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How to Build a Handicap Ramp and Landing

Make your home handicap-accessible with this project.

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building a handicap ramp and landing

Step 1: Cut Frame Pieces

Use pressure treated wood and galvanized roofing nails to hold up against the outside elements. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, a landing of this kind should be at least 5 ft x 5 ft. This is so that someone in a wheelchair could turn completely around in a circle without getting stuck. Using a chop saw, cut frame pieces to size.

cut frame pieces to size

Step 2: Create the Frame

Using a framing nailer, assemble each of the pieces of wood to create a frame (Image 1). For additional support and stability, cut and attach cross joists to the inside of the frame every 16 inches (Image 2).

Step 3: Put the Frame in Place

Once the deck frame is built, place it flush along the edge of the doorway and flush on the concrete. Check to make sure it is level both horizontally and vertically (Image 1). Add a few shims made from pressure treated wood where needed to level it up (Image 2) and to provide much needed ventilation.

Step 4: Attach the Frame to the Building

Furrow the nail gun between the joists. Put a nail about every eight inches. This distance between nails will ensure that the deck is secure.

furrow nail gun between joists

Step 5: Create Ramp Supports

To create the ramp, measure from the distance from the top of the landing to concrete base. Then cut three boards using this measurement on one end and angling the cut down to a point (Image 1), creating ramp supports. Next, fasten the three ramp supports to the side of landing frame (Image 2).

Step 6: Add Braces

To make the ramp more stable, use wood cross braces between each of the three ramp supports. Secure these to the concrete. Drill two pilot holes into each brace using a masonry bit (Image 1) and fasten using concrete anchors or screws (Image 2). Then fasten each of the braces to the ramp supports (Image 3).

Step 7: Add the Deck Planks

Add the deck planks across the ramp and the landing frame. Start by placing a full board where the angle of the ramp changes (Image 1). Be sure to orient the boards so that they are crossways or perpendicular to the ramp. Placing the decking this way ensures that a wheelchair will not get its wheels stuck in the seams between the decking boards. Secure each board working out as you go (Image 2).

Step 8: Trim off Overhang

Once all the planks are in place, trim off any overhang with a circular saw to make it even with frame. Sand the cut ends to smooth, if desired.

trim off any overhang with circular saw

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