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Service spotlight on: Concrete ramps

Updated: Apr 30

Homes and businesses need (and often now require) concrete handicap ramps, and there are existing standards for making them safe and durable. The ADA standards were created to make it possible for wheelchair-bound individuals to have access to stores, schools and many other public places. Ramps must have the correct slope and level to allow wheelchairs to move up and down safely, and builders must be able to meet current standards for construction of all sizes of ramps to meet these standards.

SURFACE A rough surface is often more effective than a smooth one for moving wheelchairs up and down a sloped ramp. Smooth surfaces on sidewalks look better than rough ones, but wheelchairs need more traction on a slope. Rubber tires on chairs will slide on wet surfaces just like car tires on a wet, slippery road, so a coarse surface helps. Steel and aluminum surfaces can be corrugated, but these surfaces are more slippery than concrete and more expensive. The surface of wooden ramps may not have good traction without adding some other material, and that increases cost. Rough-surfaced concrete is effective and lasts a long time.

SLOPE Wheelchair ramps must have a mild slope in order to make it possible for people in manually “driven” chairs to be able to make the climb to the top. When was the last time you figured out the correct slope for a ramp? Give it a shot. Harder then you thought, right? Call the concrete professionals and save yourself the nightmare of meeting acceptable standards. It is a very precise calculation.

The length of the ramp often depends on the height of the level to be reached. A gradual rise with landings and turns enables a wheelchair rider to maneuver the distance up or down the slope without assistance. This is important for several reasons - one being the simple fact that if no one is available to help push the chair up the rise the rider must do it alone. One good way to see how a ramp should be made is to sit in a wheelchair and look at one. Can you make it up the ramp on your own power? If the ramp is made correctly, then yes!

STANDARDS ADA standards are updated regularly, and commercial establishments must be aware of these changes to remain current. Safe accessibility is the point of the standards, so there is good reason to meet them.

LOCATIONS Handicap ramps are needed just about everywhere. Even small towns must have corrugated ramps on every corner in all directions. Everyone appreciates the accessibility, including friends and families of those in wheelchairs. Inclusion is important in making homes, streets and buildings accessible so that no one is left out just for being in a wheelchair.

Hospitals must have ramps for gurneys inside and outside their buildings. Some areas do not have elevator access, so ramps are the answer. Businesses have carts and other wheeled vehicles that need to be moved up and down hallways, and ramps are often the most cost-effective way to do that. Schools and public libraries are full of carts that must go into many areas of their buildings, and ramps make it possible.

If you’re in need of a concrete handicap ramp for home or business, please reach out to Rooted In Nature 443-846-0199 or

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