Many people with mobility challenges need to use a wheelchair for day-to-day activities. If you are one of these people or have friends or relatives in this condition, having a ramp that provides access to your home can be very useful. However, if you’re not a professional, knowing what to consider can be difficult. Read on to learn what you need to know about the construction of a safe and sturdy wheelchair ramp.
Storage and Location
If you have decided to construct a portable wheelchair ramp for home, you need to know where to store it. These ramps are usually bulky and may require more storage space. Therefore, it’s best to plan where to keep your ramp before calling a contractor to start the construction. If possible, choose a location near an entrance or door with enough room to accommodate your wheelchair while giving you space to access other rooms.
Ensure there are cabinet doors, bookcases, benches, or chairs that can create a barrier or impediment when deploying the ramp. You’ll also want at least five feet on either side of wherever you’re storing the ramp to maneuver around it.
The Steepness of the Ramp’s Slope
The steepness of your ramp’s slope will vary depending on the building codes in your area and your own needs. Ramps need to have a slope no steeper than one unit in 12 feet. You may want to consult with an engineer or architect on this matter, as it can be tricky to build slopes at more extreme angles without damaging your flooring.
If you need help getting up higher hills, make sure that your ramp has a maximum height difference between steps of three inches or less. Ramps should also not exceed 30 degrees from horizontal when going uphill if they are longer than 11-inches wide.
The ramp you intend to build should be attractive. A well-designed and attractive ramp will make your home more welcoming to guests, especially if it’s visible from the front of the house. Consult with an architect or contractor before you start construction so that they can help you choose materials for both aesthetic appeal and durability.
There are many materials that you can use to make your ramp. Some of them include plywood, aluminum, or vinyl. You can also buy prefabricated ramps from an online shop or hardware store.
Before buying or constructing your ramp, consider the surface you’ll be placing it on. The material you use should be strong enough to prevent sliding when it rains or snows. Also ensure that there are no sharp corners that may cause accidents. Ramps need to have an angle of between 12-15% slope to accommodate wheelchairs properly without too much difficulty going up and down the incline.
Building a ramp for your home isn’t difficult if you have the right information. It’s important to plan where and how the ramp will be stored before construction begins. You should also consult with an architect or engineer if possible so they can design your ramp according to your needs and any building codes from the area in which you live.