Handicap Ramp

A house with steps becomes a hazard for elderly folks, especially following things like hip replacement surgery or chronic medical conditions involving difficulties walking.  The logical answer is to build a ramp where the steps once were.  (We see a bunch of these on homes in the general area where I live.)

But the key to something like this is realizing that there are clear regulations for such a ramp.  The ADA has regulations on maximum slope for both residential and commercial ramps.  (It’s surprising how often I’ll see a ramp appear at a house with such a steep slope that it’s not only anything but an improvement; it’s actually dangerous.  And don’t even get me started about one I saw a month or so ago made out of cdx plywood!  I personally would be afraid to walk up that ramp in the rain!)

This ramp is wider than required.  That’s simply because it was built while the original steps were still being used.  The steps were not removed until half of the ramp was completed and a temporary rail and one step down could be temporarily installed so as not to block off access to this entrance to the house. (The other entrance has twelve steps and these folks never use it.)  The treated joists were placed into the ground and anchored to posts set in concrete footings in such a way that the last deck board at the driveway could be chamfered (cut at an angle) so the bump up is as slight as possible in case of wheelchair use in the future.

Handrails are 2 X 6 boards set upright to have a 1 & 1/2 inch maximum width for handholds. (This is also a code requirement – too many decks are built with railings on the steps that are far too wide to comfortably and safely hold on to.)  The mid and foot posts are capped and then accented with solar lighting and the entrance has custom designed grab rails that were laminated with treated lumber in 3 layers with a cross-grain layout (VERY strong!).

The clients are more than pleased:  Now leaving the house isn’t a stressful experience where both have to worry if one or the other will possibly fall on steps and end up down on the concrete hurt.

The clients purchased their own lumber for this project.  My labor was 11.5 hours and the invoice amount was $402.50.

(Click any image for photo album.)

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