Whether you’re a longtime wheelchair user, a new one, or if you have a friend, family member, or housemate who uses a mobility device, it’s important to think about installing an access ramp in your Gainesville home. Having an accessible home enhances the quality of life for those who use an electric wheelchair scooter, and makes it a safer environment overall.
Choosing the right access ramp for your home is a big decision, as ramps are not “one size fits all.” In order for you to have the safest and most comfortable life possible, you need to be careful and considerate when selecting an access ramp.
However, making sure that you choose the right one can be overwhelming. You may not know where to start or what to look for. There are so many factors to consider.
Never fear. We’re here to help. Here is a complete guide on how to choose the best access ramp for your home.
ADA Access Ramp Requirements
To have a safe and well-functioning access ramp, you should adhere to some guidelines. If you’re installing a ramp in your home in Gainesville, you don’t legally need to comply with ADA requirements, but it’s a good baseline for making sure that your ramp is safe.
The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. This important civil rights law upholds the rights of Americans with disabilities and helps ensure a safe and healthy environment for all. They specifically have guidelines when it comes to ramps that can be helpful to know about.
Some of the ADA access ramp requirements are as follows:
- Maximum slope of 1:12
- Minimum of 36 inches wide
- Handrails required on an ADA ramp with a rise greater than 6 inches
- Maximum rise of 30 inches per run
- Surfaces must all be stable and slip-resistant with edge protection on all sides
- Must be even, level landings at the top and bottom of the ramp with a minimum area of 5 square feet
These, of course, are the maximum and minimum requirements. Your situation might call for some of these measurements to be adjusted depending on your specific needs, but it’s a good idea to keep them in mind when selecting an access ramp.
Consider Your Mobility Device Type
The type of mobility device that you use makes a big difference in the type of disability ramp that you’ll need. You need the right ramp that can support your weight easily and frequently.
Whether you have a wheelchair, scooter, walker, or another type of device, you should look up the specific dimensions. These are usually available on the manufacturer’s website. You should also take into account the bodyweight of the person using the mobility device, the bodyweight of any caretakers, and any other items that may be being carried up or down the ramp as well.
It’s also, in general, safer to overshoot. You should choose a ramp that can easily support your weight to prevent any accidents.
Decide On the Ramp Location
Another important thing to consider when choosing a wheelchair ramp is where you’re planning to put it. Do you need one for your front steps? An indoor landing, or a doorway?
You should also think about your goals when deciding on a location. For example, if you’re frequently in your backyard, then you may want to choose your backdoor as the location for your ramp instead of your front door. Wherever you choose to put your ramp, you should make sure that the base surface is stable and level so that the ramp won’t shift or move, and the ramp user can make it safely on and off.
You also need to consider the exterior features of your Gainesville house and other environmental factors. Sidewalks, awkward door placements, or nearby plants and trees can all make a difference. Make sure that you have room for ADA-approved landings on both the top and the bottom of the ramp.
Maybe you already have an accessible home or accessible apartment, but you need a ramp to get your mobility device into your vehicle. You can also get it installed directly into your car. Make sure, however, that you don’t get one that is too steep, because even though it’s for unoccupied use, there’s still a risk of it falling off and being damaged.
Think About Portability
If you travel frequently, then a portable ramp is a great idea. They’re also great if you rent your home or are planning on moving in the future, or if you’re in recovery from an injury or illness and will not be permanently needing a wheelchair or scooter.
Portable ramps are usually made from lightweight materials and often have attached handles. You can get folding ramps that can easily fit into your vehicle, or you can also look into semi-permanent or modular ramp options.
Consider The Slope
The slope, or the steepness of the ramp, is also a very important feature to consider when choosing an access ramp. You should make sure that you have a large enough ramp to cover the area that you need to roll over. This is essential in making sure that your incline isn’t too steep and will keep you and anyone else using the ramp safe.
You should know the vertical rise of the area that you’re placing a ramp over and the total available space that you have on both the top and bottom of the ramp placement. As mentioned above, the general rule is to have a slope of 1:12, but it’s a good idea to go for ramps that are more along the lines of 1:16-1:20 to be safe.
Look Into Special Features
There are also additional features that you could benefit from that would be good for you to look into. Handrails, for example, are an excellent feature that you should consider, especially if the user needs a caretaker who will also be using the access ramp.
Safety side curbs are also wise if you don’t need handrails. They’re an extra safety step to ensure the mobility device doesn’t roll over the side, preventing dangerous and potentially life-threatening accidents.
Lip extensions at the top of the access ramp can also help to make a smoother transition between the ramp and the surface. Also, if you need a permanent or semi-permanent ramp, you should look into ramps that have mounting holes and pins to make your installation easier.
Get An Access Ramp for Your Gainesville Home Today
Ramps are important to make your Gainesville home more accessible. If you want to make your home as safe and comfortable as possible, then you need to install an access ramp. It’s essential for enriching the quality of life for you and all your loved ones.
Contact us to get an in-home assessment today.