Are you frustrated because there are no quick and simple options for making your home wheelchair accessible?
While portable wheelchair ramps are available for purchase, they are not as strong or safe as permanent ramps.
There is a workable solution: Make a wooden wheelchair ramp as a temporary solution.
A well-built wooden ramp gives stability, convenience, and autonomy without the permanence of a concrete ramp.
These wood wheelchair ramp plans will assist you in building and installing a handicap ramp that is both safe and functional.
You will have learned everything you need to know about building a temporary wheelchair ramp by the end of this essay.
Important Factors to Take into Consideration Before Building a Wheelchair Ramp
Building a wheelchair ramp will allow persons in wheelchairs and power chairs to enter and exit more easily, but there are rigorous criteria to follow.
For example, if the ramp is extremely steep, it can be unsafe and difficult to travel.
Consider the following factors before constructing a ramp at home.
Rules and Safety Guidelines
As a first step, contact both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local authorities.
To install a ramp, you will most likely need to obtain a permit from the local building authority.
It may also be important for you to comply with ADA guidelines.
Although not all states or towns enforce ADA standards for residential ramps, adhering to them will ensure that your ramp is safe for wheelchair users.
While the ADA requires ramps to be at least 36 inches wide, check local construction requirements as well, as some states need wider ramp widths.
It is also important to note that any ramp that climbs more than 6 inches above the ground must have 36-inch-high handrails for safety.
Space and Landing Requirements
The ADA demands a ramp to climb no more than 1 inch for every 12 inches of run, which is denoted as a 1:12 slope.
For example, if you require a ramp to access a 30-inch-high porch, you’ll need at least 30 lineal feet.
As an aside, pedestrian ramps, which are frequently included in aging-in-place designs, should be built on a 1:18 slope.
Those who do not have enough lineal space can construct a ramp with curves or switchbacks.
However, the ADA requires a minimum 60-inch-by-60-inch level landing as a wheelchair rest at all times.
The ADA also demands a minimum 60-inch-by-60-inch landing at the ramp’s bottom and top.
A ramp cannot begin to slope just outside the door; instead, a level landing on the porch is required.
Without a level landing, no ramp should climb above 30 inches.
If your porch is 48 inches tall, you’ll need 48 feet of linear ramp and a 60-inch-by-60-inch landing point along the ramp before it climbs 30 inches.
This may be accomplished on a straight ramp by creating a landing off to one side; on a switchback ramp, the landing could be at the turn.
If you are not required to follow ADA guidelines, you may be permitted to do so if the wheelchair user possesses a motorized chair.
However, whether mandatory or not, a resting area is essential for someone driving a wheelchair by hand.
Choosing the Right Ramp Materials
Although wood is the most widely used material in residential ramp building, it is not the only option.
Wood: You can build a wood ramp yourself if you have basic carpentry skills.
For wheelchair ramps, treated wood is popular, although composite decking for the floor may prevent warping and increase lifespan.
All wood surfaces should be sealed, and non-skid strips should be installed on floor planks to avoid slippery circumstances while wet.
You can also cover the ramp floor with indoor/outdoor carpet. Consider installing metal handrails for added longevity; wood handrails shatter after a few seasons.
Concrete: Since framing and pouring concrete is a technical job, and wet concrete isn’t forgiving of mistakes, concrete ramps are best built by a professional.
Concrete ramps necessitate footings and stem walls, which are normally filled with compacted sand before pouring.
Concrete has the advantage of being permanent and durable; you can even install heat strips to avoid ice formation in the winter.
Concrete is also a fantastic choice for a ramp with a few inches of height.
If pedestrians will use the ramp, choose a gentler, 1:18 slope to make walking more comfortable.
Earth-berm ramp: An earth-berm ramp can be built into your garden to look like a meandering walkway that gradually rises to the porch.
This form of ramp is aesthetically beautiful, but it necessitates creating the berm out of earth and compressing it with a mechanical compactor before the sidewalk can be poured on top.
In order to adequately compact the soil, this is frequently done in 6-8 inch stages called “lifts.”
Premade ramps: If you need a quick fix or are having trouble acquiring a permit to build a wood or concrete ramp, a prefabricated wheelchair ramp could be a good option.
Because premade ramps are often removable, they are classified as “private property” rather than “real estate,” and hence are not subject to building codes.
They are often made of aluminum or galvanized metal and are meant to fit over existing stairs.
They start at a few hundred dollars for bare-bones models but can cost thousands of dollars for higher-quality and custom designs.
Construction of the Ramp
The configuration of your home determines whether you need an L-shaped ramp with a landing or a U-shaped ramp with a landing.
- Place a reference nail 1 ¾ inch in on both corners of the landing to locate the top platform. This will be the location at which the cord will be attached to lay out the landing.
- Place batter boards about 7 feet perpendicular to the house edge where the nails will be installed.
- Check for squares with the mason’s cord.
- Drive a nail into the batter board and attach the cord to it once it is properly aligned.
- Rep the previous steps on the landing platform’s right edge.
- Assuming a 60-inch landing platform, measure 58 14 inches from the wall along the cords on the platform’s left and right corners. Now go ahead and mark them.
- Place two new batter boards 2 feet outside of the two existing cords, so that the mason cord attached to the new batter boards intersects the marks set for the anticipated ramp width (on the previous two cords).
- The intersecting spots and house borders where the lines attach are where footings for the posts are dug to reach below the frost line.
- Pour the concrete using the sonotube at this point and smooth the top layers.
- Replace the mason’s cords and attach a plumb bob to the middle of each post.
- Install J-bolts into the wet concrete.
- After the concrete has hardened, use a nut and washer to secure the metal post to the J-bolt.
- Repeat the preceding steps for the next landing platform, taking into account the determined slope and run.
- Use joist hangers and 16d nails to attach the rim and interior joists, and cross braces every 4 feet for added stability.
- To prevent the boards from lifting over time, the decking material should be screwed securely to the joists.
- Corner posts are also used to support railing posts. The length of the railing section should not exceed 8 feet; otherwise, intermediate posts should be added to the outer joists.
- The ramp finishes with a minimum 60-inch landing made of the same materials as the ramp or concrete.
The main aspect is, consult with an architect before starting and make sure you have all the approvals needed for the ramp and you utilize just the treated lumber.
Finally, an efficient and attractive wooden wheelchair ramp will be completed, making the lives of the physically challenged (in mobility) much more comfortable and independent.
Keeping these elements in mind when building a ramp ensures your safety and the sturdiness of the ramp.
After all, everyone will have unrestricted access to it.
If you want to avoid the hassle of building a ramp, check out our page on the best wheelchair ramps, where we list the top ready-made ramps on the market today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best material for a ramp?
Concrete is the most expensive ramp option available.
It is also the strongest and the most permanent.
Concrete ramps can easily have excellent non-slip surfaces built in during construction.
Concrete ramps require specialized installation and building permits.
What is the slope for a handicap ramp?
The ADA requires that all business and public use wheelchair ramps adhere to a 1:12 slope ratio, meaning that for every inch of vertical rise there must be 12 horizontal inches (one foot) of ramp.
How much are modular wheelchair ramps?
Modular ramps cost between $400 and $3,000 on average and are generally less expensive than their custom counterparts.
These ramps are typically prefabricated and delivered in several sections for your contractor to put together quickly.
What are the various sorts of ramps?
How much is a portable wheelchair ramp?
Portable ramp prices
Portable ramps are available in lengths of 3 feet to 10 feet and cost between $100 and $2,000, depending on the type
What makes a good wheelchair ramp?
The happy medium for ramps at home is a ratio of 2:12 or about 10 degrees of incline.
A 2:12 ratio is not too challenging for wheelchair users and cuts the length of a potential ramp in half.
For example, at a 1:12 ratio, a ramp that sits 36 inches high is then 36 feet long.