How to Build a Wheelchair Ramp

Tips for Preparing for a "DIY" Ramp Project

    If you want to build a wheelchair ramp on your own, begin by  familiarizing yourself with the standards for ramp construction, which are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Planning Considerations

  • Always check local building codes to learn about permit requirements before you start construction. For example, ADA construction standards mandate that the slope of any wheelchair access ramp must be no greater than one inch of rise for every 12 inches of run.

    Therefore, if you need to reach a platform that is 30 inches in height, you must plan to build the ramp to be at least 30 feet long. You'll need to measure up from the ground to find how many inches the ramp must rise.

  • At a minimum, your ramp should be 36 inches wide between railings to accommodate a wheelchair. To be on the safe side, you might want to make it at least 40 inches wide.
  • Carefully devise your layout taking into consideration the length you require and whether you will need to incorporate a switchback, U- or L-shape configuration into your ramp design.

  • The ramp should end at a location accessible to transportation and leaving the property. The bottom of the ramp should be even with the ground to provide a smooth transition.

  • Keep in mind that level landings are a necessity at the top and bottom of each run of your ramp to make it easier to maneuver.For example, if a run in your ramp is over 30 feet long, you'll need a level landing 5' long and as wide as the ramp. For an L shaped turn, you will want a 5' x 5' landing; for switchback turns, 5' x 8'.

  • Always use the proper building materials. A ramp built with pressure treated lumber is far less prone to rotting and posts rated for ground burial are essential.Wood can be very hazardous when wet or icy. Install sand grit strips to enhance traction. (Aluminum or concrete can be used instead of wood to build a ramp.)
Seek Advice Before You Build a Wheelchair Ramp

As you begin your ramp planning, seriously consider consulting with a professional contractor who has expertise in ADA ramp construction. This will help ensure your ramp is durable, functional, ADA compliant and, at the same time, adds an aesthetically pleasing addition to your home.

Related Information - Build a Wheelchair Ramp

Types of Mobility Ramps
Portable Wheelchair Ramps
Accessibility in Your Home
ADA Wheelchair Ramp Specifications

› Build a Wheelchair Ramp

Popular Articles

Types of Mobility Chairs
With the variety of mobility chairs available today, you have more choice and options than ever before...

Wheelchair Sports Activities
Here are organizations that champion an active lifestyle for wheelchair users...  Read more>>

Helpful Resource Organizations 
Here you will find a list of organizations that provide educational insights, research data, and support to... 

Mobility Scooter Buying Tips
Here is a summary of the types of mobility scooters and what to consider...

Portable Ramp Options
There are four different types of portable ramps that...