Banner Logo Icon

5 Common Myths of Ramp Installation

An elderly gentleman in a wheelchair outdoors with his family
September 25, 2018

Ramps have been used for thousands of years since Archimedes conceptualized their use in the second century BC, and it is thought that ramps were used to raise the stones that built the Great Pyramid. While it may seem like a flat board placed on an angle could make a usable ramp, this “solution” could result in a ramp that’s too steep, plus the lack of handrails, toe guards and textured surfaces could all cause the users to fall or harm themselves. Considering the ease in which someone can go up an incline based on their mobility device, there are guidelines on the degree of pitch a ramp should have. If you are going to be propelling yourself up a ramp, a 4.8° slope is recommended with stopping points for longer lengths. If you are using an electronic device, you can use a slightly steeper ramp. An unsafe ramp can be as dangerous as no ramp at all.

#1: A Piece Of Plywood Is A Ramp

Yes, a ramp can be made of a piece of plywood; however, plywood becomes very slippery when it gets wet.  Plywood can swell when it becomes wet reducing the integrity of the bonds between the laminates. National Ramp has a kiln-dried yellow pine decking option called the Victory Series that allows the rain to pass between the boards.  Once you stain or paint your Victory Ramp you will reduce the risk of deterioration of your wood ramp.

#2: I Need An Architect And Contractor To Build A Ramp

While you can go the costly route of hiring an architect and they will spec out exactly what needs to be built, this lengthy process will not allow you to get in and out of your home quickly. National Ramp’s modular ramps in most cases can be ordered and installed within a few days.  This will allow you to get in and out of your home faster than asap – right now. When speed is what you need National Ramp is here to solve your problem.

#3: A Steep Ramp Is No Problem

The common misconception is that a ramp doesn’t need to be very long.  A little longer than the stairs will be fine for Mom and Dad. You are setting yourself up for disaster — or injury — with this line of thinking. Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, states that for every inch of rise you must have one foot of run. What does that mean? For a one-foot step you need a twelve-foot length ramp to comfortably go up and down. If you have a power chair you can manage a slightly steeper incline. A ramp is a medical safety device, not a rollercoaster ride.

#4: Handrails Are Not Needed For A Ramp

If the rise is higher than 6 inches off the ground, your ramp needs a railing.  Railings aren’t just to keep you from falling over the edge of the ramp, they are also there to provide you with support to pull yourself along the ramp. Toe guards are also an essential part of the ramp, to make sure that a mobility device or user’s foot can’t slip off the side of the ramp.

#5: Ramps Are A Permanent Addition To My Home

Modular ramps don’t have to be a permanent addition to your home. National Ramp products are designed to provide long-term quality without permanently altering your home. Modular ramps are perfect for temporary use, such as for a family member recovering from surgery, but an aluminum modular ramp, such as the Breeze Series (with a lifetime warranty) could provide independence for many years to come.  With Modular Ramp Rentals, National Ramp has solutions for whatever the length of your need.