There comes a time when every wood ramp must be replaced.
Sometimes a storm will do some serious damage, and other times it needs to be replaced after years of wear and tear. If you’re unsure whether or not your wood ramp needs replacing, check out this blog we wrote for Knowing When It’s Time to Replace a Wood Ramp. After you decide to take out the wood ramp, here are the necessary steps for replacing it:
Tear Down the Ramp
The entire ramp and all of its parts and pieces will need to be properly taken down and removed so that the new ramp can offer safe access to the entrance. After tearing down and removing the wood ramp in its entirety, make sure to appropriately dispose of the materials.
If by chance there’s currently not a wood ramp in place, but a set of steps made of wood or another type of material that has taken a beating over the years and needs to be replaced with a more reliable material and/or a solution that will offer safe, compliant access, you may want to consider leaving the steps intact and simply building a new ramp right over the top of them.
Determine the Replacement Ramp Material
There are four common materials that are often used for building a wheelchair accessible ramp: wood, concrete, steel, and aluminum. You’ve most likely experienced the maintenance required for a wood ramp and how easily the material can deteriorate, which are reasons we wouldn’t recommend wood for your rebuild. Long story short, aluminum is the most low-maintenance and easy-to-install solution that can also be custom made for the building the ramp is designed for. If you want more details on all four types of ramp materials, take a look at this article: 4 Types of Materials for Commercial Ramps.
Verify Code Compliance Requirements
When something is built for public access, it needs to meet ADA guidelines as well as relevant codes. This is especially true for ramps because they are the primary way individuals with limited mobility can safely access outdoor and indoor spaces. If you have general questions about the ADA, the ADA National Network is a great resource. If you’re interested in specific design standards, go straight to the source with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Measure for Proper Ramp Size
In order to figure out how wide and long the ramp needs to be, record these three dimensions:
- Door Width
- Door Swing
- Height from Ground to Door Threshold
Door width and door swing will help you determine how wide the ramp or platform needs to be to accommodate the entrance, but also confirm the measurements required by the ADA. The height from the ground to the door threshold helps determine how long the ramp needs to be, as the ADA recommends a 1:12 slope, which is determined by how high the entrance is from the starting point (in most cases this is the ground). A 1:12 slope means that for every 1” of rise (height straight up from the ground), there should be 12” in ramp length. Feel free to ask our Customer Service Team any questions you have about measurements, or use our nifty incline calculator to quickly determine ramp length.
Determine Ramp Style and Customization
Every location is different, which requires custom solutions to meet the needs of the property. For example, if a second point of entry is needed, there can always be another ramp or a set of steps added. We often see a set of steps added to a ramp system at school locations for portable classrooms. Another example of a customization would be adding a lower handrail that’s easier for children and individuals with limited mobility to reach.
As far as styles go, this also depends on the building structure and what the ramp will be used for. Ramp styles can be as simple as a straight ramp run or can get more complicated with several turning points or levels. Check out some of our commercial capabilities to see how previous commercial projects have configured our modular access system.
Install New Ramp
The last step is to install the ramp. The nice thing about installing an aluminum ramp is that it requires far less time to assemble and install, which means lower labor costs for getting the ramp set up. We guarantee to ship standard, pre-assembled ramp parts 24-48 hours after the time of purchase, so get your expert installers ready and have an access solution in place within a matter of hours after the system arrives!
As always, if you have any questions, reach out to our Customer Service Team to talk to our friendly and knowledgeable aluminum ramp experts.