A wheelchair ramp is usually installed in addition to or instead of stairs. Ramps permit wheelchair users, as well as people using walkers and power chairs easily access a building. Ramps must be carefully designed in order to be useful. Many jurisdictionshave established minimum widths and maximum slopes. A less steep rise can be easier for a wheelchair user to navigate, as well as safer in icy climates.
A wheelchair ramp can be permanent, modular or portable.
Permanent ramps are usually constructed from wood with concrete footings. Wooden ramps need to be painted on a regular basis. As wooden ramps tend to be slippery, you usually want to make a wooden ramp about 30% longer than a similar metal ramp that has a built in non-slip surface.
Modular ramps are more durable than wooden ramps and can be moved or reconfigured. Modular ramps rest on top of the ground. They are exempt from building permits in most localities. Modular ramps are usually constructed of aluminum, which does not rust. Steel is occasionally used for modular ramps but steel ramps tend to look bad after a few months.
Portable ramps are usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport. Portable ramps are primarily intended for home and building use but can also be used with vans to load an unoccupied mobility device or to load an occupied mobility device when both the device and the passenger are easy to handle.