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Thread: Wheelchair ramp advise needed

  1. #1

    Wheelchair ramp advise needed

    Hello,

    I need a wheelchair ramp outside of the house going to the front door that will support a motorized wheelchair as well as a stretcher to get my mother in and out of my house.

    I have a 5-step cement porch with a 42" rise from ground to door threshold and 56" between the cast iron railings on each side of the porch.

    It seems like I have 2 options as far as design goes:

    1) L-shaped: Coming straight out the front door with a platform and descending forward into the front yard, then 90 degree angle toward the driveway. This design takes up a lot of the front yard.

    2) Zig-zag shaped: Coming straight out the front door with a platform and going along the front of the house under the bay window, then a 180 degree turn and back over the walkway towards the driveway. This design requires the removal of one of the cast iron railings as well as the bushes under the bay window.

    I am concerned about the following:

    A) Which material would be best to build the ramp with, treated wood, metal or composite material i.e. Trex.

    B) The ramp being able to support the motorized wheelchair as well as the stretcher.

    C) The decking surface becoming slippery in rain, snow and icy conditions.

    D) The stretcher having enough room to turn around the 90 and/or 180 degree turns.

    E) Ongoing maintenance.

    F) Removal and/or potential resale of the ramp when no longer needed.

    G) Cost.

    Also, if anyone knows of any resources in Connecticut that can help with design, materials, building and/or financing, I’d really appreciate the info.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Doorman's Avatar
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    How long do you plan on being in the home?

  3. #3
    It's hard to say but I don't think much longer than 5 years

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doorman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mnea
    It's hard to say but I don't think much longer than 5 years
    If that is the case then I would go with the cheapest way out which would be PT.If you go straight out your front door that would be 42' so you would need to turn it somewhere or not go by code and go 1/1/2" or 2" per foot to cut down the 42'. I would build it in 2 sections and have a 6'x 6' deck in the middle for turning the stretcher. Resale would be hard as it would be 5 years old.

  5. #5
    My suggestions are based on what we did at my house. L-shaped sounds ideal for what you're asking. If you'd post pics it'd make things easier. We built an L-shaped ramp coming off my back deck to emptying to my driveway. It's 36'' wide with 36'' railings on both sides. Not sure of the actual drop but you can see in the pics.

    Pic 1-Approx. 14'x3' ramp to a 4'x4' landing. The right turns to stairs for the backyard and left to driveway.
    Pic 2-Approx. 20'x3' ramp from landing to driveway.
    Pic 3-View from back of 1st pic's drop.

    A-We used treated wood donated from a friend's friend.

    B-No prob. supporting my powerchair as long as correct supports were installed during the build.

    C-The steepness will determine traction in inclement weather. ADA standards are 1' out for every 1'' of drop, so if you have 36'' high steps you will need 36' of ramp. If you build it privately with no permits you can make it to your liking like we did. However, if you hire a co., they will possibly adhere to ADA regs..

    D-A stretcher shouldn't be a prob., but the guys would have to lift above the railing at the turn.

    E-Very low maintence. All we do is pressure wash and stain once/year to protect the wood.

    F-I foresee no removal as if it's built nice it will add to the home as far as resale. You could actually build a small deck at the steps (6'x6') and then come off of it.

    G-No way to determine cost until you decide on something. Do you have friends that could build it? My brother and friends built mine and I was luckily only out pizza and beer. Go to your local church and home repair store and see if they'll help lend a hand.. couldn't hurt.





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  6. #6
    If you need to pull a permit you will probably need to follow ADA guidelines 1 foot of ramp for every inch of elevation. There are also ADA guidelines re size of platform at door and you will need a platform for so many feet of ramp (sorry I forgot how many feet of ramp require a platform). Ramp costs should be deductible.

  7. #7
    what we have always done is build a deck with 2 edges equaling the feet you need and wrapping the ramp around it. For example if you need 42 feet of ramp then do a deck with one edge being 20ft and the other edge being 22. Makes a nice big deck which always adds to resale if made nicely. Though we've never buolt a ramp with the 1:12 grade as a powerchair doesn't need such a slight incline. Our first deck was plywood which did get icy if not shoveled promptly, our current deck is cedar boards which does not get slippery as the slats create traction.
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.

  8. #8
    Senior Member feisty's Avatar
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    I can tell you that on my ramp for my front door (which is discreet, short and steep and pretty much just an emergency usage thing) which is painted to match the house, we used grip tape (sold in skateboard shops or online) for traction on the painted surface.
    An administrator made me remove my signature.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Doorman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp
    If you need to pull a permit you will probably need to follow ADA guidelines 1 foot of ramp for every inch of elevation. There are also ADA guidelines re size of platform at door and you will need a platform for so many feet of ramp (sorry I forgot how many feet of ramp require a platform). Ramp costs should be deductible.
    You only need to follow ADA guidelines in public places.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Based on the information you provided, I would chose the L shape and use PT SYP. As has been said, ADA guidelines call for a 1/12 maximum slope, but the pitch you use will be determined by safety, available space and perhaps your local codes. The ADA calls for a maximum uninterrupted run of 30' before arriving at a flat with a 5' turning radius.
    Foolish

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