One of the greatest misconceptions is how long a ramp should be. To get the right safety features The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says it must be set at a Pitch of 1:12. This means that for every 1 inch of rise or step height there must be at least 1 foot length of ramp.
At National Ramp, we follow the ADA ramp guidelines when constructing our ramps for customers. Following ADA requirements for ramps ensures each model is safe and easily accessible for people with disabilities, whether they use a wheelchair, scooter or another mobility aid.
All of the ramps we supply are compliant with the ADA. Learn more about the ADA requirements for ramps and the benefits of having a wheelchair ramp on your property.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Signed into law in 1990 by George H.W. Bush, it sets standards for access to public spaces and buildings, among many other protections. Within the ADA are guidelines for safe ramps. These guidelines are required for commercial and public properties. While not mandatory for residential properties, each requirement serves a useful function, and National Ramp encourages adherence to these guidelines as much as feasibly possible.
Watch this video to learn more about ramp pitch.
There should be a minimum 4×5 flat surface at the door if the ramp extends straight out, or 5×5 flat surface if the ramp is turning.
The purpose of this guideline is to give users and caretakers a safe, level surface to open/shut their doors and turn around before continuing onto the ramp.
This level surface may be a porch/deck, and sometimes just a small threshold ramp will be needed to help navigate through the doorway.
Ramps should have a 1:12 pitch, so for every inch of elevation, there should be 12 inches of ramping. This results in a 4.8* slope.
National Ramp recommends no greater than a 1:8 pitch, and only for users in a power wheelchair or manual wheelchair being pushed up the ramp.
Resting platforms of 4’x5’ or 5’x5’ should be included for every ramp run longer than 30’.
This is to give a resting place in case the user/caretaker becomes weary traveling the ramp.
Ramps should end on a hard, level surface with a minimum of 5’x5’.
This guideline is so the mobility device does not become stuck in muddy or soft ground. Concrete and pavement are acceptable landing surfaces for ramps. Hard-packed gravel can be an acceptable landing surface depending on the individual’s mobility device and their ability to maneuver in that gravel. Grass and dirt are never acceptable landing surfaces. Landing pads are available to provide a safe landing surface where needed.
Ramps should be a minimum width of 36” for residential properties, and 48” for commercial or bariatric use.
Benefits Of ADA Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchair ramps enable people with disabilities and mobility issues to gain the freedom and independence to live how they want. When a ramp follows the ADA ramp requirements, users know they can use it to safely enter and exit a building. Here are some of the benefits of having an ADA wheelchair ramp:
Stairs can be dangerous if someone slips and falls. A ramp can minimize the potential risk of injury because it provides a flat surface for people to walk or roll on.
Even without being in a wheelchair, some people may have difficulty using stairs. You can help them access your building more comfortably and securely when you have an ADA-compliant ramp outside. Wheelchair users will also feel more welcome, knowing they have a way to enter the establishment.
When mobility aid users have ramps to get in and out of buildings, they gain independence since they don’t need to rely on assistance from a caregiver, family member or friend to help them access that property.
A ramp inside a doorway makes it easier for wheelchair users to cross thresholds. The ramps also give them access to other areas of the building they might not have been able to reach before because of these obstacles.
Many ADA wheelchair ramps are outside to help people enter and exit buildings. These features are typically made of durable, weatherproof materials like concrete or aluminum, letting them withstand the elements and provide a long-term accessibility solution to those who need them.
Just knowing the ADA requirements is not enough to guarantee that your homemade ramp will be safe.
While there is no mandatory residential wheelchair ramp code besides the minimum width requirement, applying other ADA ramp requirements to your home ramp construction ensures the ramp is safe and will accommodate the user’s needs. Here is a breakdown of the specific ADA codes ramps must comply with to ensure people with disabilities can navigate them easily:
405.1 General.Ramps on accessible routes shall comply with 405.
405.2 Slope. Ramp runs shall have a running slope not steeper than 1:12. Advisory 405.2 Slope. To accommodate the widest range of users, provide ramps with the least possible running slope and, wherever possible, accompany ramps with stairs for use by those individuals for whom distance presents a greater barrier than steps, e.g., people with heart disease or limited stamina.
405.3 Cross Slope. Cross slope of ramp runs shall not be steeper than 1:48. Advisory 405.3 Cross Slope. Cross slope is the slope of the surface perpendicular to the direction of travel. Cross slope is measured the same way as slope is measured (i.e., the rise over the run).
405.5 Clear Width. The clear width of a ramp run and, where handrails are provided, the clear width between handrails shall be 36 inches (915 mm) minimum.
405.6 Rise. The rise for any ramp run shall be 30 inches (760 mm) maximum.
405.7 Landings. Ramps shall have landings at the top and the bottom of each ramp run. Landings shall comply with 405.7. Advisory 405.7 Landings. Ramps that do not have level landings at changes in direction can create a compound slope that will not meet the requirements of this document. Circular or curved ramps continually change direction. Curvilinear ramps with small radii also can create compound cross slopes and cannot, by their nature, meet the requirements for accessible routes. A level landing is needed at the accessible door to permit maneuvering and simultaneously door operation.
405.7.1 Slope. Landings shall comply with 302. Changes in level are not permitted. EXCEPTION: Slopes not steeper than 1:48 shall be permitted.
405.7.2 Width. The landing clear width shall be at least as wide as the widest ramp run leading to the landing.
405.7.3 Length. The landing clear length shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) long minimum.
405.7.4 Change in Direction. Ramps that change direction between runs at landings shall have a clear landing 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum by 60 inches (1525 mm) minimum.
405.7.5 Doorways. Where doorways are located adjacent to a ramp landing, maneuvering clearances required by 404.2.4 and 404.3.2 shall be permitted to overlap the required landing area.
405.8 Handrails. Ramp runs with a rise greater than 6 inches (150 mm) shall have handrails complying with 505.
Gain Your Freedom Now With National Ramp
You can trust National Ramp for ADA-compliant ramps that last. We strive to provide wheelchair ramps for people to help them live their lives on their own terms. When you experience obstacles to your mobility, a ramp can help you regain control and independence. We offer a vast collection of ADA ramps to help you find the perfect fit for your home or other property.
As leaders in the business for 30 years, we can guide you through finding and installing a ramp to fit your needs. Our ramps are modular, customizable, maintenance-free and quick to install.