NOVEMBER 21, 2013
1. What is the difference between a portable, semi-permanent, and permanent ramp?
Portable ramps are light weight and can fold up so that they can be moved around. These are good for traveling and can be used at home or when out in public places. Semi-permanent ramps are heavier and do not fold. They can be moved around the outside of the house as they rest on the top of the stairs to create a slope, but they are harder to transport. Permanent ramps are bolted into the ground or created over the stairway and stay where they are installed.
2. What are the best construction materials for a ramp?
Outdoor ramps are usually made out of aluminum, wood, or concrete, but this is often determined by whether they are permanent or portable. Aluminum is more durable then wood, and concrete holds up better than both.
3. What is the difference between a stairway lift and an outdoor ramp?
A stairway lifts is a motorized ramp that attaches to a wheelchair or scooter and carries them up the stairs. These are smaller than outdoor ramps and allow for other people to use the stair even while the stairway lift is in operation.
4. What difference does the surface of the ramp make for safety?
Wood ramps can often get slippery in the rain, and even treated wood can rot over time. Aluminum ramps can freeze easily and cause icing, but will often have a grit surface or ridges to facilitate traction. These ramps can also support more weight than wooden ramps and do not break down as easily over time. Concrete ramps can ice, but they are not prone to breaking and offer the best traction and support, but they will often cover the full surface of any existing stairs.
5. How steep should the ramp be?
Ramps should have as little of a slope as possible, since a steeper ramp is more inclined to produce slippage. The Americans with Disabilities Acts requires a 1:12 slope, which ensures that a wheelchair or scooter can safely make it up the ramp without too much strain on the person or the motor.