Your Complete Guide to Elevator Renovations

SnapCab Elevator at RWJ with dark brown wood interior - Elevator Page Slider 3

If you think elevators are just a way to get from point A to point B while avoiding those laborious stairs, think again.

Elevators serve as a portal for your building’s or office’s guests. They hold a transportive quality as much as a transportation one, created to complement and enhance the overall design of your space.

In fact, a commercial elevator’s branding potential is one of the reasons organizations turn to renovations. With the goal to design and install a more modern, complete and representative cab, companies search elevator cab interior companies to service their needs and execute their vision.

Learn the ins and outs of the elevator cab remodeling process, from measuring pieces and picking interior panel designs to installing and maintaining the final modular system with this end-to-end elevator renovation guide.

Why Renovate Elevator Cab Interiors?

Commercial elevator interiors undergo remodels for several reasons:

  • Because a new company or organization moved in: Businesses moving into office space for the first time seek modern office design ideas to put their mark on the space. One of the best ways to achieve that spatial signature early on is through unique, custom elevator panels, walls and ceilings designed exclusively for that company.
  • Because a business has rebranded: Organizations may have recently tweaked their logos, color schemes, or any other visuals associated with its name. These branding changes should be reflected throughout the office. Walls might be repainted, furniture replaced, and artwork swapped for newer, brand-enhancing patterns and templates. Remodeling all elevator interiors adds a finishing touch to the physical rebrand, ensuring every corner of the office represents the new look.
  • Because a company is making overall renovations: Larger-scale office or business renovations often introduce the option to enhance current architectural features alongside new or expanded spaces. Elevator cab renovations are a particularly cost-effective add-on to overall building renovations, costing a fraction of what other improvements do yet reflecting the wider change.
  • Because of compliance concerns: Elevator interiors are subject to a range of building codes. Specifically, elevators need to adhere to spatial, materials, ADA, and mandates such as meeting local fire codes and weight-capacity limits. If a current elevator isn’t up to compliance statutes, a renovation is in order.
  • Because it’s time for something new: With or without additional renovations occurring, elevators can be a blank template for organizations to imprint a little personality and flair. Elevator cabs help differentiate your space from others, all while maintaining their core transportation function.

How Much Does Elevator Remodeling Cost?

Overall, elevator interior refurbishment tends to come in two forms — individual panel replacement or complete renovation. Depending on the type of elevator renovations conducted, costs will vary.

  • Elevator panel replacement costs: Most elevator interiors are made up of three parts — the wall panels, ceiling panels and elevator floor. Walls panels are especially susceptible to damage over time, either from natural wear and tear or from aggravated acts, such as vandalism. When this is the case, businesses may opt for an individual or a handful of panel replacements rather than redoing the entire elevator interior. SnapCab, an elevator cab company, produces their elevator systems from an interlocking modular design. This means that if the need for replacement panels strikes, organizations quite literally “pop out” the damaged wall panel and “pop in” the new one.
  • Complete elevator cab renovation cost: A complete cab renovation will be more expensive than wall, floor, or ceiling panel replacements. The exact quote will depend primarily on the size of the elevator, its capacity and the materials used, plus the number of customizations and any additional servicing the client requests.

For more information on elevator interior remodeling costs and pricing structures, visit SnapCab’s Request-a-Quote portal.

How to Renovate an Elevator

Regardless of the motive, breathe new life into your organization’s elevator interiors by following these core design, preparation and installation remodeling steps.

1. Measure Your Interior Cab Components

Measuring an elevator interior is the first and foundational step of the entire renovation process. Your elevator maintenance company, typically the installer for your new interior, would perform this survey.

Accurate measurements ensure wall and ceiling panels are cut and fitted to size. Come the day of installation, individual pieces will then easily “snap” together, forming the cohesive and customized finished interior yet dramatically reducing actual time of installation from the industry’s four-day average down to one with the SnapCab system.

Overall, measuring your elevator’s cab shell dimensions will entail many details and require some additional items such as:

  • Cab shell construction
  • Elevator door position
  • Toe kick arrangement
  • Existing canopy and ceiling information
  • Front wall dimensions and elevator components

2. Select Your Interior Cab Design

Experienced elevator cab companies present a design catalog or online showroom for clients to use as inspiration for their own modified designs. Likewise, customers can book a design session to delve further into colors, patterns, textures and cab panel materials at their disposal.

The makeup of elevator interior designs will mainly account for:

  • Wall panel designs (horizontal or vertical look)
  • Wall panel material, color, and pattern options
  • Reveal and toe kick finishes
  • Handrail and bumper rail finish and sizes
  • Ceiling and lighting design
  • Ceiling material and finishes

Consider requesting presentation boards or 3D renderings of your design. This provides a better indication of your elevator’s renovated design in real life, as well as lets you get a feel for actual material samples before they become a fixture of your building.

3. Double Check Regulations

Ensure your new design is in full compliance with all building or industry-relevant regulations. Your elevator servicer should be able to assist with any compliance checks regarding the layout, lighting, size, materials and detail work for a compliant cab.

4. Place Your Order

Submit your final design specs to your company rep. Make certain you detail any modifications or specifications that need to be made to a standard designed model. You should also communicate to your elevator installer if there are any existing fixtures such as cameras, bulletin boards, etc. that need to be reinstalled or removed when the new interior is installed.

5. Prepare the Elevator Interior

Elevator cabs require a few steps of preparation before new panels and components can be placed:

  • Drop cloth placement: Your installer should lay a drop cloth along the elevator’s floor to catch dirt and debris as they work. This also ensures the elevator floor remains damage-free during demolition.
  • Demolition: The demolition phase of a new elevator interior installation involves individually removing and discarding old interior panels, plus any other aesthetic components that will not be used in the new design. It does not mean taking a sledgehammer to your elevator walls.
  • Wall inspection: Evaluating the cab’s base walls — what remains after removing the old paneling — for protrusions or any other surface damage.

6. Conduct Interior Installation

Interior cab installation will be a step-by-step process following tailored directions. It includes preparing and replacing the main components of an elevator interior:

  • Wall panels
  • Elevator ceiling
  • Handrails
  • Flooring (commonly by a flooring contractor after new interiors are installed)

Continue reading for more detailed elevator cab installation steps or watch this SnapCab® Elevator installation video.

What to Look for in an Elevator Redesign Company

Choosing the right elevator renovation partner will help determine if the project stays on track, on budget and on time. Know how to properly vet and pick that provider by looking for the following.

1. End-to-End Servicing

Some elevator companies may only perform a handful of design and fabrication services. Others may provide certified elevator installers, designers and architects — but at extra costs.

Instead, look for a company with clear and transparent end-to-end services you can rely on from the onset, including:

  • Design consultations, showrooms
  • Material samples
  • Presentation boards
  • Certified installers

2. Customization

Does the elevator renovator offer an extensive product catalog that gives you plenty of options to achieve your refurbished vision? Can they go “off script,” tailoring unique styles, materials and finishes to your tastes? Depending on your business needs, a template design may not cut it, in which case a partner with in-house design affordances is necessary.

3. Warranty and Maintenance

Elevators receive continual use. Customers want to minimize that inevitable wear and tear to ensure their investment spans the years, without the need for frequent repairs or cosmetic patches.

Be sure your elevator remodeling company can provide you with:

  • Usage and care guides
  • Readily available panel replacements
  • A warranty that supports the craftsmanship of the product
  • Ongoing customer support

How to Pick and Design a New Elevator Interior

Designing the new look for your residential, office, hotel elevators — or anything in between — is an exciting and personalized process. Yet it can also be overwhelming, particularly for first-time renovators playing around with several design ideas.

Simplify the elevator cab redesign process by following this checklist:

  1. Pick an overall aesthetic: Contemporary or classic, minimalist or branded and bold, enter the elevator design stage with an idea of the kind of look you’re going for. Picking the desired aesthetic beforehand lends the language you’ll need to filter aesthetic decisions later, with a foundation for the overall ambiance you’re trying to achieve. This will also help the designers or reps at your selected renovation partner provide you with better design templates from their offerings.
  2. Consider core materials: Your selected overall aesthetic can help guide the material selection you want your refurbished primary and accent panels to be made from. Popular elevator panel materials include Corning® Gorilla® Glass; Rigidized® Metals; wood veneer in maple, walnut, cherry and others; laminate; and many more.
  3. Pick a color scheme: Depending on the selected materials, elevator panels can be further customized with a tailored color scheme. For example, panels made with laminates and Gorilla Glass can be pigmented to match or complement current branded color schemes, available in solid colors as well as textured or plain patterns.
  4. Don’t forget finishes: Matte, gloss, textured, reflective, brushed, fine grain — these are just a few panel finishes an elevator cab designer can take you through after selecting core materials and color schemes.
  5. Add form with function: Consider final touches for your elevator walls, such as accent mirrors, fine-grain wood paneling details, branded images or artwork, or something else entirely.

Take Commercial Elevator Interior Remodeling to the Next Level with SnapCab

SnapCab’s modular elevator system revolutionized interior cab possibilities, giving clients more say — and more savings — in the look of their new interior. SnapCab maintains a nation-wide network of certified elevator installers, giving end-users peace of mind.

Our customers’ happiness is our top priority. Let us prove how easy, enjoyable and cost-effective an elevator interior renovation can be. Explore our extensive elevator design showroom, then reach out to a SnapCab elevator specialist for more information or to book a design session today.