Concrete ramp specifications

Written by erik devaney
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Whether you have a person with limited mobility living in your home who utilises a wheelchair or scooter or you need a ramp for more easily storing vehicles or equipment, such as riding lawnmowers or motorcycles, a concrete ramp can make a durable addition to your home. When installing a concrete ramp, pay attention to the distances and angles you are using, as an improper design can lead to a ramp that is unsafe or otherwise dysfunctional.

Regardless of your ramp's intended application, sticking to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramp guidelines can help keep your ramp's specifications in check.

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Slope

The slope of a concrete ramp refers to the rise of the ramp over its run, or its height in relation to its length. The ADA recommends that concrete ramps have slopes that are no steeper than 1 inch of rise per linear foot of run. However, in some instances, using this maximum-recommended slope could lead to ramps that are too steep for the people who need to use them. As Ask The Builder states, an alternative and slightly flatter slope option is to build a concrete ramp that has 1 inch of rise for every 18 inches of run. The downside of decreasing the slope of a ramp, however, is that you have to increase its length as a result, which means the ramp will take up more space.

Rise

While there is no maximum length for a concrete ramp, the ADA does establish a maximum rise, or height, which is 30 inches. If a ramp rises more than 30 inches, you must install a flat platform -- for resting -- before continuing with the ramp's upward slope.

Width

The minimum width of a concrete ramp, as the ADA establishes, is 36 inches. However, depending on how you are going to use the ramp and depending on the size of the equipment or vehicles that will be going up and down it, you may need a wider ramp. For example, as Ask The Builder recommends, you could use widths of 42 or 48 inches, provided you have enough space.

Surfacing Considerations

A standard mixture of concrete for pouring a concrete ramp will contain Portland cement, water, sand and aggregate materials, such as pieces of stone and gravel. By treating the surface of a curing concrete ramp with a surface retarder and pressure-spraying the concrete surface, you can reveal the aggregated buried in the mixture. The resulting exposed aggregate surfaces can add traction to a concrete ramp. You can also install aggregate surfaces by seeding or broadcasting aggregates, such as pea gravel, onto concrete while it is curing. The ADA does not regulate the use of aggregates in concrete ramps.

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