Roll Up the Wheelchair Ramp

Everyone knows that wheelchair ramps are to help those confined to wheelchairs access buildings. Stairs are next to impossible for someone in a chair, and ramps make accessibility at least a bit easier. But you probably did not know about all the different options for ramps that are out there! There are also some legal requirements.

Permanent or Semi-Permanent Ramps

If you or a loved one are going to be in a wheelchair for a long time, you might want to invest in a permanent or semi-permanent ramp. Permanent ramps are strongly secured in place, often by bolts. Sometimes, such as in the case of concrete, they are built right in. Semi-permanent ramps simply rest on top of the ground, but are sturdy enough for fairly long-term use.

Legal Requirements

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, has made it required for any new public building to be built with ramps for wheelchair accessibility. These ramps require a 1:12 slope. This means for every inch the ramp rises, there should be a foot of ramp. Although these laws do not apply to residential housing, if you are thinking of building or remodeling a home so that it is wheelchair accessible, you might want to take the laws for commercial buildings into consideration. In residential buildings, the suggested slope is no more than 2:12.

Portable Ramps

Portable ramps, while perhaps not as safe or secure as permanent or semi-permanent ramps, are the perfect solution for many of your wheelchair needs-especially if you or your loved one is only temporarily in a wheelchair. Portable ramps can also be helpful when loading a wheelchair into a van or other vehicle. These ramps often collapse to make transport easier.

Ramp Materials

Most wheelchair ramps are made from one of three materials.

  • Concrete–Concrete is strong and sturdy, but heavy and unmovable. It is only used for permanent ramps.
  • Aluminum–Light and portable while still being durable, aluminum is the perfect choice for semi-permanent and portable ramps.
  • Wood–The rarest material for ramps, wood works well, but often wears down or rots quickly.