Like people, no two ramps are exactly alike. But for those who find themselves suddenly thrust into needing a ramp for their home, knowing which one will best fit their needs can be a confusing (and costly) process.
At Whole Home, we routinely use our expertise to help people find and select the right ramp model to keep their homes as safe and comfortable as possible. Knowing the differences in the types of ramps can make the selection process a smooth, painless process, enabling you to enjoy the safe life at home you deserve.
Read along and discover the differences in ramp styles to find the one that best suits your needs.
ALUMINUM VS. WOOD: PROS AND CONS
At Whole Home, we use two primary materials for ramps: aluminum or wood.
Aluminum has many advantages that make it useful for ramp installation. For one, aluminum ramps are often easy to maintain, which makes them a good choice for those with limited mobility that may not be able to perform household chores. Second, aluminum ramps are usually in stock, making the turnaround time on their installation fairly quick and great for use in emergency situations.
Temporary aluminum ramps also do not often require building permits and can be installed over existing porches, sidewalks and yards. Because of the construction of their surfaces, they also feature better traction for wheelchairs, walkers, and helpers who may be assisting disabled people on foot. Aluminum ramps can also be disassembled and re-assembled should they need to be moved.
On the other hand, aluminum ramps are not always aesthetically pleasing, and some aluminum ramps may be more expensive than wood options. They also usually come in standard sizes and may be more difficult to customize depending on the circumstances.
Wood ramps, in contrast, are built specific to each user, allowing for a true custom experience.
However, wood ramps also require a higher degree of maintenance, as the elements will cause harm to them if they are not routinely cared for. Since they are a permanent fixture, they also will likely require permits for construction. Additionally, wood ramps require more labor for installation and can be slip hazards after heavy rainfall and/or snow.
One option that may be worth considering in limited use is the suitcase ramp. Extremely portable, suitcase ramps fold up and can be carried in a fashion similar to their namesake. They are useful for slopes of one to two steps (for more on slopes, see our ramp mobility blog post here and can typically be found in lengths ranging from 2 to 6 feet.
However, suitcase ramps are not intended for steep inclines, have no railings, and can be very heavy to lift and set up. Likewise, the narrowness of some models may make them difficult to maneuver and can result in some wheelchairs (especially powered ones) getting stuck. One also has to make sure the suitcase ramp can support the weight of the wheelchair and the person inside it.
Contacting the experts at Whole Home’s Innovation Center can ensure that the perfect ramp is installed in the right way at your home. To learn more about the options we offer, call us at (513) 482-5100 today. Helping people stay safely in their homes is our specialty and our promise to every client that we serve.