Cornerstone Blog

Adding A Handicap Ramp


When a loved one becomes wheelchair bound due to age or infirmity, his or her experience of the world changes dramatically. Too often the person feels imprisoned in his or her own home. It is as though their very freedom has been taken from them since the simple act of getting in and out of the home becomes so curtailed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Cornerstone Builders can incorporate wheelchair ramps in a renovation project, making your home truly accessible to your loved one again.

You will need to learn about many things you hadn’t yet considered. What is the estimated price for a ramp or several? Should all steps be removed? What are the best designs for a ramp? What materials should be used to build it? Are there dimensions, measurements and construction codes to follow? Are any sources of funding available to you to help with the expense?

First, find a remodeler who is familiar with ramp building. Local codes regulate the ramps, so you don’t have to find a remodeling company who only builds ramps, just one who has built them before, so you can benefit from their experience.

To get a referral, you can start by contacting your county and state disability services organizations. The local building permit office may also be able to direct you to a reputable remodeling company, like Cornerstone Builders. Make sure that the remodeling company you choose is both licensed and insured.

Discuss with the remodeler whether the ramp should be pressure-treated wood or metal. Pressure treated decks, properly seasoned and sealed, last a long time and metal, in Southwest Florida heat, can get dangerously hot.

Also talk about putting short areas in the ramp where they remain flat instead of incline up, like the landing on a stair, to allow places to rest. Another decision is whether or not to put railings on both sides of a ramp to help the person in the wheelchair pull him or herself up on to the ramp. Your remodeler will also determine if an incline into the house door is needed if the door is the usual 2 or more inches up off the ramp.

Consider adding lighting to the ramp so you don’t have to use only porch lights. You might wish to have motion detector lights installed to save energy.

When it comes to paying for the ramp, call the county disability organization to discover if any local banks offer low-interest loans for wheelchair ramps or if there are any special programs for which you qualify.

Call us today at Cornerstone Builders. We will come to your home to give our best ideas and a free estimate about how to remodel and add a handicap ramp or ramps to your home.