Ramps are an accessible alternative to steps. This is especially important for people who use mobility devices such as walkers or wheelchairs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides guidelines on how to make ramps safe and effective for this purpose. This includes information like how wide the ramp should be and how steep it can be. Visit the Access Board website to learn more.
In cases where there is not enough space to safely fit a ramp, a lift may be a better choice.
What kinds of ramps are there?
Threshold ramps may look like an angled metal plate or a rubber wedge. They provide a smooth transition into doorways, between rooms, or over curbs.
Small ramps are available in many portable designs, including telescoping and folding “suitcase” styles. They are made by companies like EZ Access and PVI. Portable ramps are not ADA compliant for public access, but they can still be a great solution for your own personal use. You can use a portable ramp to provide easier entry into your home or carry one in your car in case you visit someplace with an unexpected step.
Modular ramps are a semi-permanent product. They’re often made of aluminum. Modular ramps are not portable, but they only take a few hours to install and uninstall. You can order a modular ramp that is customized to the dimensions of your space, then assemble it on-site.
Permanent ramps might be built of wood or concrete. Carefully consider the maintenance needs of whatever material you use: how will it be weatherproofed and slip-resistant? You may also need a building permit for this type of construction.