A handicap-accessible ramp will support your family member's preference to remain independent. Choose the ramp materials that will be used to improve the accessibility, the layout, and the pitch of the ramp, and choose the finishing materials that will provide the ramp with increased stability.
Wood, aluminum, steel, and concrete are often used to construct handicap accessible ramps. Untreated lumber is relatively cheap in comparison to composite decking or sealed wood products, but you will need to add a clear preservative to the wooden surfaces that are exposed or complete routine upkeep to protect the wood from softening or rotting. A composite material that has been pre-treated can be laid out in sheets or can consist of narrow wooden boards that are aligned next to one another.
Aluminum, steel, and concrete are durable materials that can handle heavy loads. If you choose a metal material for the ramp, select a powder coating product that will enhance the color of the metal. With the installation of a ramp, you will be required to pay for materials and labor fees. Your construction contractor may furnish the ramp materials and charge you for them after the installation is complete.
The size of your property and whether or not your loved one has access to a motorized or manual wheelchair can influence the layout that you choose. There will need to be plenty of room for your family member to turn their wheelchair around, and this will require the addition of an upper landing spot.
If the entryway contains a door that swings outward, extra room will need to be added to the landing's design to prevent the door from hindering your relative's ability to move their wheelchair through the doorway. The pitch of the ramp should be consistent with the steepness that is used in commercial designs.
If you would like to add some additional safety features to the handicap ramp, choose a railing style and built-in or independent lighting. If your family member occasionally struggles to operate their wheelchair or if they have a caregiver who will be monitoring them when they enter and exit the home, a railing will provide hand support that either your relative or their caregiver can use while on the ramp. If the ramp will be used at night, having lights installed will make it possible for your loved one to see each part of the ramp and railing setup.
Talk to a contractor to learn more about installing a handicap accessibility ramp.