Types of Modernization

Elevator One has significant experience and expertise in undertaking full
modernization or partial modernization projects.

Full Modernization

Elevators can be maintained and repaired to keep them running, but like all mechanical devices, they eventually come to the end of their useful operation, and they require a full modernization. This typically comes at the 20 – 30 year mark, depending on the quality of the equipment first installed, and the preventative maintenance that has been performed. For traction elevators, typical upgrades and renovations include: the controller, the machine, overspeed governors, ropes, car stations, cab upgrades, hall stations, door operators and electronic protection devices. For hydraulic elevators, typical upgrades and renovations include: the controller, the pumping unit, hydraulic cylinders, car stations, cab upgrades, hall stations, door operators and electronic protection devices. Our references provide the same, consistent feedback at the end of our projects: we finish projects on time, on budget and our team is friendly and professional throughout the whole project.

Partial Modernization

In many instances elevators are still running relatively well, however there are certain critical components which have exceeded their useful life. While technicians can replace parts on such components, eventually shutdowns become more frequent and components need to be replaced. Elevator One works closely with our customers to, where possible, predict such equipment expenditures in advance so that they can be budgeted in. Typical partial modernizations for traction elevators include replacing any of the following: rope brakes, overspeed governors, ropes, controllers, door operators and electronic protection devices, and cab upgrades. Typical partial modernizations for hydraulic elevators include replacing any of the following: controllers, motors, pumps, hydraulic cylinders, door operators and electronic protection devices. Elevator One’s professional team completes such work efficiently with the highest possible quality.

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Why modernize?


Is your elevator near or beyond its expected life (built in the 1980s or earlier)? Most elevators that were built before 1980 have many safety systems missing, such as protection devices, redundancy circuits, lock monitoring capability, and fire service systems.

Does your elevator meet current Ontario safety and fire codes?

Does the reliability of the device and the consequence of failure pose an unacceptable safety and liability risk?

Efficiency of Operations

Is it getting difficult or expensive to find spare parts for your device? Or is it hard to find technicians who can properly repair and maintain it? Has the number and expense of service calls increased over the past 12 months?

Is the performance of your unit unacceptable? Will repairs or replacing components not lead to acceptable performance?

Is your controller technology out of date? Upgrading from a relay-logic system to a computerized controller can decrease wait times by 10-15%. Does your elevator meet current Ontario safety and fire codes?

Does the reliability of the device and the consequence of failure pose an unacceptable safety and liability risk?


Will upgrading to a newer elevator significantly reduce your energy costs?

Will the short-term costs to refurbish parts exceed the life cycle cost of complete replacement?

Client Satisfaction

Does the condition of your elevator deter potential tenants/clients from moving into your building?

Are tenants/clients frustrated by the length of time they wait for an elevator, or by the frequency of break-downs, causing them to consider relocating?

Are elevator malfunctions causing potential safety issues?

When to Modernize

We work very closely with our customers to plan upgrades and renovations. We generally provide reports which project “partial modernization” recommendations (including suggested timeframe and approximate costs); as well as “full modernization” recommendations. In some cases we have taken over maintenance contracts where the previous contractor has insisted that a modernization is immediately required and we are able to extend the life for many years just by undertaking simple repairs and proper preventative maintenance. An elevator contractor with integrity and expertise should be able to give you honest and informed information to plan for most elevator interior design.

Cost of Modernization

The cost of elevator refurbishment obviously vary considerably depending on the type of elevator and the size of the building. Hydraulic elevator partial modernizations will typically be in the $10-$50K range with full modernizations being in the $70-$100K range per elevator being refurbished. Traction elevator partial modernizations are likewise typically in the $10-$70K range, while full refurbishments are typically in the $100K-$150K per elevator. Elevator One is pleased to undertake surveys of elevators and providing detailed interior design quotes including recommended components, timelines and costs for the modernizations. Fill in the “Request Your On-Site Survey” below and a sales professional will be in touch.

Other Questions

Here are common questions we receive regarding repairs.
Click the questions for answers.

  • Numerous times over the years, we have met with an elevator owner/operator who has been told by their elevator contractor that their elevator is so unreliable because they require an immediate modernization. Often this is not the cause and all that is missing is proper repairs and preventative maintenance. On a number of occasions we have taken over maintenance and delayed modernizations by more than 10 years!

  • Expensive elevator renovation projects (which can be in the $70K-$150K/elevator range) should never be a surprise. We work with our customers to give advance notice (typically 3-10 years) of when we feel a full modernization project will be needed. While there can always be surprises, generally sufficient notice is provided to set aside capital funds for the necessary work.

  • While a planned elevator modernization shutdown is a significant challenge (especially with one elevator in a building) because you can be without an elevator for 1-2 months, it is far less problematic than a catastrophic failure. In the latter case there is no warning to residents/tenants and equipment lead time can often be many months. For this reason we encourage our customers to plan for modernizations before things get absolutely critical.

  • Have you thought about what you will do with your residents/tenants when an elevator is out 1-2 months for a modernization? How about if it is the only elevator? There are no other options other than giving sufficient notice to residents to make other arrangements if they are unable to use stairs. Again, with a planned elevator interior design, this is doable. If you wait for a catastrophic failure, your challenges are magnified.

Need Help Choosing What to do?

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If you are interested in getting a quote for a full or partial renovations, kindly fill in the following form and press “Send”.

Types of Elevators

We install, repair and maintain both hydraulic elevators and traction (roped) elevators.

Traction Elevators


Traditional overhead roped elevators have machine rooms which are situated directly above the elevator hoistway. While other traction elevator types like machineroomless (MRLs), have gained popularity, overhead traction elevators have some significant post construction advantages. With the key elevator equipment easily accessible, including controllers, elevator machines and braking systems, maintenance technicians can easily access for preventative maintenance.


While less frequent, in certain applications it makes sense to have the key traction elevator equipment in a basement machine room. Again, the advantage of this configuration over an MRL, is post construction where equipment is easily accessible to maintenance technicians.


Machineroomless (MRL) traction elevators have gained popularity in the past decade. Architects, in particular, appreciate this technology because the aesthetically displeasing machine room at the top of a building is no longer needed. The key elevator equipment is found inside the elevator hoistway. The disadvantage of MRLs is that much of the equipment is proprietary to the installing manufacturer leading to challenges post installation.

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Hydraulic Elevators


Traditional hydraulic elevator have an inground hydraulic cylinder that is attached below the elevator cab. The advantage to this technology is a quieter ride and the required hoistway size is smaller than a holeless hydraulic elevator where the cylinders are attached to the outside of the cab. The disadvantage of this technology can be high drilling costs (depending on the ground type such as rock) or difficult drilling due to water issues.


As the name suggests, a holeless hydraulic elevator does not require that a hole be drilled for the cylinder. Typically, a holeless hydraulic elevator will have cylinders that are attached to the outside of the elevator cab. The advantage to this technology is that contractors do not need to coordinate hole drilling very early in the building project, and ground type is not an issue.


MRL hydraulic elevators are a relatively new technology. With this technology the required machine room (which houses the hydraulic tank) is no longer needed because it is situated within the hoistway. The disadvantages of this technology is that the equipment is generally very proprietary and very difficult to access for maintenance, thus increasing maintenance costs.

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Elevator Manufacturers

We provide exceptional elevator services for our customers no matter the make of their elevator. Whether they have an Otis, Schindler, ThyssenKrupp, Delta, Savaria, Garaventa and many more, our team is able to provide exceptional service. We have highly trained elevator technicians with service vehicle stocked full of parts, and a warehouse full of other parts needed for day-to-day repairs.

Find your city

At Elevator One we provide the same high-level of services integrity and quality.
We deal with commercial lift services, accesses and wheelchair elevators, and material / freight elevators.