When a home needs a ramp to make it accessible by wheelchairs and other special ambulatory devices, you will need to add an accessible ramp to your entrances. Depending on your level of construction expertise, you may be able to perform this work yourself or you might have to hire a professional to do the work.
As you contemplate a construction project, visit the North Carolina State University for assistance in choosing a design and planning the project. Many variables exist that will determine the style and features of the ramp, including your home’s entrance and the type of accommodations you need to provide for the disability.
With a functional accessible ramp on your home, everyone will enjoy free access in and out of the house.
The traditional ramp slope for wheelchair accessibility is 1:12 – meaning every 12 inches of distance on the ramp rises 1 inch.
1.Keep it Attractive
Even with a limited budget, try to install an attractive ramp to keep up your home’s exterior appearance. An unattractive or poorly constructed ramp will detract from your home’s curb appeal and could even make it difficult to resell your home in the future. By matching the style of the ramp to the style of your home, it will be easier to blend the ramp into the overall exterior features of your home. Add landscaping around the ramp and try to minimize the length of the ramp using existing grade elevations. You could even add an outdoor deck onto the ramp at the entrance area to minimize the overall appearance.
Because the main floor of the home generally sits one step above entry stairs, decks or porches, the minimal purpose of the ramp would be to eliminate this step. Most houses have more entry steps than just this single step, however. It’s also necessary to ensure that the landing area just outside the door is large enough to accommodate wheelchair maneuvering – generally, about 2 feet must exist on the latch side of the door.
The traditional ramp slope for wheelchair accessibility is 1:12 – meaning every 12 inches of distance on the ramp rises 1 inch. Ramps with 1:12 slopes should not be over 30 feet in length. Some people with disabilities consider this slope to be too steep, so another common slope rise is 1:16. Ramps with 1:16 slope should not be over 40 feet in length. It’s also possible to make level stretches on a ramp to provide a rest from the incline.
A ramp shape might be straight, U-shaped, L-shaped or even switchback-shaped. Whatever spacing or grading constraints exist outside your entrances will dictate the shape of the ramp.
A safe ramp should include guardrails, handrails, balusters, curbs and stairs for people who do not require the ramp features. Pay attention to the style and design of the features to ensure that they meet the needs of the people who will be using the ramp.
Whether you build your own ramp or you need a more elaborate ramp built by a professional, the accessibility it affords to disabled people will be a positive feature of your home.