How to Build a Handicap Ramp

Wheelchair ramps are the most common type of handicap ramp. Before attempting to build one, make sure you have proper designs and plans. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides detailed specifications about how ramps should be constructed. If you follow these instructions your handicap ramp will conform to federal regulations.

  1. Use pressure treated wood and galvanized screws, which will withstand the elements.
  2. Pour a concrete landing for the ramp. (This requires making a mold.) The landing must be at least 5-feet-by-5-feet (1.52-meters by 1.52-meters) so a wheelchair can turn around.
  3. Measure the length of the ramp you want to build. These instructions will make a ramp that's 15 feet (4.6 meter) long and 36 inches (.913 meters) wide.
  4. Take a 2-by-12-by-15-foot stringer, and with a pencil and tape measure, draw a line from one corner of the stringer to the diagonally opposite corner, forming two equal triangles.
  5. Saw the wood along the line. You now have the frame's two side pieces.
  6. Place the side pieces on either side of the house's door. The wood should be 12 inches (.3 meters) away from the house, sloping part up. There should be 36 inches (.913 meters) between the side pieces.
  7. Cut some wood into eleven 36-inch (.913-meter) cross joists.
  8. Place the joists inside the frame. Screw them to both sides of the frame at 16 inch (41 centimeters) intervals.
  9. Screw a piece of 2- by-4-by-36-inch into the house wall just under the door.
  10. Cut a 12-by-36-inch piece of plywood.
  11. Screw one end of the plywood to the top of the wood you screwed under the door. Screw the other end to the end of the frame, making a platform landing.
  12. Cut enough 36-inch- (.913-meter-) wide pieces of plywood to cover the entire ramp. Screw them to the frame, making the ramp floor.
  13. Secure the frame to the concrete landing. Using a drill with masonry bits, drive anchors into the concrete and drive screws through the wood into the anchors.

[sources: New Disability, Mobility Advisor]