Higher entrances require longer ramps. Once you get steeper than a 9.5-degree slope, the incline is no longer safe for an occupied scooter or wheelchair. Ramp installation experts suggest a 4.8-degree slope for maximum safety.
To reach a 4.8-degree slope, the height of your staircase in inches is directly related to the length of your ramp in feet. For instance, if you have two 5-inch stairs – a total of 10 inches – you can expect to have a slope that is 10 feet long.
As you can imagine, higher staircases necessitate longer runways. You may find that your slope needs to wrap around the house or go in a zigzag pattern rather than a straight line. What if you have a small front yard and four 5-inch stairs leading to your front door? Somehow, 20 feet of runway needs to make it up to your home.
Within your home, you may need very small inclines to get over thresholds or into your shower. These can easily be installed or you may consider a portable option. It all depends on how many of your doors have raised thresholds.
Installation experts suggest that the width of your incline be slightly wider than the wheelbase of your chair or scooter. Obviously, the device needs to fit onto the slope, but you should also have a safety margin on either side. That way if you weave a little from one side to the other, you won’t go flying off!
No matter what size of your wheelchair ramp, installation experts highly recommend options that are stable, firm (no sagging as you ride over), and slip-resistant. You also want to find a model that sheds water easily.