Learn about different wheelchair ramp options, and choose the best one for your needs.
Where and when will you need a wheelchair ramp?
Before you shop for a wheelchair ramp, think about all the spaces in your home that have steps, raised thresholds or other barriers that you’ll need a ramp to cross. Common areas where ramps are needed include:
How long does your ramp need to be?
The length of the stairs and the vertical height the ramp needs to ascend will determine the type of ramp you need. Also consult the guidelines in wheelchair or scooter manuals. The ramp length that you’ll need can be easily calculated with a few simple measurements.
How wide does your ramp need to be?
To determine the ramp width you need, consider the following:
Now that you know how to figure out the ramp length and width you need, there are several types of ramps you can consider to meet your needs.
Shower ramps are small, short surfaces that can be purchased to blend in with the flooring in your bathroom. They're meant to eliminate the small barrier that exists at the front of walk-in showers.
Doorway and Threshold Ramps
Doorway ramps are used to cross a couple of steps. Solid ramps and panel ramps are the two most common types of doorway ramps. Before purchasing a doorway ramp, calculate the length you need. If your required length is longer than standard doorway ramps, consider an exterior access ramp.
Threshold ramps are the most common type of ramp needed inside and outside the home, as raised thresholds, usually ½ inch or 1 inch high, are common at many doors. These ramps are very short, designed to facilitate a very small rise, portable and light. Consider locating threshold ramps permanently at any doors with raised thresholds.
Portable and Automotive Ramps
Portable ramps are most commonly used to enter and exit a vehicle or to use in the home occasionally. These ramps usually fold up like suitcases and can be carried with you, although there are some shorter ramps that are solid surfaces. When purchasing a portable ramp, consider the total weight of the ramp to ensure it can be easily and safely carried.
Exterior Access Ramps
You may need a ramp length beyond what's offered for getting through front and back doors. When this is the case, consider a home access ramp with customizable length. There are two main types of exterior access ramps:
When choosing an exterior access ramp, refer to local building codes. Also consult the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessibility.
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