ADA Ramp Material

8 Benefits of Modular Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

Aluminum may not be the cheapest material to purchase, but other material will require expensive annual maintenance whereas aluminum requires virtually no maintenance. It is also easier and quicker to install a modular ramp than to site-build a ramp out of wood. So if you’re looking for a simple wheelchair ramp solution that will last a long time, aluminum is the best material.

Here’s why:

1. Aluminum wheelchair ramps have a non-slip decking that helps wheelchairs keep traction when it is raining or snowing. The ramp material is typically a type of extruded decking with grooves that run from one side of the ramp to the other. These grooves act like the tread on the bottom of a gym shoe and help the wheels on a wheelchair grip the surface of the ramp. Other materials, such as wood, become slippery when wet, so grip tape is required. The grip tape, however, must be replaced every so often as it becomes worn and loses its grip.

2. Aluminum has an optimal strength-to-weight ratio as it is comparable in strength to other metals, yet it is much lighter than all other wheelchair ramp materials.

3. Aluminum’s light weight makes it ideal for wheelchair ramp construction because it is easy to assemble and relocate if necessary.

4. Aluminum does not rust, so it is ideal for outdoor applications. When aluminum oxidizes, the layer of oxide acts as another layer of protection against the elements and makes the aluminum even stronger. All other materials will rust, warp, or rot when exposed to the elements like rain or snow. Therefore, aluminum might have a little higher of initial cost, but other materials will require annual maintenance fees.

5. Modular aluminum ramps have adjustable platform legs and ramp section legs, so the uneven ground has minimal to no impact on the levelness of the ramp. Wood and concrete cannot be adjusted once they are put in place, and steel and iron often rust, so the legs may not adjust as easily.

6. Don’t require building permits: Wood and concrete ramps are considered permanent because they cannot be moved or repurposed, so most cities require a permit to build the ramp; the process to acquire a permit can be long and difficult, and may not fit within the timeline of the project. Modular aluminum ramps can be moved or repurposed, so they are considered non-permanent. Therefore, they don’t require building permits which makes aluminum ramps ideal for projects that have a fast-approaching deadline.

7. Modular ramps come in “modules”, hence the name “modular.” The ramp modules, or sections,  are typically 8 or 10 feet long, and they hook onto each other. Assembling a modular ramp consists of connecting one ramp section to the next and so on, so it is much simpler than building a ramp out of wood. Therefore, the installation is much quicker and less expensive. If you need to modify the layout of your ramp and it requires more modules, simply order more modules, and install them.

8. You can change the layout of the ramp and the length of your ramp if the application changes. With other materials, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to reconfigure the ramp. Aluminum has a high resale value because it is weather-resistant and has a long life, so once you are finished with the ramp, you can resell it, rent it, or scrap the parts.

What is a Modular Wheelchair Ramp?
[Infographic] How to Measure for a Wheelchair Ramp