Some safety tips for using wooden wheelchair ramps:
- Use the correct type of wood to construct the ramp. This includes quality, pressure-treated wood. Plywood is very cheap but will also break down quickly, causing rot and resulting in an unsafe ramp.
- The ramp should be at least one foot wider or more than the width of the wheelchair. Going too narrow causes injury and risk of falling over the side.
- Use the correct tread on the floor of the ramp. It should be paint with sand added or some kind of pebble-grained flooring. It’s also a good idea to have slits in the floor where ice and snow can fall through instead of building up and making a very slippery slope.
- The steepness of the ramp should be within safe guidelines. Too steep and it could cause the wheelchair and its occupant to tip backwards, or go rolling downs the ramp backwards; either of which is a serious disaster.
What are the disadvantages of wooden wheelchair ramps?
- They are not very versatile because they can’t be easily disassembled to accommodate moving to a new location. They aren’t adjustable and aren’t movable.
- They take at least two or more days to build, and usually require a building license and a licensed contractor who has the necessary tools. This is in stark contrast to aluminum wheelchair ramps, which can be purchased and installed in an hour or less.
- A lot of maintenance is required – the wood needs regular yearly treatments to keep it from rotting. They don’t last as long as other ramps.
- Wooden ramps usually require replacing every three years approximately.
- They can be damaged by snow, rain and salt.
- Some people think they are saving money by building their own ramps, but because of the maintenance and having to be replaced every few years, they could end up costing much, much more than an aluminum ramp.
Some people may choose to build a wooden ramp because it seems like the cheapest option. While it may be cheaper at the start, it may not be cheaper in the long run due to replacement after a few years.
Thoroughly research each type of ramp before you make a decision to build a wooden ramp. This will save you a big headache in the future, and you will know what to be prepared for. You can find wheelchair ramp guidelines online, like what the recommended slopes are for safety.