Planning To Add A Wheelchair Ramp To Your Composite Deck?



Do you have a composite deck in your front, side, or backyard? Is there a disabled individual living in your home, or do you have a friend that is disabled and needs to use a wheelchair? A wheelchair ramp could be just what you need. But there’s a big difference between a wheelchair ramp that is designed properly, build sturdily, and comfortable for the disabled to use and a wheelchair ramp that is just thrown together.

You may think that you have a home that makes it difficult to build a ramp. Some houses are situated or designed in such a way that it’s a tricky endeavor. Fortunately, there are materials and techniques that can be used to make a usable ramp for your disabled friend or family member. They’re the same kinds of materials and techniques used to build outdoor decks.

Rather than expensive concrete, yet still compliant with the ADA, more flexible deck construction techniques are being used by today’s property managers (as an example).

Ramp Regulations Designated by ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

Disability access is governed by two codes in the United States. Applying to public spaces, be they residential or commercial, is the ADA. The Fair Housing Act makes further clarification of property owner accommodations when it comes to individuals with disabilities. These codes do all they can to make sure that if someone’s mobility is impaired, public areas are still accessible. This can apply to clubhouses, pools, apartment building public areas, and so on.

Neither one of these may apply to you, however, if you own an older apartment or private home. But if you want to accommodate a family member, friend, or tenant who has become disabled, these codes are something that you will need to familiarize yourself with.

Wheelchair Ramp Specifications

Here’s where it gets tricky. The following are specifications that apply to wheelchair ramps:

  • Ramp width – from guard to guard, there must be at least a 36 inch width to the ramp.
  • Landings – they must be at least 60 inches in length and at least as wide as the ramp.
  • The rise – this applies to an individual section of the ramp and its height. It cannot exceed 30 inches.
  • Slopes – must be a gentle rise whose rising angle can only be a distance of 12 inches over one foot, vertically. (1:12)

Some of these, particularly the last one, may seem hard to understand. That’s why a lot of people leave the building of wheelchair ramps up to professionals.

Composite Decks With Ramps

Composite is used today because wood tends to create splinters and decay. Modern composites are better to use on walking surfaces than was first generation composite. The problem of extra bracing being needed, and slippery surfaces, has been more or less taken care of thanks to higher end, more modern composites. Bracing may still be preferred, however.

Particularly for ADA compliant wheelchair ramps, high-quality composites provide superior workability and finished products. Wheelchairs will roll smoothly because less warping will take place, and they can be less expensive and far more attractive than concrete. Another big plus is that they are low maintenance. Adding a deck to a wheelchair ramp makes it even more utilitarian and desirable.

Putting together a deck, or even simply adding a wheelchair ramp, isn’t something for the casual do-it-yourselfer. These types of projects take planning and expertise. To be sure that a ramp is constructed properly and sturdily, you may consider seeking the assistance of a professional. A contracted service will be far more familiar with the right tools, permits needed, zoning regulations, etc. One such company is L.A. Decks Backyard and Pool Remodeling.