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Everything You Need to Know About Access Ramps

An access ramp allows people with limited mobility a way to enter a property with stairs and fill in the curb space between automobiles and driveways. Wheelchair ramps are constructed from various materials, depending on their use, and are made with varying lengths. Some styles are portable while others are permanently secured in place.

How long are portable access ramps?

Portable ramps are designed to fold in half. They have brackets in-between the ramps that hold the plank firm when in place on the ground, but the brackets can fold. Portable ramps come in various widths and lengths. The most common lengths of mobility ramps are 3, 6, or 8 feet. Three feet is the typical width. See the manufacturer site for details. EZ Access, HomCom, AlumiRamp, and other manufacturers offer 5-foot-long or 10-foot-long suitcase-style portable ramps. They bend in half and are carried with an attached handle.

What are non-skid surfaces made from?

Non-skid surfaces are constructed to help prevent the wheelchair from sliding. Some of the surfaces are built directly in the mold, and other surfaces are attached after the initial ramp is manufactured. An outdoor wheelchair ramp should be designed to offer some skidding protection against rain and weather. Some common non-skid ramp materials are:

  • Skidproof textured plastic
  • Built-in raised aluminum ridges
  • Molded raised rubber
  • Textured carpet
What is a gateway ramp?

A gateway or threshold ramp often has handrails and is used for transitions. These types of reasonably priced ramps help people who might be unstable on their feet or walk with a cane to rise up a set of stairs without climbing them. It is usually constructed from aluminum and has a single-piece sheet of aluminum for the bottom and a skid-resistant surface.

How do you determine the correct ramp length?

Check with your local building code authorities to determine the correct ramp length. Mobility scooters, power chairs, and wheelchair ramps most often require the same incline transitions.

The appropriate ramp length can be estimated with the 1/12 method. For every 1 inch of vertical rise, the ramp will need to be 1 foot long. The vertical rise measurement should be off the top step, or the tallest point. Make sure there is enough room for the ramp to unfold entirely and that it does not block any side traffic or cause a trip hazard.

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