How to build a low wheelchair ramp for a house

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How to Build a Low Wheelchair Ramp for a House

Introduction

Building your own low wheelchair ramp for the home is possible, but with a lot of careful planning as well as physical and practical considerations, such as how the added structure will affect the mobility of other members of the home. Decisions on the most appropriate ramp location, its aesthetic/ visual effect, and actual construction needs are among other important issues you must address before embarking on a permanent construction.

To help you make a correct long-term assessment, consider building a temporary ramp, such as this simple 58-inch-long x 42-inch-wide ramping module. During a dry-run period, re-assess your ramping needs and correct any possible misjudgment that may go with your initial project.

Instructions

Things You'll Need:

* 4 2x6 by 55" Joists (order two 2x6x10)

* 2 2x6 by 42" End pcs. (order one 2x6x8 and cut 2 end pieces)

* 10 5/4" x 6" by 42" Decking (order 14' decking and cut 4 pieces from each) 2½ 14' decking = 10 42" pieces

* 80 2 1/2" Deck screws (8 per decking plank)

* 16 3" Deck screws (to attach end pieces to joists)

* 8 2x6 Joist hangers

* 64 Joist hanger nails (8 per hanger)

* Drill

Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1

Cut 4 joists and end pieces from 2x6x10 joists to length. Assemble them on a flat surface. Space the joists 14 inches apart on the center.

Step 2

Use 3-inch screws to join the end pieces to the ends of the joists.

Step 3

Ensure that the module is square. Then nail on the joist hangers.

Step 4

Bend the outside flange of the four-corner joist hangers flat against the module's end pieces.

Step 5

To add decking, first remove the decking end pieces during the ramp assembly. The decking may be connected after Step 4 or after the module frame is placed in a ramp.

Step 6

Drill a 3/8-inch hole. This should be centered on the end pieces. Then drill two 3/8-inch holes that are 6 inches apart from each side. All three holes must be vertically centered on the end piece.

Tips:

1. Before deciding to build a ramp ask yourself if a ramp is the best solution.

2. Situate the ramp at a lesser-traveled exit.

3. If your home has no exit with a ramping option, you may have to create a new exit (e.g. convert an existing window into a new doorway).

4. Stairs off the ramp's top landing is a good design feature to incorporate, to enable household members and visitors to enter/exit directly without having to use the rampway.

5. Consider if the ramp's location will compete with yard uses.

6. Positioning the ramp to the back or to the side of the house may contribute to household security.

Warnings:

1. Don't ramp a main pathway. This might create a problem for other household members.

2. Very long straight ramps or those that project directly out into a yard may look unappealing.

3. Avoid locating ramps near trees or bushes that drop pods or leaves.

REFERENCES:

How to Build Ramps for Home Accessibility (http://www.wheelchairramp.org/rampman/manual/rampindx.htm)

Resources:

Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (www.mcil-mn.org/)

Ramp Project (http://www.mcil-mn.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=14)