What Are the Kinds of Wheelchair Ramps?
Temporary vs. PermanentOne of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you need a temporary wheelchair ramp or a more permanent installation for your home. Of course, these decisions will most likely be based on whether or not your wheelchair or scooter usage will be a temporary or permanent situation.
Permanent ramps are designed to last for much longer, so they’re more durable and cost a bit more. They’re typically installed by a professional, with posts planted in your yard to help securely support the ramp’s weight. However, if you plan to use a ramp for the long term, the extra cost and added construction are usually worth it.
Different Material OptionsWheelchair ramps can be constructed of several different materials, though there are four that are most often used by ramp installers. Here’s what you need to know about each of these options:
- Steel – This is one of the less popular options for ramps, and you might have difficulty finding an installer that offers steel ramps. This is because the material is much heavier than aluminum, making it difficult to install. Steel is also prone to rust when exposed to the elements, so any outdoor ramp will eventually start rusting, which is not very attractive to have on a feature that’s right at the front of your home.
- Concrete – Concrete ramps are most often used for public spaces, but they can also be a great option for residential purposes. Typically, a concrete ramp is best suited to a very gradual rise; for example, if you only have 1 or 2 steps up to the front door, concrete ramps can likely cover that height without needing much linear distance. Concrete is durable and can look like a natural part of your home’s exterior design rather than an afterthought. They are, however, relatively expensive to install and cannot be easily removed.
- Wood – Natural wood is always beautiful, and a wooden ramp can add some rustic charm to your home’s exterior. However, it does have its drawbacks as a ramp material as well. They require a great deal of construction, which can increase your costs, and the wood must be regularly maintained and stained to avoid rotting, splintering, and warping. Wood is also slick when wet, so you’d probably need to add non-slip treads to the ramp as well.
- Aluminum – Aluminum is a lightweight metal that doesn’t rust or wear out quickly like some other material options. They also don’t require much maintenance, and installation and removal are easy. They’re the most affordable option for wheelchair ramps but are still highly durable. However, they don’t add much aesthetic appeal to a home.
What’s the Best Option for You?The best type of wheelchair ramp for you will depend on your needs and priorities. If you want something that is visually appealing for your home’s exterior, then a concrete or wood ramp might be the best option, so long as the cost is still within your budget. However, aluminum is always the best choice if your priorities lean more toward durability and affordability. This material can be used in both temporary and permanent installations; however, even permanent ramps can be removed and relocated with relative ease if you decide to sell your home.
At K N Enterprise, LLC, we specialize in providing mobility solutions to clients throughout Louisiana. Whether you need a wheelchair ramp, stairlift, or a trunk lift for a scooter or wheelchair, our mobility specialists can help. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services. You can also schedule a consultation with one of our team members and receive a quote on the accessibility improvements that your home needs. Call now to get started on the road to a more mobile, independent life!