Ramping options for home:
For wheelchair accessibility various options exist for your home : with entry to the home ramp options include: wood, aluminum, or landscaping.
The best option for you depends on your preferences, affordability, and timeline.
Choosing a grade:
ADA guidelines for safe ramp grading indicate 12” of run for every 1” of rise (meaning if you have a 6” step you need a 6’ long ramp). Residential ramping however is individual dependent and may be quite different for every individual. Power wheelchair users may be able to manage a 12:2 pitch that is properly equipped with side rails as the wheelchair motor will do the work of the climbing. Manual wheelchair users may in the same circumstances benefit from a 14:1 or 16:1 pitch if they required a more gradual grade for wheelchair management.
Material selection of wood versus aluminum versus concrete or landscaping is another important consideration.
Wood ramps: wood ramps require concrete footings to secure to the ground and these require building permits. Though material cost may be slightly less than aluminum, labor costs, permits, and time required often drive the cost up much higher than an aluminum ramp. This may be a good option with volunteer labor and manpower when available. Disadvantages of using wood include – increased time and money for permits and labor, decay of the wood and maintenance and upkeep requirements of the ramp, and the fact that it is not reusable after the ramp is not needed anymore.
Aluminum ramps often offer a better alternative to the home for overall cost. Aluminum is a non-maintenance material that will not decay. Modular aluminum ramps offer the advantage of being adjustable to different heights and configurations and can often be used at different locations when they are no longer needed. They are not fixed into the ground and thus you do not require permits to put up modular aluminum ramps. They can be assembled in a relatively quick amount of time and without having to wait for city approval for permits. Generally aluminum modular ramps are much less expensive due to decreased labor requirements from the contractors involved
For the best accessible design consider all entrances to the home and speak with an experienced accessibility specialist to help design a system that will work for you. It is important to have an adequate level landing at the entry door so the wheelchair user can manage the door independently.
Landscaping is another option for how wheelchair access can often be achieved with a much more aesthetic appeal. Often accessibility can be provided without appearing “handicapped accessible as with a ramp. Creative landscaping can be performed to provide access to ha home with beauty but the tradeoff is obviously a much higher cost. This is the exception rather than the rule. BILD and Stano Landscaping have partnered to offer accessible landscaping options for beauty and accessibility in your home.
Considering a “porch lift”
For multiple stairs to enter the home it may actually be more economical and affordable to enter the home with a wheelchair lift system. This also provides a smaller footprint and preserves your open space and yard for functionality and beauty. BILD is also a provider for wheelchair lift systems at affordable prices to allow a variety of options for access to your home. For more information please contact us at BILD – 262-671-2032 or [email protected].