Mobility devices offer a new found freedom for those with difficulties getting around on their own. But if your home prohibits the use of them, the freedom you have gained is limited. Mobility ramps allow you to move in and out of your home easily and safely. Depending on the materials you choose, they can be lightweight and durable and will last for many years.
When considering the purchase of a mobility ramp there some factors to consider:
Do I need a permit? Before you purchase a mobility ramp, check to see whether or not you will need a building permit. Some cities may require you to obtain a permit in order to verify the ramp conforms to your local building codes.
Will the ramp be used inside or outside? Exterior ramps need to be weather proof. Consider the climate you live in. For instance, I live in the desert. I need a ramp that will hold up to extreme heat and uv rays.
How long of a mobility ramp do you need? Many people are surprised to learn how long a mobility ramp needs to be. The recommended ratio for a mobility ramp is 1:12. That means for every inch of rise there should be 12 inches of length. If you are using a manual wheelchair you should probably use a ratio of 1:20. This is especially true if the ramp is for an elderly person. Use the longest ramp you have room for. A steep ramp is difficult to climb and the possibility of tipping backwards exists. Any ramp with a 6 inch rise or more should have hand rails
Do I need a permanent mobility ramp? Permanent ramps are usually made of concrete. They last forever, but they are very expensive. Permanent ramps can also be made from galvanized steel or wood. Ramps made of these materials require a certain degree of maintenance.
What if I want to re-configure or move the mobility ramp later? Semi-permanent ramps are also called modular ramps. They are usually made from aluminum and are an attractive, flexible, easy to assemble alternative to permanent mobility ramps. Little or no site preparation is required and because of its modular design, these aluminum mobility ramps are perfect for when it is desirable to have a ramp where accessibility needs extend beyond the scope of portable ramps The modular mobility ramps design makes this system easily expandable because all of the sections are completely interchangeable. They can be moved and re-configured by adding 45, 90 and 180 degree turns depending on your needs. They are easy to install and remove and can store in a very small space.
What weight specifications do I need?Some ramps are designed for manual wheelchairs, some for electric wheelchairs, some for unoccupied wheelchairs and others for occupied. Be sure to check the weight specifications of the ramp to make sure that it will safely support how you intend to use it. Too often, people buy inexpensive wheelchair ramps, only to find out that they were designed for unoccupied wheelchairs.