Frequently Asked Questions

How much height adjustment do your ramp legs have?

Each of our ramp legs provide 30” of adjustment.  They are manufactured with a series of drilled holes that when placed in the ramp pocket provides that adjustment.  Use the Under 30″ ramp legs when the ramp section is set less than 30″ from grade, use a 30″ – 60″ ramp leg when the ramp section is set between 30″ and 60″ from grade, and use a 60″ – 90″ ramp leg when the ramp section is set between 60″ and 90″ from grade.

How much height adjustment do your platform legs have?

Each of our platform legs is manufactured with a 9″ slot and therefore gives the installer to adjust the leg that amount.  So, when using a 30″ platform leg, that leg can be used to set the platform height anywhere between 25.5″ and 34.5″.  Nominal platform leg heights are available at every 6″ increment, so we just need to know an approximate height and can then provide you with the closest leg height.

What is your product made out of?

All of our product is fabricated using high grade aluminum extrusions and sheet metal, the same aluminum that is used in the aerospace industry.  All ramp sections, platforms, steps, legs and guardrails are constructed of mill finish aluminum extrusions and mill finish aluminum sheet.  Extrusions are either 6061-T6, 6063-T52 or 6005-T5 aluminum alloy and all aluminum sheet is 5052-H32.  All mechanical fasteners are 18-8 stainless steel.

How do I know what size my ramp or step needs to be?

Measuring for a ramp or step is absolutely critical to ensure that you will receive product that will fit perfectly with your site.  The key to measuring is to take a number of measurements at the door where the access is needed and to take a measurement from the ground where you believe the step or ramp will meet the ground to the intersecting height of the threshold.  We have created a document that you can print and use to help guide you through this process.  When in doubt, take lots of pictures, email them to one of our sales representatives and give us a call while you are on the site where the steps are needed.


What is the difference between ADA and OSHA?


All of Upside Innovation’s aluminum ramps comply with ADA Standards. In short, ADA Standards require a 1:12 ramp slope ratio as well as a minimum of a 5’ x 5’ landing at the top and bottom of each ramp. To ensure ADA compliance, ramps also need a minimum clearance of 36” between the handrails for most states. See ADAAG Standards for more information.


Upside Innovation’s steps are fabricated to either meet ADA or OSHA compliance. ADA Standards require uniform step riser heights, step nosing on all steps, 36” between handrails and closed backs on step risers. A minimum 5’ x 5’ platform is required. See ADA Step Compliance for more information.
OSHA Standards require a minimum landing of 22” wide x 30” deep. Each stairway must be installed at least 30 degrees and no more than 50 degrees from the horizontal. Also variations in riser height or stair tread depth must not exceed ¼ inch in any stairway system. See OSHA Stairways and Ladders for more information.

Do you provide installation?

Our ADA Ramps and Steps, Canopies or Stair Towers can be installed by certified Upside installers.  Each installation goes through a white-glove inspection to ensure complete compliance.  We typically do not install our OSHA steps as each step only takes five to ten minutes to install and can be done by our customer on site.

For those who are mechanically inclined, our customers have access to our installation manual.

What do I need to receive your product?

Most of our product that we do not install is shipped on a 5′ or a 10′ skid.  A forklift, lull, or loading dock is recommended.  There are instances where our customers will hand unload a pallet, but the freight companies could charge extra if not completed within a reasonable amount of time.

Do you offer financing?

In general, orders above $5,000 can be financed upon credit approval.  New customers who are ordering less than $5,000 are expected to provide payment prior to shipment of material.  This can be done by check or through all major credit cards.  For those customers who will be purchasing for a larger project or will be making multiple purchases, you can print a copy of our credit application here and email a copy to your sales representative or fax a copy to 513-672-2124.

Do you lease your products?

Upside will lease our standard ADA/IBC Compliant Ramps and Steps for your shorter-term jobs.  We typically recommend that if the job is going to be longer than 2 years, it makes more sense to purchase the product rather than lease it.

We do not offer leases on our OSHA style steps, Canopies or Stair Towers.

Do you sell or lease your ramps to individual residences?

Our product is designed as a commercial grade product for public access according to IBC 2009 and ADAAG.  This means that our product is built wider than the minimum width allowed in a residential application and also typically include vertical balusters.  With all of this in mind, we have sold our standard products to residential customers who are looking for a nicer, more permanent look than a typical residential ramp product that is available in the market.

If you are shopping based on price, you will find that along with the many upgraded features and benefits of our product over a residential ramp, our ramps typically cost more money than something designed to meet minimum requirements for a residential application.  We are more than happy to point you in a different direction if the application is not the right one for us.

What is your lead-time?

We take your target date into consideration when setting up an order to process through our shop.  In general, our lead-time is about 2-3 weeks for standard products, sometimes quicker if we have the product on the shelf, and sometimes longer if we have experienced a high volume of orders.  For custom product, we typically can deliver in 4-6 weeks.  The longer lead-time on custom projects allows our engineers to design the system and send review drawings to our customers so we can make sure we deliver the perfect product.

I have an obstacle in the way (i.e. down spout, pole, tree). How will my ramp avoid it?

When you believe that there will be an obstruction for your product, we typically ask for you to provide us with a picture of the site or a sketch showing the dimensions and location of the obstacle relative to the door / building.  If it is an easy obstacle to relocate or remove, that can sometimes be the easiest solution.  If relocating or removing the obstacle is not possible, then we may need to use a larger platform, adjust the layout or use a custom access system to avoid the obstruction.

What can your threshold platform connect to?

Our ramp and platform systems are often connected to the following:

  • Modular buildings
  • Existing concrete steps or platforms
  • Existing steel platforms
  • Wood decks
What threshold platform sizes do I need to meet minimum ADA standards?

In general, you need a minimum of a 60″ clear diameter circle on any platform to meet ADAAG requirements.  We recommend reviewing our MINIMUM PLATFORM SIZE file to determine how much space is required for various door, ramp and step configurations.

What is the load capacity on your ramp? Can I drive a 4-wheel scooter on it?

All walking surfaces on our access system has been designed to carry a uniform load of 100 pounds per square foot and a concentrated vertical load of 300 pounds in an area of one square foot.

How wide are your ramps and steps?

Our standard ADA product has 48″ clearance between the handrails.  This specification covers ADA and IBC 2009 compliance across the United States.  The outer edge to outer edge of the ramp is close to 60″ when adding the 48″ in between handrails, the handrail material, the standoff between the handrail and the guardrail and the guardrail thickness itself.

I have uneven terrain where the ramp/step will be set. What measurements are needed and how do I measure them?

Download and fill out our SITE MEASUREMENT GUIDE and then email or fax it to one of our sales representatives to discuss.

Do I have to pour footings for the ramps or stairs?

Footers are not mandatory when installing a ramp, but anchoring ramp and platform footplates to a concrete slab or footers will provide full structural integrity of the system.  When not installing our ADA products on concrete, other acceptable surfaces include asphalt, concrete pavers or ABS pads.

OSHA steps are typically installed on grade and are acceptable just that way.

When installing our Canopy system, footers or a concrete pad is required to make sure that the system can withstand the wind loads that are required.  Our engineering team will specify the concrete work as needed for the canopy system.

We also require that our stair towers be installed on concrete footers.  With the larger structure, there are larger wind loads and point loads that the footplates will be required to hold.

How accurate do height measurements need to be?

Step risers are the most height critical assembly.  We typically recommend that the height is within an inch.  As the step gets a little taller, there is a little more play in the step, but we try to keep them pretty close so the step guardrails appear vertical when installed instead of leaning back or forward.

ADA Platform legs have 9″ of total adjustment and ramp legs have 30″ of height adjustment.  As the height at the end of a ramp changes, the ramp will need to get larger or smaller to maintain a 1:12 pitch.  When the ramp needs to get larger, there will be a change in cost with the additional material.

Are the stairs adjustable?

ADA Steps are not adjustable.  Upside does offer a fully adjustable OSHA step (Omni-Step) and the heights can range from 21″-26″, 28″ – 35″  or 35″ – 44″.

Can I cut the stairs down to size if they are too large?

Steps cannot be cut down to size as code requires that each step riser be of equal height within 1/4″.  The other issue if this would be attempted would be the fact that the railing would need to be modified and the connection would no longer work.

Can we attach a canopy to your platform railings?

Due to the wind loads that our canopies are required to withstand, we do not currently have a canopy design that can be mounted to our platform rails.  We recommend connecting all of our canopies directly to concrete footers.

What standard ADA platform sizes do you make?

We manufacture all of our ADA platforms in 8″ increments, starting at 48″ going up to 96″.  We will make them square or rectangular and find that the most common platform sizes are 5’4″ x 5’4″ (64″ x 64″) or 5’4″ x 8′ (64″ x 96″).  Other sizes outside of our core 8″ increments are available as custom options.

What size do your ramp sections come in?

Our standard ramp sections are manufactured in 8′ or 10′ length.  On occasion, if the site requires it we will manufacture a 4′ or a 5′ ramp section.

What heights do you make your ADA/IBC steps?

We manufacture all of our standard ADA/IBC compliant step risers with a 6″, 6-1/2″, or 7″ riser and change the number of risers to hit various heights.  We manufacture 18 different step heights between 12″ and 60″ standard.  To see all of the heights available, visit our ADA Step page.

How much space is needed between buildings to fit a common deck?

We recommend having about 1″ of extra space in between your buildings than the size of our decks.  If we are using 10’8″ decks between two sets of buildings, we ask that the buildings be set parallel with each other, 10’9″ apart so we have enough room to bring our platforms into place without damaging your buildings.

Can we use grip strut for a walking surface?

Grip strut cannot be used for an ADA/IBC compliant product, but can be used for the walking surface of our OSHA steps.

What colors are available for your canopy systems?

Our standard color is a gloss white system  We can also produce canopy systems with other colors but depending on the system there could be an extra charge.

How far apart can your canopy posts be spaced?

Post spacing really depends on the live load, snow loads, and wind loads that are required by local conditions.  The maximum spacing we use is 12′ apart to maintain structural integrity.

What size are the canopy posts and fascia gutter?

Posts are made of 4″ x 4″ square tube and the gutter fascia is 4″ wide by 6″ tall.

Is there a separate gutter and downspout system or is it integrated with the posts?

That canopy system is integrated with the posts.  See the linked canopy assembly details.

Canopy Assembly Details – Flat Pan

Canopy Assembly Details – W Pan

What canopy decking options are available?

We offer a roll-formed W-pan decking a roll-formed flat pan decking or an extruded flat pan decking.

What is the minimum size platform for an OSHA step?

The minimum size platform for an OSHA platform depends on the door size you are accessing.  For a 36″ door, the platform should be at least 36″ x 58″.  Our platform is 39″ x 58″.

How narrow can an OSHA step be?

OSHA steps need to be at least 22″ wide.

Do you offer a side approach and front approach OSHA steps?

Yes, both configurations are offered.  Due to the different rails used and step widths, the intended configuration has to be determined when ordering your product.

What type of walking surfaces are available on your OSHA steps?

Our standard decking is an extruded plank with a knurled surface.  We also offer our steps using a grip strut surface.

What materials are the OSHA steps made from?

Our OSHA steps are made with 100% high-grade aluminum.  We do use stainless steel fasteners to connect the rails and legs together.

How do I measure my window to get the correct screen size?

Since our security screens are attached using unique screws, we need dimensions from the left side screw entry to the right side screw entry of the window that the screen is covering.  We need the same dimension from the top of the window to the bottom.

How do I know if I have enough room for a compliant ADA ramp?

Give one of our sales experts a call at 513-889-2492 and we can review your footprint in order to determine what ramp configuration will be needed to stat within compliance guidelines.

How big do the footers need to be?

Footers for ramp and platform legs need to be 12″ diameter.  Footers for the canopy posts need to be 16″ diameter footers.  Footer depth is dependent on frost line measurement for each state or geographic area.

Do you offer Professional Engineer stamped drawings?

Yes, each order receives a layout drawing for approval and an option to have the drawing set stamped by a professional engineer.  This service comes with an additional cost.

What do I use for ice and snow removal on ramps, steps, platforms and canopies?

A simple broom sweep will do the job on most snow accumulation.  When there is snow or ice build-up we recommend using magnesium chloride or calcium chloride to melt the ice.  Standard salt can react with the aluminum and cause some pitting in the aluminum.

Canopies are designed to hold the local municipality snow-load.  When there is an unusual amount of snowfall, we recommend removing the snow from the canopy to ensure that he canopy will continue to function properly.  Special attention needs to be made when an existing pitched building roof could allow significant snow drift to come down directly on our canopy.

Do you offer layout drawings for your ramps?

Yes, we have a number of layout drawings on our ADA Drawing page.  For configurations other than this, we can work with you and our engineers to provide the correct configuration.

How do the solid treads prevent water accumulation?

Our solid treads are spot welded to the stringers which means that the seam is not completely welded. This side view of the dock step shows where we weld the step tread to the stringer, as marked by the orange strips:

Welded stair stringers for water drainage

Our solid step tread is made from a knurled extrusion that is slip-resistant and has channels for water to run off the sides and through the spaces between welds, as described above.

water accumulation on solid steps

When would I need ADA loading dock stairs?

ADA-compliant dock stairs are needed when the loading dock area serves as the public entrance. For example, when the warehouse serves as a retail outlet, ADA stairs and a ramp are required to be compliant.

Some property owners choose to use ADA stairs regardless because they are more robust and also have more of a commercial appearance instead of the industrial, OSHA step.


Do you offer metal end caps for the rails?

Our standard design utilizes plastic end caps, but do we offer aluminum end caps for the rails if that’s what you prefer.

Will the plastic end caps let water into the rails?

We use a polyethylene plug for the ends of our rails, and people are often worried about the plug letting water seep into the rails.

This is what our plug looks like:

plastic end cap for step rail

This is how it fits into the rails:

end cap in rail illustration

As you can see, the plugs include multiple horizontal ribs designed with built in flexibility for easy install and a secure fit. It’s difficult for water to enter the rails, but we don’t guarantee that it will not happen. If water does manage to enter the rails, we have designed our product to let the water drain through the rail pockets that attach to the stringer. We don’t want your product to collect water and freeze, so we take the precautionary measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Can the steps tie into the building instead of having platform legs against the wall?

Our standard design provides four platform legs, but we can design the step system without the rear platform legs and have the platform attach directly to the building:

dock step into building

What platform sizes do you offer?

Our standard design has a 67″ x 67″ platform to be compliant with all ADA, OSHA, IBC, and CBC codes. However, if your application requires a different size platform, we will do everything we can to meet your requirements.

How much maintenance does an aluminum ramp require?

Our prefabricated aluminum ramps will never rust, warp, or rot, so they require very little maintenance. Here are a few of our simple aluminum ramp maintenance tips to keep your ramp functioning and looking great.