Opening your heart and home to a physically challenged loved one is a gracious deed. One way to make it easier for a differently-abled family member or a friend is to build a wheelchair ramp that leads straight to your door. But before you hire a wheelchair ramp contractor or DIY, learn the basics of safety, designing, planning, and rules. Here are some basics you should know while making a wheelchair ramp. So, let’s take notes!
Introduction: How to Build a Wheelchair Ramp
Before starting the design and construction of a wheelchair ramp, try asking yourself the following questions: who’s the primary user? Which assistive device does that person use (e.g., walker, crutches, electric or manual wheelchair)? What are your local zoning requirements? Will the person’s physical condition change?
After addressing these questions, let’s go to the following crucial factors to build a handicap ramp.
Planning the Wheelchair Ramp
Planning the wheelchair ramp is a critical element that must be considered before building a wheelchair ramp. A wheelchair ramp plan includes a specific point of your home entrance, the area you have for ramp building, your local building codes, and the required ramp’s slope.
You should consider some factors while choosing a door for wheelchair ramp placement. These factors are:
- accessibility of the doorway from different points in the home
- your doorway’s width
- existing features of the entrance (like stairs, porches, or platforms)
- whether they can easily accommodate a ramp.
The Available Space
The space available for ramp building often affects a ramp’s design. Before designing and building a wheelchair ramp, consider your available space and obstacles (like walkways, trees, and buildings). For example, constructing a U-shaped ramp is viable if you have a small space. In this way, you can build a longer ramp while fitting it into a smaller space.
Check Local Building Codes Before Building a Wheelchair Ramp
There may be code requirements imposed by your local municipality or your homeowner association. Don’t wait until you build a wheelchair ramp only to discover later that it doesn’t meet your local codes. It is advisable to first get your ramp plans reviewed by a local building inspector. This will save you from redoing your hard work.
Ramp Slope and Size
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has placed some requirements for wheelchair ramp building to ensure safety. Therefore, it’s critical to make sure the angle and length of the wheelchair ramp meet the criteria. The ADA recommends a 1:12 slope. This means if your porch height is 12 inches off the ground, you will need a 12-foot ramp to safely accommodate wheelchair access. In designing turns, your ramp should have a minimum 60-inch-by-60-inch level landing as a wheelchair rest. The same is the case for landing at the bottom and at the top of the ramp.
If you’re planning to deviate from the ADA standard, make sure you check your local building codes to ensure your wheelchair ramp design is in compliance.
Mind the gap
Every wheelchair ramp has two critical areas: landing butts up to the door threshold and ramp transition to the ground. Most people often oversee the gaps present in these areas. These gaps can abruptly stop the front wheels of your wheelchair. So make sure the upper landing is either leveled or within 3/8 in. of the threshold.
Now that you know the basics of how to build a wheelchair ramp, it will be easy for you to Do it yourself. You can also hire a wheelchair ramp contractor. At Home Comfort Solutions, we are at your service to build and install a safe and efficient handicap ramp for you and your loved ones. By knowing how to make a ramp, you can now make your home more wheelchair-accessible. So, let’s enhance the quality of life for those who need it with Home Comfort Solutions!