How Much Does It Cost To Build A Handicap Ramp?
Most homeowners spend between $1,012 to $1,718 nationally.
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Many homes require stairs to get in. If you have aging parents or other family members with certain physical disabilities, you should strongly consider building a wheelchair ramp. Fortunately, installing a handicap ramp is not too expensive, but there are ways to lower your project cost even further.
See our full handicap ramp cost calculator below and then, use ImproveNet to find reputable contractors who can install a safe and reliable wheelchair ramp this week.
National Build a Disability Ramp Costs
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|National Average Cost||$1,604|
|Average Range||$1,012 to $1,718|
How do we get this data? This info is based on 400 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.
Table of Contents
- Wheelchair Ramp Cost
- Handicap Ramp Cost Factors
- Ramp Types & Their Costs
- Ramp Specifications
- Custom Vs. Modular Ramps
- Portable Vs. Fixed Ramps
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- How To Build A Handicap Ramp
- Find A Wheelchair Ramp Contractor
Wheelchair Ramp Cost
Depending on your ramp needs, you could install a wheelchair ramp on your own. However, since it’s very important that the ramp is safe and easy to use, most homeowners agree that hiring a professional familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is the right call.
Given that there are various ramp types made of many different materials, it’s not always easy coming up with an average wheelchair ramp cost. After all, no two ramp projects are exactly the same. Nonetheless, based on national averages, expect to pay between $1,285 and $1,841 to professionally build a handicap ramp.
Handicap Ramp Cost Factors
Despite the relatively low price range, there are plenty of factors that can increase or decrease your wheelchair ramp cost. Unlike other home accessibility projects, you can control many of these dynamics. We’ll jump into each factor later on, but before you hire a remodeling contractor, keep the following cost considerations in mind:
- DIY or Hire A Pro: Some portable ramps are easy to build and easy to move. On the other hand, other homeowners seek permanent ramps and usually hire a professional contractor. If you fall in the latter, your handicap ramp cost will rise.
- Ramp Type: You can build a portable or fixed ramp. Portable ramps are good for occasional use or after an injury. If you have aging parents in wheelchairs or other family members bound to a wheelchair, consider building a fixed ramp. As you might expect, permanent ramps cost more.
- Ramp Materials: Fixed wheelchair ramps are typically made from aluminum, steel, wood or concrete. All have their pros and cons, but concrete tends to cost more than all other ramp materials.
- Customization: If you plan on staying in your home for more than 10 years, you should build a custom ramp suited for your home. If not, ask your contractor about a modular ramp, which can be disassembled without the help of a pro.
- Slope: Low slope ramps are ideal for all using them, but they also cost more, as most ramp contractors charge by the linear foot.
- Landing: Flat surfaces are ideal on the top, bottom and in the middle (with a long ramp) of a wheelchair ramp. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for the user to actually open the door and get into the house. Additional landings add to your overall handicap ramp price.
- Lighting: Finally, if your outdoor lighting isn’t up to par, you’ll have to consider ramp lights. For this addition, you may have to hire an electrician. The average price to hire an electrician is $302.
Ramp Types & Their Costs
Just like any disability remodeling, we all want options. Fortunately, when it comes to home wheelchair ramps, you have plenty.
Before you consider all ramp materials below, make sure you know the exact intention of the wheelchair ramp. Some individuals use the ramp for occupied wheelchairs, unoccupied wheelchairs, children or adults, and the weight of these can all differ substantially. Of course, this affects your material of choice.
Beyond its location, customization and permanence, you have a few ramp materials to choose from. All bring their own pros, cons and prices.
Most Popular & Easy to DIY
Lots of Maintenance
Strong & Lightweight
Bends & Needs Textured Finish
Heavier than Aluminum
Can Rust or Corrode
Best for Permanent Ramps & Very Strong
Wood Handicap Ramps
Perhaps the most popular of all handicap ramps, wood ramps are also the most affordable. Seeing as you can make a wooden wheelchair ramp from various specifies of wood, you shouldn’t have an issue finding a wood grain that falls within your budget. Additionally, wood ramps are typically the easiest to DIY.
On the down side, wood wheelchair ramps require a lot of maintenance. You must sand and seal it to prevent warping and sagging. Furthermore, you have to look out for rot and monitor the ramp after a storm. Wood handicap ramps get very slippery.
Aluminum Handicap Ramps
Another very popular ramp material is aluminum. If you’re considering a hardy, portable wheelchair ramp, aluminum is terrific choice. Often times, you can buy the pieces separately and put them together without a professional. You can also buy lightweight aluminum to make installation even easier.
However, just like wood, you need a textured finished to grip the tires. If you don’t, users could slip after storms. Aluminum can get expensive and tends to bend over time.
Steel Handicap Ramps
While steel is almost part of the metal family, it tends to cost less than an aluminum wheelchair ramp. Additionally, steel is heavier than aluminum. If you don’t think an aluminum ramp can hold the weight, steel is a smart alternative that costs less.
On the downside, steel is less flexible than aluminum, making installation that much harder. Like wood, steel ramps require maintenance. If you don’t, it can rust or corrode, both of which will cost you more in ramp repairs.
Concrete Handicap Ramps
Finally, if you’re installing a permanent, custom ramp, you should strongly consider concrete. Easily the safest of the bunch, concrete wheelchair ramps are very strong and rarely require repairs. Of course, extra safety doesn’t come without a price. Concrete is the most expensive home wheelchair ramp material.
While materials play a dominant role in your final handicap ramp cost, it’s not the only specification that alters the price. Before your contractor starts any work, you’ll have to discuss the following handicap ramp conditions:
The ADA has very specific guidelines for all wheelchair and handicap ramps outside a business. While residences are usually not obliged to follow the same rules, you may want to ensure your contractor understands and strongly considers the following ADA guidelines:
- Slope: The ADA requires a 1:12 ramp slope ratio, which equals one foot of wheelchair ramp for each inch of rise. For instance, a 30” rise requires a 30’ handicap wheelchair ramp.
- Landing: The ADA requires a Minimum 5' x 5' flat area at the top and bottom of the ramp.
- Width: The ADA requires a minimum width of 36” of clear space across the wheelchair ramp.
- Turns: The ADA requires a minimum turn platform size of 5’ x 5’.
- Runs: The ADA allows a maximum run of 30’ of wheelchair ramp before a rest or turn platform.
- Handrails: The ADA requires handrails to be between 34” and 38” in height on both sides of the wheelchair ramps.
After material, slope is the next specification all ramp contractors will ask. Given that many contractors charge by the linear foot, the slope plays a dominant role in the total cost of any wheelchair ramp.
To make things easier on the user and those pushing the wheelchair, many homeowners install a low slope ramp. However, since these ramps require more materials and time to install, they are more expensive than steep handicap ramps.
If you need to save some cash, install a steep sloped ramp. Just know that you’re not making things easy on those using the ramp, especially when weather conditions are not ideal.
The landings are another aspect of that ramp that will make it easy or difficult to use. As you can imagine, trying to open a door while holding your wheelchair in place on a sloped surface is not easy, especially for the elderly or those who were recently injured. In addition to being a part of the ADA guidelines, middle landings are also ideal for longer handicap ramps. These landings give the user a place to rest before they finish rolling up.
Finally, how you intend to use the ramp plays a critical role in your final ramp cost and type. Some ramps are used to wheel other items up the home. Other ramps are used for electric wheelchairs that require no manual effort. As you might expect, the more weight that is needed to support, the more time will be needed to properly construct the ramp. As such, be sure your contractor knows exactly how you intend to use the ramp.
Custom Vs. Modular Ramps
Like anything in life, custom ramps raise your costs. Just like a new car or a new home, many of us enjoy paying for something unique to our situation. Well, wheelchair ramps are no different.
Therefore, before your hire a handicap ramp contractor, you’ll need to decide whether to invest in a modular wheelchair ramp or one built specifically for your property. Modular wheelchair ramps are more affordable and take far less time to install. They’re usually prefabricated and delivered disassembled so that you or your contractor can put them together. However, if you build a modular wheelchair ramp, getting the right measurements as well as proper installation is key to ensuring the ramp works for your space.
Portable Vs. Fixed Ramps
The final ramp decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a permanent structure or a temporary wheelchair ramp. Just like above, portable ramps are much more affordable than fixed ramps.
There are a few different kinds of portable ramps, ranging from folding ramps and roll-up ramps to track lamps. Most portable ramps are made of aluminum and are easy to move and store whenever you need. The price of your portable wheelchair ramp will heavily depend on its length, but more often than not, you can find a safe and reliable portable handicap ramp for less than $1,300.
On the other hand, if you know you will need a ramp for a long period of time and don’t want to bring your ramp inside and outside every time you need it, we highly recommend biting the bullet and installing a fixed handicap ramp.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
While it’s not very common, many homeowners and active DIYers can build a handicap ramp or make other wheelchair accessible home modifications. Especially if you’re dealing with wood, one could build and install a wheelchair ramp in less than a week.
However, considering that your ramp will have to hold a lot of weight and safety is a vital concern for anyone using it, most homeowners hire professional contractors.
In addition to getting the job done quickly, professional ramp contractors know ADA guidelines and have the experience building the safest ramps on the block. Labor costs for ramp contractors range between $50 and $100 per hour, depending on experience, and most should be able to build a handicap ramp in less than two days.
How To Build A Handicap Ramp
If you’ve decided to take the DIY leap of faith, we are here to help. By following the steps below, you will not only save up to $1,000, but also build a safe and sturdy wheelchair ramp for all to use.
- Determine the ramp specifications like slope, landings, width and weight.
- Determine whether you want to build a custom or modular and portable or fixed ramp.
- Line up all boards side-by-side.
- Take another board and nail to the back of two boards you have side-by-side.
- Attach the bottom and top brackets using a drill.
- Add the handrails.
- Test the ramp.
For detailed instructions, please see How To Build A Wheelchair Ramp.
Find A Wheelchair Ramp Contractor
Installing wheelchair ramps is often not a choice, but a necessity to spend time with the ones we love. Don’t let delay that time any longer.
If you need help installing a wheelchair ramp, ImproveNet can put you in touch with up to three local remodeling contractors who are ready to build your custom handicap ramp this week.
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Last updated on Sep 26, 2017