I just spent the weekend building a wheelchair ramp for my 85 year old
mother, and thought I'd pass this along to anyone who might be in the
same space with a loved one or neighbor who could use a ramp.
There is a wonderful web site out of Minnesota -
with a comprehensive set of plans and construction descriptions for a
modular ramp system. Their plans/descriptions are practical,
straightforward, well engineered (this thing is built like a brick
s**thouse), and after having (almost) built one, it well within the
abilities of those who frequent the Wreck. Base framing was out of
2x6, support posts 4x4 and rails of 2x4s, all pressure treated, bolted
and nailed or screwed. Two of us worked 8 hours this past saturday,
and I put in another 7 sunday, and got the base framing and supports
in for a 40 foot ramp (1:12 slope) with only the decking and railing
to finish up tomorrow, so I'd figure 3 full days (I did not
pre-construct sections as they suggested.) Your cost will vary
depending on the vertical drop you have to achieve, but for a 33 inch
drop at a slope less steep than 1:12, I came in at around $1500 of
Pretty neat, and useful site. I noticed the "Long-Tread, Low-Riser Steps".
This is exactly what we did at my mother-in-law's home when she started
using her walker. We origninally thought this would be covered with a ramp
when the time came. However, as the site discusses, with this approach it
is petty easy to pull her up the steps, without a ramp. She's reached the
point where she couldn't roll herself up a ramp anyway.
Yup. It's not the first step that's the problem for most wheelchair users,
one can usually get up that with some assistance, it's the consecutive steps
after that one that are the problem.
Along the same lines, I regularly ride on escalators (as long as they're
wide enough). Although I'm capable of holding on until I get to the other
end, I usually ask someone to hold the back of my wheelchair, just in case I
lose my grip. It sometimes freaks people out, my wanting to ride the
escalator. I usually have to tell them it's a balance thing, not a weight
My 92 year old mum is at the stage where it's a real struggle to get her
to let go of the walker and up the back stairs - about 4'. I suspect
a wheelchair is next if she wants to get out of the house. I've looked at
a ramp but it just doesn't fit on her small city lot. So, I've been
looking at lifts such as this one:
It'll even involve a little wooddorking as I'll have to knock a hole in
the back porch and frame in a sliding glass door.
"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among
[my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between
The preconstruction of the sections saves quite a bit of time.
All the pieces can be cut on a RAS to length, so it goes quickly.
Two more workers would speed it up substantially, since the frames
are awkward to handle, even with clamps to help hold at the right height.
Is there some concrete cost included in the total?
Is the decking 2x material or treated plywood?
Any equipment rental/purchase included?
There's gotta be something in there to bring this in for $37.50 per foot.
email@example.com (Mutt) wrote in message
Tom: I had two 90 degree turns, and you need to build platforms of a
minimum of 5x5 feet, along with 4x4 posts, decking, etc. Ramp is 3.5
feet wide times 40 feet gives me 140sq ft. I had a 5x8 and a 5x6
platform in my layout, so that's another 70 sq. ft. right there. This
comes in at about $7.50 a square foot. I used nails in a nail gun,
had to buy two 4000 nail boxes of framers and rink shank for the
decking, bolts, etc., that sort of thing. No concrete, just a 4x8
sheet of treated plywood, cut into 1 ft squares nailed to the bottom
of the 4x4 posts and set into the dirt; no foundation necessary, the
structure floats on the bolts between sections. They say heaving of
the ground is not a problem in Minn, I'm in NJ so their winters are
much worse. No plywood decking, poor drainage and delamination
issues. Plan calls for 5/4 x6" decking boards, treated. Remember
railing and balusters, them 2x2x8s are $250 each and there's a mess of
them. A couple of drill bits, gloves, etc. and it all adds up.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Kendrick) wrote in message
A few weeks ago my beagle suffered a pinched nerve and was no longer able to
climb up and down the font steps to get into the yard.
I made her a nice ramp.
I used 2X2 shelf frames from menards for the frame, screwing one side to the
deck and using 2X2 treated as posts on the other side. I used 3 6' sections
so the ramp is 18' long. I screwed them together and used treated 2X2 as
joining plates. For the deck I used 1/4" MDF covered with fake grass. The
none treated stuff was painted with Thompsons water seal and I expect it
will outlast the dog.
Woffie really likes her ramp, and it only took a couple days to get her used
to using it.
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