Accessibility News

Accessibility News


Walking Surface

It is very important to have a safe walking surface on your wheelchair ramp. The individual in the chair and the caregiver need to have good traction regardless of the weather. Untreated wood and some aluminum ramps are very slippery when wet. Some aluminum ramps overcome this by incorporating special surfaces into the design of their decking. These surfaces are designed to redirect water and snow to allow for excellent traction in any weather.

Avoid temporary solutions such as traction paints and adhesive-backed grit paper. These products have a very short life and can be very expensive to reapply over time. The best option for a wood ramp is to install non-slip aluminum treads permanently at intervals along the entire length of the walking surface.

Non Skid Treads on Wooden Ramp

It is also important that each section of ramp be equipped with safety side curbs at least 2" in height. This prevents a wheel or the helper from accidentally falling off the sides of the ramp.


Landings are flat areas at intervals along the ramp. They are typically 5ft square. The most common placement is at the top of the ramp in front of the building entrance. This gives room to open and close the door, a stopping point to search for keys, etc. Landings are required in ramps over 30ft long to comply with ADA guidelines.

Hand Rails

Hand rails are an important feature of a well-built ramp system. Any ramp over 6ft in length should have hand rails. They serve as a safety device and as a convenient hand-hold for the caregiver and for the person in the chair. Vertical pickets are required in certain configurations. Check the codes in advance to determine if this type of rail is needed.


Rules regarding the weight bearing capacity of ramps vary widely. Consider the combined weight of a wheelchair, its occupant and a helper, all on the ramp at the same time, and add 200lbs to that total. Most good ramps will have sufficient capacity and offer to build in more if required by local codes.


All types of ramps can be upgraded to improve their appearance. Different finishes and materials can be used to more closely match the look of your home or business. Make sure you inquire about any additional charges for this type of visual enhancement.

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