Access ramps are essential for many homes. Not only do they let wheelchair users come in and out of the property easily, they’re also great for parents with prams and those who find walking upstairs more difficult. If you’re ever moving large furniture in or out of your house they make it much easier too, so you can move your things around with ease! There are tons of benefits to residential access ramps and a lot of different options, too. If you’re looking to have one installed in your home, we’ve got a rundown of some of the options you can pick from to help you find the right choice.
Gradients of Your Access Ramp
Finding the right gradient for your home is important to make sure your ramp works properly and fits into your space. A steeper gradient will allow for a shorter ramp, taking up less room around the property. This is ideal for smaller spaces or areas where you don’t want the ramp intruding, however it can be more difficult to use and less safe – particularly when wet or icy! A less steep ramp will take up more room, allowing for a slower rise that’s easier to use and safer. However, if you don’t have much room this could make the rest of your space more difficult to use or become an eyesore.
In general, don’t choose a ramp with a gradient steeper than 1:12. Any more than this and your ramp will become hard to access for wheelchair users and could become unsafe. Ideally, though, you should aim for a little less steep; 1:18 is usually a good gradient to go for.
Surface Options for Access Ramps
From concrete to rubber, there are plenty of surface options for ramps out there. Whilst this is great, it can also make it a little confusing and hard to know which is the right option for you. If you want a surface you can rely on without hours of research, we recommend using a resin-bound paving option, and here’s why:
- No loose pieces – unlike other surfaces, resin-bound paving has no loose stone that could cause issues for wheelchair uses and become messy in the surrounding area.
- It doesn’t get slippery – even when it’s wet, this paving won’t become slippery making it a much safer option than most solutions.
- It’s incredibly durable – even with heavy use, resin-bound ramps will remain stable and firm, lasting for many years. They don’t have any rutting or cracking.
- Little maintenance – alongside being durable, they also need very little maintenance so once yours is installed you won’t have to worry about it. You won’t have to do any weeding around your ramp surface and, due to its durability, shouldn’t have to fix any problems.
- No puddles – due to the permeable surface, water drains away from the ramp effectively so there are no puddles that could cause access problems. This also makes it easier for ice to disperse, keeping your ramp safe even in the coldest climates.
Edges or No Edges?
If you want to make sure your ramp is extremely safe, you can choose to install a ramp with edges. These will be small sides along both lengths of your ramp to try and prevent any wheelchairs from sliding off and can be very useful for new wheelchair users who aren’t as used to manoeuvring their chairs. You can also have bars installed on the wall next to your ramp to help people walk up it, preventing accidents and making your ramp easy to use.
There are many options for access ramps, so we recommend taking a look at your space, noting down what it will be used for, and then going through your options to find the best fit. The most important thing to consider is making sure it’s as safe as possible for its users, so always put this before any other consideration. Once you find and install the right ramp for your home, you’ll be pleased you took the time to make sure you chose the option that’s best for you.