrades you choose.
Typically, this is how the installation process works.

  • The mechanics from the installation company will remove the current interior of your elevator.  The handrail and ceiling may be through-bolted to the outside of the cab – which would require special hoistway access safely.  
  • After removal of the old interior, the installation team will install the corner reveals. These are the metal strips in the corners of your elevator.
  • The installers will then install the toe kicks. These are the groundwork for the rest of the panels on the walls of your elevator.
  • The panels will be installed from the ground up. They will be connected to the elevator wall by a system of hanger hardware and industrial strength adhesives. During the installation of your wall panels, the handrail will also be installed.
  • At this point, the installation team will hang protective sheets over the new elevator cab walls to protect them during the rest of the install.
  • The ceiling frame is assembled and centered inside the top of the cab. The lights will be wired to their power source, and then the ceiling is lifted into place.
  • The protective covering is removed and the installation is complete. ​

Code and Safety Considerations

Just like the mechanical aspect of an elevator, upgrading the interior requires unique materials, knowledge elevator code, and skills.  Knowing the cab interior safety code is essential.

You can find the actual elevator code here.  Here are the safety and code items to keep in mind.

1. Fire Rated Wall Panels, Ceilings, and Floors
Elevator code is different from building code.  Elevator code requires specific fire ratings for all materials inside the elevator cab.  Make sure all new materials meet the fire ratings. The code can be found in ASME A17.1 section 2.14.2

​2. Added or Subtracted Elevator Weight (Rebalance)
Your elevator was engineered and manufactured to operate specific weights and capacities.  A traction elevator is engineered with particular machine size and balanced with a counterweight.  A hydraulic elevator is designed with a valve and pump unit to raise and lower the elevator. If you change the weight too much, an engineer should be involved to make changes to accept the new weight.  This may include adding or subtracting counterweight plates to rebalance the elevator system.

So how much weight can you add or subtract?

According to elevator code, ASME A17.1 Section 8.7.2.15.2, you can’t change the weight by more than 5% of the existing elevator cab weight (empty cab) plus the total capacity of the elevator.  

If you change the weight by more than 5%, you should factor in additional costs to rebalance the elevator.

3. Elevator Interior Ventilation
Many people add walls that cover existing ventilation.  This code is easy; make sure you’re not covering any existing vents – most are located at floor level.  Ventilation is listed in the elevator code under ASME A17.1 Section 2.14.2.3.1.

4.Elevator Ceiling Lights
Elevator interiors require at least two lights, and the lights need to be bright enough – 5-foot candles.  Most people prefer a will lit elevator, so there should be a minimal concern here. However, it’s still important to keep in mind.  

Elevator code also requires an emergency light system to be in place.  You should double check with your installer, to make sure it’s included in the price for your new elevator ceiling panels.


5. Elevator Emergency Exits
When passengers get trapped in the elevator, they may need to use the emergency exit in the ceiling.  Make sure this emergency exit door is not covered with the new ceiling. Emergency exits are listed in the elevator code under  ASME A17.1 Section 2.14.1.5.

Additional Help

Upgrading the interior of your elevator is an involved process.  Finding elevator cab interior companies, at the best price, can be difficult.

ElevatorLab will provide the help and information you need to make informed decisions about all aspects of your elevators. We help you negotiate with the installers. We also help you navigate the often confusing world of regulations and codes for your area.  Our consultants are knowledgeable, experienced, and understand your situation.  

Conclusion

If you make improvements to your lobby, without improving your elevator, then you’re skipping one the most important parts of your building.

The elevator, like a lobby, is a functional room. How it looks and feels says a lot about your building, the management, and the owners.  

What are your thoughts on elevator interiors?  Comment below.

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