How to Build a Handicap Ramp for the Front Door

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The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that requires businesses to have certain handicap accessibilities, such as wheelchair ramps. However, the ADA makes no provisions for residential buildings. The ADA does recommend that even homes have handicap ramps to the front door at a ratio of 12 inches of ramp to every three inches of raise.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Power saw
  • Hand saw
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Nail gun
  • Staple gun
  • Sand paper
  • Hand plane
  • Paint
  • Calculate how big your ramp needs to be based on how high off the floor is the front door of your home. For example, if your front door is three inches above the floor, you’ll need a 12-inch ramp. If your front door is 36 inches off the floor (three feet), you’ll need 12 feet of ramp.

  • Obtain four wooden beams, two as tall as the height from the floor to your front door and two as long as your front door is wide.

  • Nail the pieces together to make a rectangular frame using a hammer and nails.

  • Obtain another two beams of wood that are as long as the length your ramp needs to be and a third piece that is as long as your front door is wide.

  • Nail the longer beams to one end of the structure built in step three.

  • Nail the third beam, which is as long as your front door is wide, to the long beams at the other end. This will complete the base of your ramp.

  • Cut a 45-degree angle at each of the four ends of the frame so that the angles are going down into the frame, using a power saw or hand saw to make the cuts.

  • Obtain another two wooden beams as long as the length of the ramp and cut 45-degree angles at either side of the beam.

  • Nail these beams to the frame that was built on step six, one on each side.

  • Attach the frame to your home by drilling in screws from the back of the frame into the space underneath your front door.

  • Cut a piece of plywood to the dimensions of your frame, if you have a long frame. For a longer ramp, you may need to have more than one piece of plywood.

  • Nail the plywood to the frame using a nail gun or staple gun. This will complete the ramp.

  • Smooth out the ramp using sandpaper, or a hand plane.

  • Paint the ramp whatever color you prefer.

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