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Building a Removable Wheelchair Ramp

Synopsis: A removable wheelchair ramp is a solution for people who do not own their own homes or will only be using a wheelchair for a short period of time.1

Author: Thomas C. Weiss

Published: 2013-03-27 Updated: 2013-10-06

Main Digest

Wheelchair users often times encounter situations where they are visiting family members, friends, or associates who have a couple of stairs at the entrance of their homes, making those homes inaccessible to them. At other times, they may encounter places where having a simple, portable wheelchair ramp would greatly simply life and make a place accessible to them.

A removable wheelchair ramp is a wonderful solution for people who do not own their own homes, or will only be using a wheelchair for a short period of time as well. It is possible to save money by making a removable ramp of your own, something that is no more complicated than an intermediate level woodworking project.

In this article you will find some basic instructions concerning how to build your own removable wheelchair ramp. The instructions are laid out in fairly easy to follow plans. The plans involve five actions to follow.

First, measure the height of the entrance of the home from the ground. For example; if you have two four-inch steps leading to the front door, the figure would be eight inches. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for wheelchair ramps state there needs to be one foot of ramp length for each inch of rise. In this instance, the ramp you build would need to be at least eight feet long, not including the length of the platform or landing at the top of the ramp. The platform needs to be long and wide enough for a person using a wheelchair to completely turn around on.

Second, draw up the plans for the removable ramp. A number of people find that it is helpful to take photographs and measure the dimensions of the area where they want the ramp to go into place. Doing so can help you to decide the best shape and placement of the wheelchair ramp. You may also use your drawing to plan for the wood supplies you will need, as well as to apply for any needed permissions from your home owners association (HOA) or building permits.

Third, get some friends to help you. If you are a person with woodworking experience you might be able to handle the project on your own, but having another pair of hands can be very helpful. At the very least it can save you some time. Prior to beginning the drilling and cutting process, make your action plan. Begin with the landing first and build the ramp out from the landing itself. Otherwise, if your calculations are off, you might risk leaving either too little or too much room for a person using a wheelchair at the entrance of the door.

Fourth, be aware that the construction process itself may be broken down into three main components:

The foundation is something that is constructed using posts that may be pounded into soft ground so it can be moved more easily when needed. Some posts might require cementing into place to enhance their stability. Doing so can also make removing the ramp more difficult, yet it might be the most safe option for people using wheelchairs. A contractor has the ability to help you make the decision concerning whether or not cementing of the posts is necessary.

Additional posts might be needed for safety, depending upon the length of the ramp you build. After the posts are in place, build the framing for the landing and for the length of the ramp in the same way you would for a deck, reinforcing the joints for more stability. Attach the frame to the posts and complete the body of the ramp using decking boards.

Fifth, sand and seal the removable ramp. After the building of your ramp is complete, test the ramp to find out if anything needs to be adjusted or repaired. If you have access to a wheelchair, take some time and practice maneuvering up and down the ramp. Do not forget to turn around on the landing. Have a person who is able-bodied complete the test runs before a wheelchair user does, just in case there are any issues that need some last-minute attention.

Having a wheelchair ramp that makes the places you want to access available can be invaluable. In a world that has often times been designed for those who do not use wheelchairs, having some idea of how to build a ramp of your own can be just as valuable. Once you have successfully created the plans for your ramp and built one, be sure to keep the plans in case you need or want to replace it at a later date.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Thomas C. Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2013-03-27 - Revised: 2013-10-06. Title: Building a Removable Wheelchair Ramp, Source: <a href=>Building a Removable Wheelchair Ramp</a>. Retrieved 2021-03-06, from - Reference: DW#226-9656.