Everyday Gear Home Modifications

Adventures With Portable Wheelchair Ramps, Part 3

In Part 1 of this series of articles, I discussed the ramps needed so that my dad could have access to the house. In Part 2, I looked at the basic technical requirements for the necessary ramps.

Here in Part 3, I look at determining the size of the ramps, and discuss how I went about buying them. On to Step 5.

samll rampStep 5. Determine ramp length: This is not critical for the threshold right at the front door — a small threshold ramp is all that’s needed there, and the angle can’t get steep enough to cause a problem.

But the angle of the ramp that will lead into the entry pad in front of the house is much more critical. Calculating the length wasn’t so easy (quiet, you math nerds!), until I found this handy chart at

A little interpretive vocabulary comes in handy when reading the chart. The “rise” is the height of your step, and “slope” (by degrees) is defined further down the page — scroll down the page to see the additional information.

big rampI went for the 1:8 slope (8.3 degrees), which is the ADA recommendation, and compatible with dad’s wheelchair. According to this chart, in my dad’s case I needed a 5 foot long ramp for my 8 inch rise to give us a 1:8 slope.

Step 6. Buy them: Armed with all the information gleaned in Steps 1 though 5, I then began comparison shopping on the Internet, looking for the correct size, the charge for the ramp, return policies, shipping and handling charges.

All are worth checking — sometimes the least expensive ramps were much more expensive once exorbitant shipping/handling were figured in. I ended up buying the big ramp on eBay from a seller with many sales, very clear policies and 100% positive feedback, and the smaller ramp from a dealer, also on the Internet.

ramp handleThe larger ramp has a corrugated surface to provide traction, folds in half, and has a carrying handle on the underside. We kept the box, and slip it back into it after each use. Box and ramp do slide out of sight behind the couch, making it extremely accessible on short notice. The smaller one fits neatly in the coat closet.

Both arrived promptly, and my careful measurements (measure three times, order once!) paid off. They fit neatly, and do the trick well, with minimal fuss all around.

Adventures with Portable Ramps, Part 1

Adventures with Portable Ramps, Part 2

One reply on “Adventures With Portable Wheelchair Ramps, Part 3”

Comments are closed.