Residential ramps can create a safe path for wheelchair and mobility scooter users so that they can access their homes with ease.
High-quality ramps offer users the ability to conveniently navigate raised thresholds, entryway steps, vehicles, elevated landings, and other barriers that may stand in their way. These residential ramps are available in various sizes, styles, and shapes so that individuals can select the right one for their specific needs and barriers that they encounter.
One of the most popular types of residential ramps is a modular ramp system, which is what this particular guide will cover. A ramp system’s versatility is significant because of its modular design that allows it to truly be customized for each home that it provides access to, and it has the ability to reach greater heights, making it a go-to option for so many.
Throughout this guide, we will deep dive into several more aspects of a residential ramp system and the important factors to consider when configuring the ramp that is going to best suit your needs.
Residential Ramp System Guide
There are several critical elements that one must consider when evaluating a home for a residential ramp system installation, and many fundamental components that need to be addressed in order to help ensure an ideal configuration. Below we will highlight some of those.
1. Attractive design — If the ramp system is going to be a permanent fixture in front of your home, you should consider the look of it. Being able to ensure that it will stand the test of time and not degrade and become an eyesore is key. This is why aluminum ramps are known for their attractive, architectural look that will not deteriorate overtime like a wood ramp.
One tip we do have to make the ramp blend in a bit more and match the design of the home is by landscaping around it. Another tip is being cognizant of the length of your ramp by taking advantage of existing grade elevations to cut down on the space it will consume.
2. Slope — ‘Slope’ refers to the steepness of your ramp. The slope is an important consideration as it affects the level of ease of traveling up or down the ramp. A steeper slope can be difficult and unsafe for some users, and can even present challenges for powered mobility devices such as power chairs and scooters. Experts recommend ramps have a slope no steeper than 1:12. This means that there should be a 12 inches of ramp for every inch of height that needs to be overcome. You can also consider slopes of 1:15, 1:18, or 1:20, which require less effort and may be better suited for wheelchair users with limited stamina or strength.
3. Shape — Residential ramps are available in different shapes. Common shapes include L-shaped, U-shaped, switchback-shaped, and straight ramps. Factors such as the grading constraints of your preferred location, the amount of space you have available, and the length of ramp needed will determine the shape of your residential ramp. For example, if you need a longer ramp, but have some space constraints, a switchback may be ideal.
4. Ramp design — In most homes, the main floor normally sits above a set of entry stairs, a deck, or an elevated porch. The main purpose of installing ramps is to eliminate these barriers. Normally, most houses have more than one-step. As a result, it is fundamental to make sure that the ramp accommodates the exact rise. To do this, the ramp system may be attached directly to the porch or a platform at the top of the ramp may need to be added for a flush transition between entryway and ramp.
Another design element that should be considered is how much of the main entrance the ramp takes up. If a secondary entrance is needed and can fit, you may want to consider adding a set of stairs off to the side of the ramp for others to utilize.
5. Landings — All ramps require landing areas. These landing areas are located at the top and bottom of the ramp, and sometimes the middle if the length and design of the ramp requires it. Landing areas allow users to maintain balance when opening doors, rest for a moment before continuing travel, and safely change direction when turning. If an existing landing isn’t present, platforms are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to ensure sufficient maneuvering room.
6. Length and width — Knowing the rise and desired slope are the variables you need to determine ramp length. Also worth noting is residential ramps ideally should not span more than 30 ft. in length between landings to help ensure those using manual mobility devices can have a resting area before continuing on to the remaining parts of the ramp system.
As far as width is concerned, the type of mobility equipment being used will help determine the width of your residential ramp. Making sure the ramp is wide enough to accommodate the equipment is essential.
7. Space — Most residential ramp systems require lots of space, especially if they are being used to overcome significant ground-level changes, so it’s important to take all of the dimensions into account such as length, width, height, as well as shape, when mapping out where your ramp system will be installed.
8. Weight tolerance — Prior to installing a residential ramp system, it’s vital to check if the ramp’s weight capacity can support the user, as well as their equipment and qualified helper.
9. Features — Don’t forget the safety features when mapping out your ramp configuration and installation. Features such as handrails should be discussed in order to make sure they suit your needs. Questions should be asked like, “do we need pickets added to our handrails for additional safety”.
10. Location — Ramps are not only limited to the disabled; other able-bodied people living in your home may also use these devices for walking, so making sure things like headroom are important to take a look at. You may need to get rid of hanging or protruding objects, low awnings, etc.
Also, items including air conditioners, window flower boxes, etc. may need to be displaced because they interfere with the ramp system and become an obstacle.
You should also consider the terrain, the driveway location, the parking, and the entrance into your home when determining the correct position for your residential ramp. For example, if the goal is to make it easier to get from the house to the car, the ramp system should be located in such a manner that efficiently gets the user there without extra work or navigation of other obstacles.
11. Traction — Lastly, traction is vital on any ramp. A ramp system with superior slip-resistance will allow wheelchair users to climb or descend both safely and easily. Traction is also good for braking, especially in wet conditions.
This residential ramp system installation guide has highlighted many of the important factors that you ought to consider when getting ready to implement a ramp system at your home or a loved one’s. Once you have determined your preferred design, location, and size of your ramp, consider collaborating with our reliable residential ramp dealers when purchasing and installing your ramp. Our experts will help you with your home evaluation, and will review and double-check if everything will work as per your expectations.