Do you have trouble navigating thresholds in your home because of mobility issues or a wheelchair? A threshold ramp can help make your living space more accessible and safe. In this blog post, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create your threshold ramp using cost-effective and easy-to-find materials.
1. Determine the height of the threshold
When determining the height of a threshold, the first step is to measure the rise in inches from the walking surface to the top of the door’s threshold, landing, or step where the ramp will be used. To do this, open the door and get the measurement from one side of the doorjamb to the other. Then, measure the rise from the stair step (tread) surface or landing surface (if any) to the top of the threshold. The ideal length of a threshold door ramp will depend on the height you took above – as these two measurements work together to determine the most suitable ramp length for safe and easy access. Remember, the height of thresholds can vary anywhere from 1/4″ tall to 1″ or more, and the thickness of the metal used in the threshold can vary by manufacturer. So, measuring carefully is necessary to get the right height and dimension for your ramp.
2. Choose the right materials for the ramp
Once the threshold height is determined, the next step is to choose suitable materials for the ramp. The choice of material depends on the intended use of the ramp, the feasible incline, and the necessary load on the ramp. Rubber ramps are perfect for navigating uneven household surfaces like small steps and doorway thresholds. They offer a non-skid surface that ensures safety in all weather conditions. Made from recycled tires, rubber threshold ramps are usually affordable, durable, and easy to install.
On the other hand, a wooden ramp can be crafted if a more permanent ramp is required. Wooden ramps are customizable in size and generally made from solid wood. They offer a natural and aesthetic appeal but require more maintenance than rubber ramps. Choosing the right materials for the ramp ensures durability, safety, and accessibility.
3. Prepare the wooden boards for cutting
Preparing wooden cutting boards for use is an essential step that cannot be skipped. First, one should ensure the board is clean and dry. It is recommended to wash the board with hot soapy water and allow it to dry completely. This is to limit the absorption of moisture, which may cause the wood to warp over time. The next step is to choose the right oil for seasoning the board. The oil of choice should be food-safe and non-toxic. Once the oil has been selected, cover the board and rub it in, adding enough to saturate the wood. After a few minutes, wipe away the excess oil and let the board dry overnight. Repeat this process regularly to keep the board in good condition. It is also essential to clean the board thoroughly after each use, using hot soapy water, and ensure it is dry before storing it. Overall, taking good care of wooden cutting boards will make them last longer and keep them safe.
4. Cut the boards to the desired size
After preparing the wooden boards, the next step to create a threshold ramp is to cut them to the desired size. The ideal width for the ramp is between 30-36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair comfortably. Cut the boards into equally sized pieces using a saw or a jigsaw. Using 2- x 6-inch boards for the ramp’s surface is recommended as they provide enough strength and stability to support a wheelchair or mobility device. Once the boards are cut, sand the edges to create a smooth finish that does not pose a tripping hazard. This step is crucial to ensure the ramp is safe for individuals with mobility issues. With the boards ready, lay them parallel to create the ramp’s base structure. Make sure to fill any gaps between the boards using props to ensure stability. Use screws to secure the props and ensure the ramp does not move or shift.
5. Sand the edges of the boards for a smooth finish
After cutting the wooden boards to the desired size for the ramp, it’s important to sand the edges for a smooth finish. This step will help prevent any splinters or rough edges from causing injury or damage to the ramp or door frame. Sanding also ensures that the ramp will be level and stable, providing safe and easy access for anyone who needs it. Use fine-grit sandpaper to create a soft, even edge without removing too much material. The ramp will look professional and polished with carefully sanded boards, providing functionality and aesthetic appeal.
6. Lay the boards in a parallel position to build the ramp
When building a ramp, it is important to lay the boards parallel to ensure a sturdy and safe structure. To achieve this, one should lay the two planks flat and parallel, ensuring their outside edges are 30 inches apart. The ramp ends should be placed on one side and underneath the planks. By screwing support boards inside of the box and using straightedges to draw lines parallel to the long sides, the ramp will be less likely to break or shift during use. Remember that if working with a 15-foot long ramp, order 16-foot long boards. Following these guidelines and ensuring proper measurements can create a durable and reliable ramp for safe use.
7. Use props to fill any gaps between the boards
After cutting and sanding the wooden boards to size, it’s time to lay them in a parallel position to build the ramp. However, gaps between boards might exist, especially if the threshold height is more significant. This is where props come in handy. One can use pieces of wood or foam to fill these gaps and achieve a smooth surface for the wheelchair, scooter, or walker. The props should be screwed in place for stability before testing the ramp. It’s important to ensure that the ramp does not move or shift while in use to prevent accidents. With the gaps filled, one can now place the ramp on both sides of the threshold for accessibility, making it easy to move in and out of the house or building.
8. Screw the props in place for stability
Once the wooden boards have been laid parallel to each other to form the ramp, it’s time to screw the props in place for added stability. A prop may be necessary to fill gaps between the boards or to align the ramp with the threshold. By screwing the props into place, the ramp will be fixed firmly to the ground, reducing the risk of slipping or moving. It’s important to ensure the screws are secure and flush with the boards to avoid tripping hazards. With the ramp now stable and safe, individuals with mobility challenges can easily access the threshold confidently.
9. Check that the ramp does not move or shift
Once the ramp is built, it’s important to ensure it doesn’t move or shift. To do this, check that the surface beneath the ramp is level and stable. If it isn’t, use shims or wedges to even it out. Next, test the ramp by placing weight on it and checking for any movement or instability. If it does move, ensure any screws or props are tightened and adjusted as needed. Keep in mind, a secure ramp is essential for safe accessibility, so don’t skip this important step.
10. Place the ramp on both sides of the threshold for accessibility
After working through the steps of making a threshold ramp, it’s essential to ensure that it’s placed in a way that provides accessibility for anyone who needs it. To do this, place the ramp on both sides of the threshold. This makes it easier to use for people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility. By having two ramps, you can create a smooth and seamless transition between the doorways and room entrances. This way, people won’t need to navigate over any threshold or ledge. By following these steps, you are providing a cost-effective and convenient solution for anyone who requires a ramp for accessibility purposes.