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A Guide to Wheelchair Ramps

If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter most of the time, ensuring your home is accessible is important. It’s key for maintaining your independence and your safety. Examples of this can include installing a wheelchair ramp. First, it’s important to understand the different materials and ramps available.

Types of ramps

Threshold ramps

Threshold ramps are handy for when you have a small step or a raised part of a doorway. They’re usually made from materials like rubber, wood, or light metal like aluminium. These ramps help you move smoothly over the doorstep without any trouble.

How do they work?

These ramps are like bridges for your wheels. They cover up the gap between the floor and the raised part. They’re tough and can usually handle the weight of a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Always check with the manufacturer or supplier for suitability. Some ramps are made with rubber to stop slipping, while others are made of wood or metal for reasons like aesthetics and durability.

Portable ramps

It’s not uncommon to find that a lot of homes, even public places are not properly equipped for those using wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Portable ramps can be a secret weapon against this common issue. Some are designed to roll up or fold for easy transport. Just keep an eye on factors like weight capacity and length.  Depending on your mobility, it’s worth considering that you might need someone with you to help set it up.

Like anything portable, things can wear and get broken. Keep users safe by regularly checking and maintaining your ramp in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Modular Ramps

Modular ramps are a great solution for making places easier to access. They’re assembled similarly to putting together flat pack furniture. The kits are ready to use, and you can connect them in different ways based on what you need. These ramps are great if you’re okay with a bit of DIY, or you can ask your friends or a handyperson for help.

What’s useful about these ramps is that they’re not just fixed in one way. You can change their length, height, and how they’re set up to fit where you want to use them. They can be purchased for inside or outside use. They can be taken apart and put back together without much trouble.

What are the best wheelchair ramp materials?

There are a range of materials to consider when purchasing a wheelchair ramp. For instance, some are more durable, and some are better for grip and certain scenarios. It all depends on your own needs.

Aluminium is a sturdy, lightweight, and rust-resistant material. Great for durability, particularly outdoors or in damper conditions. Then there’s rubber, excellent for traction, especially on wet surfaces. If you’re considering the aesthetics of your home, wooden ramps can help bring a natural charm. Although, wood tends to need a bit more TLC to stand the test of time.

Other considerations for wheelchair ramps

Weight Capacity

Every ramp should have a given weight limit, make sure the ramp can handle the weight of your wheelchair and yourself. Going over the weight limit can compromise stability and safety. So, take the time to check the weight capacity and choose a ramp that matches your needs. If in doubt, reach out to a salesperson or manufacturer.

Length and Slope

The length and slope of the ramp are essential factors to ensure a smooth and safe transition. If the ramp is too steep, it can be challenging to navigate. Especially if you’re in a manual wheelchair or have limited upper body strength. A gentler slope is generally better for both safety and comfort.

Consider the length of the ramp. It needs to be long enough to provide a gradual incline but not so long that it becomes impractical or takes up too much space.

Safety Features:

Anti-Slip Surfaces

Smooth surfaces can become slippery, especially when wet. Look for ramps with textured or anti-slip surfaces. These will provide traction for your wheels, even in less favourable weather conditions.

Side Barriers

These act as protective walls on the sides of the ramp, preventing accidental slips off the edge. They’re ideal for those who might have difficulty keeping a straight path when using the ramp.

Sturdy Handrails

Handrails provide essential support and stability. They’re great for offering extra balance as you move along the ramp.

Insurance for Adapted Homes

At Fish Insurance, we can offer cover for adapted homes. This includes cover for fixtures such as permanently installed ramps.

With over 45 years of experience in the disability insurance sector, we specialise in a wide range of insurance for disability related products. With this in mind, we have tailored our home and contents insurance policies with disability needs in mind.

To find out more about how our Home insurance policies may be right for you, visit our main page.

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call 0333 331 3770

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