Wheelchair Ramps are specifically built to allow mobility to people who can either not use stairs or require a less stressful way to enter or leave home. When you set out to buy such a ramp, you would realize that it is not an easy job and you would have more questions than answers. To avoid this it is necessary that you know how to shop for wheelchair ramps for mobile homes.
Here is how you need to assess your requirement:
The very first part of your homework towards choosing the suitable wheelchair ramp for your mobile home is to know the length that you need. Use ADA recommendations as a guideline.
Most portable wheelchair ramps are made of wood however, there are other materials too that are available. Make up your mind keeping durability and aesthetics in mind.
The degree of portability required depends on the user. You can have a number of options available in the market with varying portability.
4. Removable or fixed
There are ramps that can be laid only when the wheelchair is to be moved in or out and there are others that are screwed to be a permanent fixture on the steps leaving little area of the steps open for use.
Here is an insight into the types of wheelchair ramps that you will come across while surveying the markets.
1. Solid Wheelchair Ramps:
Typical size available for such a ramp is 8 to 24 inches. They are also known as plate style ramps. However, there are longer versions of the ramp too which may be up to 5 feet long. Since these ramps have no moving parts, they are the easiest to operate. They are mainly used for thresholds and single steps since they are mostly available in shorter sizes.
2. Single fold ramps
These single fold ramps are also known as suitcase ramps primarily because many of them have a suitcase like handle to carry. Since they only fold once in the middle, they maintain the same length when folded. These wheelchair ramps have been found to be the most economical and come in sizes between 2 to 8 feet. They can be utilized where the height is of a couple of steps.
3. Multi-Fold Door Ramps:
These ramps have multiple folds and a longer top lip that allows better grip.
4. Telescoping Track Ramps:
As the names suggests, these ramps have telescope like slides that slide into each other when folded. The length is adjustable and can be as long as 10 feet. They are light and compact and are hence a huge hit for use in mobile homes.
It must be noted that it is wise to use a portable ramp for a mobile home. All ramps mentioned above fall in the category of portable ramps and are therefore under 12 feet length.
If you live in a mobile home, there are fair chances that you are a DIY enthusiast. Here are simple steps to construct your own wheelchair ramp for your mobile home:
a) One or two wood beam joists. In case you wish to employ only a single joist, it should be twice the length.
b) Sheet of metal that will be cut into 4 pieces to be screwed at the ends of joists.
c) 2 X Handles
d) 18 screws
g) Marking pen or pencil
h) Drill gun
i) Tape measure
1. Estimate the length of the ramp
As per the recommendations of ADA or Americans for Disabilities Act, one feet length for every 3 inches vertical rise is necessary. These recommendations are however, based on statistics and the real length of the ramp should be determined by the capacity of the wheelchair. The slope should be easily negotiable keeping in view the power of the wheel chair and it should just be steep enough to enable mid way stopping on the ramp.
2. Cut the wood Joist
If you are using a single joist, after having assessed the length of the ramp required, use the tape to mark the length on wood joist and cut it into two pieces. Make sure that you secure the joist before cutting and wear the safety gear such as goggles and gloves that you have got with you.
3. Cut the landing
While one end of the ramp will rest on the step, the other will be on the ground. Make an angular cut in the end of the ramp that rests on the ground so that it rests completely on the ground. Also make a rectangular notch on the side of the ramp that sits on the steps.
4. Reducing the edge of the board
Once you have carved out the notch at the end where the ramp rests on the stairs, there would be a short ledge that the wheelchair will have to jump over. To avoid this, screw short pieces of metal with a slight bend on each ramp. This will enable the wheelchair to ride over the end of the ramp smoothly.
5. Carrying handles
You have now made a wheelchair ramp for your mobile home all by yourself. The last thing that you need to add to the ramp is handles because moving the ramps with bare hands can be troublesome. Screw two plastic handles to the sides of each of the ramp for enhanced portability.
Choosing appropriate mobile home wheelchair ramps needs careful planning that includes thorough homework on your requirements. Before purchasing wheelchair ramps for mobile homes, it is imperative that you carry out a careful appreciation of its safety standards and feasibility of being used in all weather.