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Building a ramp

I had been using a folding aluminum ramp for several years. I have had the intention of having a concrete ramp installed, and this will be happening in the next few months. Unfortunately, I now found myself with a sudden access need in order to safely enter my home.

I made a quick plan to build a new ramp, and knowing that this would be temporary I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it.

First, I took some measurements to figure out what would physically fit, then I used OmniCalculator's ramp calculator to determine the slope of the ramp that I would need to build.

Next, armed with this information I went to The Home Depot in order to get supplies for the build. I knew that I wanted my ramp to be about 6 feet long based upon the calculation results, and that I wanted it to be 36" wide in order to match my door frame.

I found an employee who was happy to make a few cuts for me, first cutting down some exterior-rated plywood to 6' x 3' and then by cutting the slope that I would need on the support boards. This was especially helpful, as I can't handle a full sheet of plywood. My store has a sign that indicates there is a charge after the first two free cuts, At my store they've told me that they are happy to make extra cuts at no charge as an accommodation for guests with disabilities, but I'm not sure if this is an official policy, so your experiance might vary. I also picked up a gallon of mis-tinted "deckover" paint while I was there, I've used this type of paint before, and it makes a great surface that holds up to wheelchair use fairly well.

When I got the materials home, I set up a folding table, and put the plywood ontop of it, this let me get all the way around it with my chair. Then I painted it, and let it dry overnight.

Next, I flipped it over and added some 2x8 support boards to strengthen the ramp. For these I first put my screws in from what will be the bottom of the ramp so that I could see where they were going, then I removed the screw and put them in from under the table - for me this was fairly easy, as I just sat on the foot rest of my powerchair.

With everything put together, the ramp was too heavy for me to move. A couple of physically strong helpers could have put it in place, but I didn't have anyone avalible at that moment, and I like to be independent where I can be. I used a lifting strap and chain to connect it to my tractor. Using the tractor I was able to quickly and easily put it into place.

I did have a helper who was more than happy to help with testing the new ramp, and he approved!

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