6 Tips to Winterize an Aluminum Handicap Ramp

Nathan Colburn Articles, Blog, Education

When cold weather, snow and ice hit, the surface of an aluminum handicap ramp can get slick. In order to prevent slips and falls during the winter, and to get the most out of a modular, aluminum handicap ramp, here are 6 tips to help winterize your ramp.

Aluminum Handicap Ramp Winterization

A winterized aluminum handicap ramp clear of ice and snow during winter

An aluminum handicap ramp

Try any combination of the following to properly winterize your ramp:

  1. Apply Sand: Much like the roads, applying a thin layer of sand to the ramp’s surface can help prevent skids when walking or when rolling down the ramp. The downside is having to kick dust off shoes or wheels before entering a home.
  2. Sweep with a broom: Clearing snow with a broom instead of a metal-edged shovel can help preserve the life of the ramp, and can prevent scratches, nicks and bumps so that the ramp looks good over time.
  3. Outdoor rubber ramp mat: Place down rubber ramp mats on top of the surface to increase traction and grip for both feet and wheels. Rubber ramp mats can be lifted and shaken off with ease.
  4. Heating pads or heat tape: Placing heating pads underneath the mats, or installing heat tape along the seams of the ramp will not allow ice to form, and will also help to melt snow off the ramp.
  5. Consider powder coating:  Powder coating can give new visual life to your ramp, as many colors are available, plus it provides extra protection against corrosive materials, like ice melts.
  6. Don’t forget the handrails:  Maintaining the surface of the ramp on which one steps or rolls on is important, but the handrails may also need a look over. Tighten any nuts or bolts to make sure the grip stays secure.

Ice Melting Chemicals to Avoid on Aluminum Handicap Ramps

To help extend the life, quality and look of an aluminum ramp, it is strongly recommended to avoid using the following chemical products to melt away snow and ice:

  • Rock salt (sodium chloride): This popular de-icer can cause the metal parts to rust, weaken or corrode.
  • Magnesium chloride: A rock salt alternative, this chemical can have the same negative effects of rock salt. Compare rock salt and magnesium chloride.
  • Antifreeze: Not only dangerous and slippery when applied, it simply doesn’t work. Stick to only applying it to cars.
  • Metal snow shovels: May scratch the surface of the ramp and allow water or other substances to penetrate the material, which may weaken the ramp’s structural integrity.
  • Adhesive texture/anti-slip strips: Any kind of glue may become permanent, and during warm summer months, the goo will show and the ramp will flat out look bad. Anti-slip strips simply can’t take cold weather and their stickiness don’t last when wet. These also may leave behind an undesirable marks when peeled back after the winter season.

How to Winterize Concrete and Wood Ramps?

If your ramp is not made of aluminum, or perhaps you have a concrete or wood ramp. See these Handicap Ramp Winter Safety Tips.

Are there any other handicap ramp winterization tips or methods you have tried? Email us and we may add your ideas to this article.