6 Types of Wheelchair Ramps
1. Threshold Ramps
Threshold ramps can be either rubber or metal and are made to butt up against the lip of a door threshold or a curb. They are typically between ½ inch to 6 inches in height, very lightweight, and can be used on both the inside and outside of a doorway. These ramps are simple, cost-effective solutions for people using a wheelchair, walker, or scooter to maneuver over a small barrier.
2. Folding Ramps
Folding ramps consist of either bi-fold (two panels) or tri-fold (four panels) with hinges between each panel. The bi-fold ramps fold over once while the tri-fold ramps has three folds. The folding ramp does not have handrails and is not ADA-compliant, so it should only be used for personal use. It can be used for access into wheelchair-accessible vans, or it can be placed over a small set of stairs that lead into a home.
3. Suitcase Ramps
A suitcase ramp is a type of folding ramp that has handles for easy transport. Typically, it is between 2 and 6 feet long and can support about 800 pounds. It can lay directly over a small set of steps, so it is perfect for home access. It is not ADA compliant, so it should not be used for commercial applications.
4. Telescoping Ramps
A telescoping ramp often consists of two separate, narrow channels – typically narrower than 12 inches each – that can extend and retract to fit the desired height. The channels are placed side-by-side and line up with the wheels of the wheelchair. These types of ramps are typically used for access into a wheelchair-accessible van, but they are not ideal for mobile scooters as the wheels are often not in line with each other.
5. Modular Ramps
A modular ramp is typically a larger, more permanent fixture than the aforementioned, but it doesn’t require a building permit because it can be disassembled and reassembled at another location. They are constructed out of ramp sections that are built off-site and then transported to the site for speedy assembly. Aluminum is typically the best material to use for outdoor, commercial wheelchair ramp applications because it does not rust or warp, and it is the most cost-effective option.
6. Permanent Ramps
Permanent ramps are made from wood or concrete and cannot be moved or adjusted once they are set it place, so a building permit is required. Unlike modular ramps, they are built completely on-site, so the installation and construction time is much longer. These types of ramps are typically used for residences when aesthetics are more important than longevity and code compliance.