Choosing a Wheelchair Ramp for Your Home

Ramp in front of house

Here at Oakley Home Access we field a lot of questions from homeowners when they must weigh their options for a wheelchair ramp at their home. The most popular question that we receive is “Should I consider constructing a wooden ramp or would it be better to install an aluminum ramp?” We always encourage an aluminum ramp as it is a much better investment.

Which Is Simpler to Install?

Aluminum ramps are modular and are customizable to virtually any configuration. You have options for both straight sections and custom platforms. You can add or takeaway lengths of aluminum ramp as well as choose from a wide variety of railing options.

Installation of a modular ramp system generally takes our certified technicians 1-3 hours, which is great if you need a ramp quickly due to something unexpected or a discharge from a rehab facility or hospital. Oakley Home Access has a stock of rental ramps, also, adding to the ease of installation.

Will the Addition of a Ramp Be Considered a Home Renovation?

Only if you you choose to construct a wooden ramp which requires concrete footings to be poured. You will also need to get a building permit.

Aluminum ramps, on the other hand, do not require a permit throughout most of Rhode Island and concrete footings are not needed. This saves on the cost of the ramp and saves valuable time if you need a ramp installed in a short period of time. 

Additionally, a wooden ramp will need to pass an inspection after construction. You can be worry free with an aluminum ramp as there will be no building official who might require tearing down of the ramp if not built exactly to code.

What if I Plan to Move?

You can take an aluminum ramp with you  as they are easily removable…an outstanding benefit for those who reside in a rental property. The aluminum ramp can be moved from home to home. Wooden ramps, on the other hand, are permanent and very difficult to remove.

Are Aluminum Ramps Safe?

Aluminum ramps are safer than wooden ramps in rainy or snowy conditions. They have a textured surface that will help wheelchair users and caregivers in inclement weather. While you could add non-slip tape to a wooden ramp to help with traction, the tape will eventually loosen and peel off.  

What About Maintenance?

Wooden ramps require much more maintenance than aluminum. This care can include yearly painting, pressure-treating, termite inspections, repair of any weather damage, and application of non stick tape. Aluminum ramps, however, are almost maintenance free. If you use pet-friendly ice melt to treat  snow or ice be sure to hose it off with warm water to clean at the end of the season. And one of the best benefits of choosing aluminum is that there is a lifetime warranty on parts of the aluminum ramp.

What About Storage?

Once constructed, a wooden ramp is a permanent addition to your home. Even if your needs change, you will not be able to remove and store it. If you move, the ramp will stay with the home. An aluminum ramp, though,  can be stored when no longer needed and even move with you to a new home. If a space is smaller or larger, adding or removing sections is possible to accommodate the new dimensions.

To learn more about aluminum ramps, our rental program, or to schedule a Free Home Safety Assessment, please contact us at 401-429-3882