Going Up

Custom garage storage systems have become popular in recent years, but wall cabinets and racks are not always suited for off-season clothing, holiday decorations, luggage and other bulky and sporadically used items.

The answer — and a potential add-on for remodelers who address the garage storage specialty market — could be the SpaceLift 5000, an alternative to dumbwaiters that raises and lowers up to 100 lbs. per trip on a platform using four aviation-quality cables. The low-profile design mounts between joists and requires only a 22 1/2- by 54-in. opening.

SpaceLift Products Inc., the Redondo Beach, Calif., company that introduced the SpaceLift 5000 at the Pacific Coast Builders show in 2012, has a network of dealers around the country, but installation can be achieved by a contractor with basic carpentry skills. Electrical connections to the device’s motor and wall-mounted control panel are required.

“It’s really a question of cutting and framing the opening and inserting the unit into that, like framing out a window or a door in a home,” says Ralph Cissne, vice president of sales and marketing. You put in a mounting strip on each of the two short sides and you lower the unit down on top. It doesn’t even need to be bolted into place.”

The required opening matches that of a typical drop-down attic ladder, and in fact, the lifting device can be installed on either side of the existing ladder. When installed, the low-profile platform is flush with the attic floor to make loading and unloading easy. Placement is also influenced by the space between the attic floor and roof joints. Enough room should be allowed to accommodate items stacked on the platform. In addition, the attic floor should be finished.

Sensors in the lift stop operation if any contact is made in either direction or if excessive weight is detected. The SpaceLift 5000 has a 100-lb. limit, but the company has plans for a unit with greater carrying capacity.