Understanding Different Wheelchair Ramp Materials Available

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There are many kinds of wheelchair ramps.  The actual structure of ramps varies from simple doorway threshold models to large-scale modular and permanent structures.  In addition to the many different options in terms of physical type, those building ramps also have a wide selection of materials at their disposal.

Each of these wheelchair ramp materials has their own unique advantages.

Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

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Aluminum ramps are incredibly popular.  That’s true whether you’re considering larger units or smaller, portable ramp options.

Aluminum’s popularity stems from three factors.

First, it’s a very light metal.  Even when used as the base for a heavier alloy (a common practice in the world of disability ramps), aluminum produces a lightweight option that makes installation of larger ramps easy and allows for a host of portable options.

Second, aluminum is relatively inexpensive.  It’s not the cheapest material on the market (that honor still goes to wood), but it is far less expensive than other alternatives.

Third, aluminum ramps are easy to maintain.  While the cheaper versions may not be as sturdy as one would like, they are certainly weather resistant and easy to clean.

Fiberglass Wheelchair Ramps

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Fiberglass is an increasingly popular material for the construction of disability ramps.  It may seem counter intuitive to think that one could make a quality ramp from what are basically extremely thin fibers of glass, but manufacturers are offering a number of impressive products.

The primary advantage of fiberglass as a ramp material is its weight.  Fiberglass ramps are incredibly light, making them perfect for smaller, portable units.  They may lack the strength and durability necessary for larger jobs, but they receive rave reviews from those who occasionally need a convenient, portable ramp solution.

 

Concrete Wheelchair Ramps

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Concrete has long been the material of choice for commercial and public wheelchair ramps.  Concrete ramps are permanent in nature and offer incomparable levels of durability.  Since the passage of the Americans With Disability Act (ADA), which mandated accessibility in public accommodations, concrete ramps have become a regular part of many buildings’ construction plans and older structures have been retrofitted with these solid ramps.

Obviously, concrete isn’t a workable solution in all situations.  It’s an expensive selection and requires expert construction and installation.  However, concrete is seeing an increase in popularity as part of new modular ramp installations.

Manufacturers are producing modular wheelchair ramps that consist of steel-framed concrete panels.  This gives one a chance to enjoy the longevity and stability of concrete at a lower price point and with a greater degree of flexibility.  These sturdy options are often rated to manage loads as high as 2,000 pounds!

Galvanized Steel Wheelchair Ramps

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Galvanized steel ramps are ideal of permanent solutions.  Usually assembled from modular components, these sectional ramps are remarkably sturdy and offer tremendous longevity.  Galvanized steel options have been rated for loads up to 1,500 pounds while being easy to install.

These ramps are rust-resistant and are well-received due to their grate construction, which eliminates ice, snow and water accumulation while providing great traction for wheelchair users.

Wooden Wheelchair Ramps

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Wood has long been a material of choice for homeowners in need of disability ramps.  Even though wood doesn’t offer the weather resistance or permanence of sturdier options, it has some unique advantages.

First, wooden ramps are relatively cheap to build.  Although no one wants to make a safety and accessibility decision purely based on cost, the low prices associated with wooden options are undeniably attractive.

Second, it’s fairly easy to build a basic wooden ramp.  This makes it possible for people to create and assemble some kinds of ramps without the intervention of a contractor or construction professional.

Finally, wood offers the opportunity to create an attractive ramp that will blend seamlessly with the overall appearance of a property.  This is one reason why wood remains extremely popular for residential ramps.

[note color=”#c5eefb”] If you’re considering a wheelchair ramp, you should be aware of the many different materials you can use for the job. Concrete, aluminum, fiberglass, galvanized steel and wooden disability ramps all have unique advantages that may result in any one of then being a perfect choice to meet your unique needs.
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