How to Build a Wheelchair Ramp on Your Home

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The ideal wheelchair ramp for the home should be made of wood rather than concrete or metal. This gives the home a pleasant look as well as makes the task of building the ramp much easier. A wheelchair ramp is required for all handicapped homeowners or occupants, and it comes in handy for loved ones who visit as well. Most homes require that a ramp be built at both front and back entrances. A wheelchair ramp will also increase the value of property of your home. Before building your wheelchair ramp, check to see if you need a permit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood Tape measure Snap chalk Circular saw Hammer Nails Ready-mix concrete Pencil Post hole digger
  • Determine the design and length of the ramp you wish to build. Measure the height of the surface the ramp will be leading to. Multiply this number by 12 to get the minimum length requirement for the ramp. Your ramp can not be any shorter than this length, but it can be longer. Decide whether you want to build a switchback, L-shape or U-shape ramp.

  • Mark the length and width of the area where the ramp will be constructed with snap chalk. The wheelchair ramp must be a minimum of 36 inches in width. Constructing a ramp that is between 40 and 45 inches will ensure that there is enough room for the wheelchair to maneuver easily.

  • Mark the chalk line where each post hole will be placed. There should be a post on each end of the wheelchair ramp. Each post in between should be spaced 48 inches apart to ensure the ramp will be sturdy. Make sure that there will be posts directly across from one another on both sides of the ramp. Dig the post holes.

  • Cut the posts to the desired length for the ramp. Each post must be 24 inches from the ground to the bottom of the ramp, and 36 inches from the ramp floor up. Each post will be a different length. They should be put in a row from shortest to longest. The shortest should be placed at the foot of the ramp, while the longest should be at the top.

  • Secure each post with concrete. Have a friend or partner assist you. One person should hold the post so that it is completely vertical and the other should pour the cement. Make sure that the post is straight before the concrete dries.

  • Mark the posts for the sideboards. Start at the top and mark the post where it is level with the surface the ramp leads to. Move down, marking each post 4 inches lower than the previous post.

  • Attach the sideboards on both the inside and outside of the posts with a hammer and nails. Begin at the high end of the ramp and work your way down, adding one nail at the beginning but two or three on the second post and so on. Add additional nails to the first post after the others have been nailed to the sideboards.

  • Cut the proper pieces needed with a circular saw to create floor joists for the ramp. Lay the boards flat across the sideboards and nail them into position every 24 to 36 inches apart.

  • Cut the pieces needed to create the floor of the ramp with the circular saw. Use 3/4-inch thick plywood pieces and lay them out so that they stretch the length of the floor. Nail them securely to the sides and floor joists.

  • Attach side rails to the posts. Nail 1- by 4-inch boards to the posts on both sides of the ramp. Make sure they are nailed sturdily to prevent accidents if someone should grab onto them for support.

  • Walk along the ramp to test the sturdiness. Check the nails to make sure they are secure before anyone uses the new wheelchair ramp.

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References

  • Photo Credit tape measure ruler image by MichMac from Fotolia.com
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