How To Build Wheelchair Ramps

Step 1, in any bulding process, is to plan thoroughly.

Consider the requirements that your ramp must meet, possibly in consultation with local authorities. Draw up plans and carry out detailed calculations to make sure that the width and slope are correct at all points. If in doubt, call in the professionals.

Wheelchair Ramp photo
Photo by mateoutah

Step 2: Decide on your materials. Steel is strong and easy to work with, but must be treated and maintained to avoid rust. Wood is durable and cheap, but will also require regular maintenance to keep it in pristine condition. Concrete is a superb choice of material here — it’s durable and won’t need maintenanice, and you can work in an easy-to-grip surface texture before it dries solid.

You’ll also need to decide on materials for the hand rails. Wooden rails are more comfortable than metal, especially in cold weather. But again, they’ll need to be treated and maintained to avoid warping and splinters. For the rail supports, wood and metal both make good choices, but metal will tend to be more durable and might give a more attractive look.

Step 3: The actual construction. If you’re using concrete, carefully seal up the frame of the construction and begin pouring. It’s best to work in sections two or three feet in length. Once each section is filled and dried level, the slope can be skimmed in by hand and finished off with a textured surface.

With wood or metal, there’s also a two-stage process. The frame is first fixed to the ground and to the building; then the surface is attached. In wooden structure, fixings should be made using screws instead of nails, since screws will stay in position longer and reduce maintenance requirements.

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