Wheelchair ramps are a great way to move from one level to another, and not just for people in wheelchairs and power chairs. Many people who have trouble on stairs can walk easily on a gently sloped ramp.
The main drawback with wheelchair ramps can be the length needed. People are often surprised by how long a ramp needs to be, even for a modest rise. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that ramps for public use have at least one foot of length for each inch of height. That means a 24-inch rise needs a ramp 24-feet long.
Ramps with slightly steeper inclines can be used in private homes. However, we recommend that only in certain cases, such as when a sturdy adult will be assisting a lightweight rider, or when the rider is in a power chair and doesn't need assistance.
Benefits of Aluminum Ramps
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Aluminum ramps are strong, safe, durable, and cost-effective.
They provide easy access for everyone -- wheelchair riders, family members, caregivers, and visitors.
They can be adapted to fit almost any situation where a ramp is a good solution.
They are relatively easy and fast to install (a few hours for a modular ramp).
Unlike elevators which add value to a property, a permanent wooden ramp can have the opposite effect. Aluminum ramps can removed quickly and easily, and we will often repurchase gently used ramps that we install.
Aluminum ramps have high-traction surfaces that provide good grip even when wet. (Much better than a worn wooden ramp, particularly when it is wet.)
They also come in a wide range of portable ramps that can be moved and carried in a vehicle.
Semi-Permanent Modular Ramps
Modular aluminum ramps can be made to fit a wide range of situations. They can be as simple as a straight ramp with or without handrails. Or they can be designed to follow the path of a sidewalk, or around the corner of a house.
When necessary, the ramp can be given a zig-zag layout to fit a longer ramp in a tight space, usually with one or more intermediate platforms.
A set of aluminum steps can also be added to a platform, which is sometimes done when the ramp covers the existing steps. That gives people the option of using either the ramp or the steps.
Following are some common layouts and features of modular ramps.
The main requirement for modular aluminum ramps is having enough space to fit the necessary length. The length needed depends of the height difference from the bottom of the ramp to the top. The ADA standard is to have one foot of length for every inch of ramp height. A 24-inch rise needs a ramp 24-feet long. (Shorter ramps can be used in some home applications. Consult with us for details.)
Modular ramps can be mounted on any firm surface, including lawns.
Portable and Folding Ramps
Folding ramps are often called "suitcase ramps," because many have handles that makes them easier to carry when folded. They come in a variety of lengths, ranging from one to 10 feet.
The most common type of portable ramp has two sections that fold together. Another option is a tri-fold ramp that folds to reduce both the width and the length. That makes a long ramp much easier to carry and stow in a smaller space.
Every house has door thresholds. They can be a challenge for people in wheelchairs, and a tripping hazard for others.
We offer threshold ramps that reduce the risk and make thresholds much easier to cross. The most common threshold ramps are made of rubber and aluminum, which are durable and provide high traction. These ramps come in various designs and sizes, and some can be adjusted to precisely match any threshold height.
Installation, Warranties, and Service
We recommend that all modular ramps be installed by professionals that have experience installing that particular brand and type of ramp. We have that experience with all the brands we carry.
Portable ramps can be carried and put in place by many individuals. However, we strongly suggest that our clients consult with us first before buying and positioning a portable ramp for themselves. Too often we have seen people try to use portable ramps that are too short, and too dangerous, for the height the ramp has to climb. (Again, our advice and on-site consultations are always free.)
We install and provide service for every ramp we sell. That includes full support of the manufacturers' warranties, plus a one-year labor warranty that we provide for all new installations.