Health and mobility are not guaranteed. While everyone likely wishes for prolonged health, age and accidents have a way of interfering with the best-laid plans.
For some people, the use of a wheelchair will become a permanent part of their lives, for others, it is only temporary. In either case, the use of a wheelchair ramp is likely necessary to make life a little more manageable and everyday routines more accessible.
It is necessary to differentiate between car ramps and wheelchair ramps. A car ramp is a tool for raising an automobile to allow for maintenance tasks. While you might think a car ramp is a capable wheelchair ramp, remember that the car option typically has a stop at the top of the incline, making it challenging if not impossible to use as safe wheelchair access.
Beyond ensuring the ramp you choose is for wheelchair users, there are other things to consider. The rest of this blog will address the key points of ramp selection.
Materials To Consider
There are primarily three options when shopping: wood, rubber, and aluminum wheelchair ramps. Each material has pros and cons. Wood ramps are strong, permanent fixtures, and while they are aesthetically appealing, they require more maintenance than other options. Rubber ramps are ideal for thresholds and allowing for mobility throughout the home — inside and out — but they have their limits with length and height requirements. Finally, aluminum ramps are versatile and durable. They can be installed as permanent or temporary fixtures. The material is lightweight but can withstand all weather conditions, but you might need to apply a non-slip surface material in colder or wetter months.
Long-Term Versus Short-Term
Duration matters when selecting a ramp. For long-term needs, you might want to consider the appearance of the structure against your home. Wood ramps offer styling and coloring options. Aluminum ramps are becoming more customizable, and many companies will work with clients by offering rent-to-own options. For short-term needs, portable or modular ramps provide the most cost-effective solution, especially aluminum structures. 269
Outdoor Versus Indoor
Outdoor ramps typically need to go over several steps or around corners and onto a porch. For outdoor installations, you want to find a ramp that is durable and weather resistant. Out of the material options listed above, aluminum is the best choice.
You have more options when looking into indoor ramps or threshold ramps. These ramps typically come in rubber or aluminum, and both materials are excellent options. Some indoor ramps are adjustable and can support up to 750 lbs.
Before selecting and installing a ramp, remember to measure the wheelchair or another mobility device to determine the width requirements. You want to leave enough space to navigate the ramp. Most wheelchairs require 36 inches, but to allow for mobility, a measurement of 42 inches is preferred. Your specific needs might differ from this generalization.
When looking for a wheelchair ramp, it is necessary to consider all of your needs: location, duration, material, measurement, etc. If you are in the market for a wheelchair ramp, contact a local manufacturer for more information.