6 of the Best Types of Wheelchair Ramps for Your Home

A ramp will make life much easier if anyone in your household is dependent on a mobility device, whether short or long term. To choose the best wheelchair ramp for your Ottawa home, look at these 6 different types and their features. Before you install a permanent ramp, be sure to consult the Ontario Building Code. You also may want to consider a vertical porch lift vs. a wheelchair ramp.

1. Modular Aluminum Ramps

Aluminum ramps are the most popular type in North America. Aluminum is an excellent material for ramp construction since it’s strong, low maintenance, weatherproof, and corrosion-resistant, yet lightweight and easy to transport. Make certain that the aluminum you use has an anti-slip finish or additive, and install handrails if appropriate.

Modular aluminum ramps are composed of several sections, so they are simple to customize, assemble, and store. You can put together a modular aluminum wheelchair ramp yourself in a few hours.

2. Threshold Ramps

Ranging from approximately 1.25 to 15 centimetres high, threshold ramps are designed to allow a person in a wheelchair to maneuver smoothly over a threshold, curb, or small step. Manufactured of metal or rubber, a threshold ramp may be used outdoors or inside your home. It offers a very cost-effective and convenient way to achieve accessibility.

3. Portable Ramps

Portable ramps are handy wheelchair accessories when out and about. They can be used to transfer mobility equipment into or out of a van or navigate curbs, steps, and sandy or uneven ground. Some portable ramps come with handrails.

Obviously, portable ramps need to be lightweight and easy to stow in a trunk. Fibreglass is an excellent material for a portable ramp due to its minimal weight, superior strength and resistance to corrosion.

4. Folding Ramps

A folding ramp is used to enable wheelchairs and mobility scooters to go up small steps or access a vehicle. Its 2 or 4 hinged panels (bifold or trifold). They’re easily folded up into a compact package which is handy to bring along in your vehicle. A suitcase ramp is a folding ramp equipped with handles, making it even simpler to transport. Folding ramps usually measure between 600 and 1200 cm, and some have a weight capacity of up to 360 kg.

5. Wooden Ramps

You can hire a carpenter to construct a wooden ramp. However, if you are good at DIY, this kind of ramp is fairly easy to build. You’ll find plans and even kits to help you put it together, with or without handrails. Wooden ramps are aesthetically pleasing and customizable like aluminum ramps, yet quite a bit more affordable.

For a wood ramp that will stand up to Ottawa’s rain and snow, purchase pressure-treated lumber. Protect your handiwork by treating it with high-quality deck paint or sealant. To guard against slippage, there are special gritty additives you can mix with the paint — or apply grip tape or aluminum treads.

6. Concrete Ramps

Although a concrete wheelchair ramp is costly to install and remove if necessary, this type of ramp is super sturdy and long-lasting. A concrete ramp will stand up to anything that our local winters can throw at it, and its naturally rough-textured surface will keep wheelchair treads from skidding. Concrete ramps are usually precast– that is, moulded and cured in a factory. Because measurements must be exact, installation is a task for an experienced concrete worker.

The Ramps We Recommend

We recommend modular and threshold ramps. These offer the most convenience, plus an excellent cost-benefit ratio. They are suitable for temporary or long-term use and may be taken with you when you move. 

For help deciding on the wheelchair ramp that’s right for your home in Ottawa, talk to one of our specially trained consultants.