Wheelchair Ramp Building Materials

When building a wheelchair ramp, you have to consider not only wheelchair users but also people who must use crutches, canes and walkers, and people who can't walk with a regular gait.

You can make a wheelchair ramp out of aluminum, wood, steel or concrete. Concrete is expensive, but it's a great choice for permanent wheelchair ramps. Before the concrete dries, you can brush the surface to incorporate anti-slip properties right into the concrete.

Wood is one of the more inexpensive materials for ramp building, but the cheaper cost comes with a maintenance price. Wood must be protected with sealer or varnish to prevent rotting and warping. You must add nonslip protection, like grit strips, to prevent accidents. Wooden handrails must be finished and maintained to prevent splinters. Wood boards must be placed close enough together to prevent uncomfortable bumps but also be spaced far enough apart to allow water drainage.

Steel must be galvanized to prevent rust and corrosion, and a texture must be added to the surface to help prevent slipping.

Aluminum is strong, corrosion-resistant, and, unfortunately, expensive. Because lightweight aluminum bends, when you're building an aluminum ramp, calculate the weight requirements for an occupied wheelchair. You'll also have to add texture to the aluminum or it will be slippery and dangerous.

Ready to learn how to build a wheelchair ramp? Head on over to the next page.