“No two ramps are exactly like people,” said Nina Creech, senior vice president of operations at People Working Cooperatively’s Whole Home Innovation Center, an accessibility change service in Cincinnati, Ohio. You should keep this in mind when looking for a wheelchair ramp.
There are different types of wheelchair ramps. The most popular include:
- Threshold ramps, These are lightweight, portable ramps about 1 to 6 inches high that are often used to help people through doors that are taller than the tread. They also help navigate curbs and other elevated landings.
- Folding ramps, these are portable ramps that fold up and are easy to use on the go.
- Suitcase ramps, which have a built-in handle and are designed for use in entrance areas with stairs. They “fold up and can be worn like their namesake,” says Creech. Suitcase ramps are 2 to 6 feet long.
- Modular ramps, normally used in private homes and made in sections that can be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. They are often made of aluminum and are larger and lighter than other styles of ramp.
- Permanent ramps, which mostly consist of concrete or wood and are built on site. These ramps require planning permission and cannot be adjusted after installation.
The entry point of your home
“For a lot of people, it’s the front door,” says Creech. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes it makes more sense to use a back door or install your ramp in the garage. Carefully consider which location makes the most sense, especially if you have a permanent ramp installed.
Permanent or Wearable?
Both can work well depending on the region and needs, says Carisa Rasmussen, founder and owner of Accessible Homes in Minnesota.
“If you live in an association-run neighborhood, it can be difficult to install a permanent ramp in front of your house,” says Rasmussen. In this case, a temporary metal ramp may be a better option.
Portable ramps are smaller ramps that are easy to transport – you can take them with you in your vehicle or fold them up and store them in your garage. “They are typically used in situations where a person has to enter a public building with no barrier-free entrance,” adds Rasmussen. “Or when you’re having a Christmas dinner and someone using a chair has to come into your house.” Portable ramps are not intended for long-term continuous use and are generally cheaper than permanent ramps.
Many people who use wheelchairs have a fixed ramp at home and a portable ramp that they can use when traveling.
Size and length
For every inch of change in elevation, there should be at least 12 inches of ramp run, says Rasmussen. “So if you take your tape measure and you have 10” to the door, you want a ramp that is 120 “long.”
Following this rule of thumb will help ensure that the ramp is not too steep for someone to safely maneuver up and down. The size can vary depending on your circumstances, “but don’t skimp on length and compromise safety,” says Rasmussen.
It’s also important to consider the width. American Disability Association (ADA) guidelines require ramps to be at least 36 inches wide.
Rasmussen also recommends taking your climate into account. For example, if it is an area with frequent snowfall, make sure there is enough space on the ramp for snow removal equipment to be used.
Different wheelchair ramps offer different weight capacities. Consider your own weight or the weight of the person using the wheelchair and the weight of the wheelchair to determine the load capacity required for your ramp.
If you’re having a wheelchair ramp built and installed, prices vary based on size, material, structure, and amount of work. Wheelchair ramps typically cost between $ 100 and $ 250 per square foot, says Dacillo.
Would you like to buy a finished wheelchair ramp? See how different wheelchair ramp styles and sizes stack up in terms of price.
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