Build a wooden wheelchair ramp

Posted in Home Improvement on June 15, 2018

If you need to build wheelchair ramps for your front or doors and would like to use treated lumber instead of concrete, here is the best way to build your own ramps.

You can build a wheelchair ramp just like a deck. with footings, posts, joists, decking and railings (see illustration). Most states require that the ramp have no more than a 1:12 slope. This means that for every 12 in. you go along the ramp, you should go up no more than 1 in. For persons with limited strength, 1:20 may be better. Be sure to verify your slope with local building officials.

You can build your ramp with treated lumber. but choose it carefully to avoid splits and warping, which can make rolling a wheelchair difficult. Cedar and redwood, while more expensive, will not split and warp much. Rough-sawn lumber will give better traction.

ln climates with snow, it’s important to construct the surface of the ramp with 2x6 boards spaced 1/4 in. apart for drainage. This will provide a non-slip surface. The ramp should be 42-48 in. wide.

A 60 x 60-in. level platform should be located at the top of the ramp and installed level with the threshold of the doorway. Twenty-four inches of the platform should be on the latch side of the door.

For ramps more than 30 in. high, there should be a 60 x 60-in. level landing every 15 ft. You should also have such a landing at each direction change.

At the bottom of the ramp, you should pour a 72 x 72-in. level concrete pad and a sidewalk that connects the ramp to the driveway or street. The transition between the ramp and the concrete pad should be smooth, with a bump no greater than 1/ 4 in.

Guard railings should surround all outer edges of the ramp at a height of 36 in. Railing spindles are typically 2x25 on 6-in. centers. A second hand rail, 1-1/2 in. in diameter, should be installed at a height to fit the user, spaced 1-1/2 in. inside the railings.

If you need more information, contact your local council on disability, or the Accessibility by Design Center. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) also has a publication named Standards for Accessible Design and its chapter 4 is all about ramps.