An aluminum modular handicap ramp installed at the front entrance of a home, with an Accessible Systems truck parked in the driveway.

How to Choose the Right Handicap Ramp for Your Home

Nathan Colburn Education

Whether you need a temporary handicap ramp after surgery or are in need of a permanent solution for your home, choosing a ramp can be confusing. There are a number of factors that impact your decision to purchase a ramp and what type of ramp you choose.

Portable or Permanent Handicap Ramp

Knowing how you would like to use your handicap ramp impacts whether your ramp should be a permanent feature of your home or a portable accessibility accessory. Ramps with a vertical rise of more than 30 inches, wooden or metal modular ramps are all considered to be permanent structures. These types of ramps are typically a little more expensive and require professional installation, but they provide continuous and safe access to a home. A portable ramp is easy to install by yourself or with a family member’s help and doesn’t require any sort of home modification, and it can be taken on the go like when moving it from one entrance to another around your home. Portable ramps typically fold down for ease of transport and have handles like a briefcase to make them easy to carry.

How Big Does My Handicap Ramp Need to Be?

Accurate measurements are important when it comes to getting the right size ramp for your home. The areas to measure include the width of the threshold, landing or step where the ramp will be installed. Another measurement is the vertical rise or the overall height from where the ramp will rest to the ground. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), i tis required that for every 1″ of rise you have that there must be 1 foot of ramp. The ADA guidelines also require ramps that have less than a 36″ width to have a level platform at the top and bottom. A reasonable slope and safe width help ensure the user’s safety. See our Ultimate Wheelchair Ramp Guide for additional specifications and illustrations.

Metal, Wood or Concrete Ramp?

One of the most significant decisions you will need to make about your handicap ramp is what type of material it is made from.

    • Metal – Choosing a ramp made of metal, also called a modular ramp, typically made of aluminum, allows you to customize the set up to meet your needs. Any combination of handrails and platforms is possible. Modular ramps are able to be set up quickly and can be easily modified should your needs change. While they are susceptible to dents and don’t accent the landscaping of your home like a wood ramp would, they are virtually maintenance free.
    • Wood – Designed and built to your specifications, wood ramps reflect the style of your home and can add beauty to the exterior of the house. Regular maintenance to prevent rotting is required, and you will need to have some type of anti-slip device or grit tape placed on the ramp for proper traction. Custom built wooden ramps take longer to construct than a modular ramp.
    • Concrete – Concrete ramps are another low maintenance solution for your ramp needs. Decorative, custom metal railings can be added to the ramp to make it more visually appealing. Unlike modular ramps, concrete ramps can follow the natural curve of your property or existing landscaping. Textured concrete provides a non-slip surface for easy use by walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters.
    concrete ramp and railing

    A concrete ramp and metal railing

    Not sure what type of ramp is best for your home or accessibility needs? Let our expert team help you decide! Call or fill out the form below to schedule your free, in-home consultation today!