Wheelchair Ramp Information

Northeast Rehabilitation Health Network
Wheelchair Ramp Information

Learn the correct measurements of a properly constructed wheelchair ramp:

  • Maximum slope for hand-propelled wheelchair ramps should be 1" of rise to every 12" of length (4.8 degree angle; 8.3% grade).
  • Maximum slope for power chairs should be 1.5" rise to 12" length (7.1 degree angle; 12.5% grade).
  • Minimum width should be 36" (inside rails) - (48" is ideal).
  • The "deck" or surface of the ramp should be set down between a side-rail assembly such that there is about a 2" curb or lip along the edges of the ramp surface. Decking could consist of 1" X 6" pressure treated pine, (or 3/4" pressure treated plywood applied to a frame).
  • If possible, the end of the deck (where it meets the lower ground surface) should be beveled to provide a smooth transition from the ramp to level ground. Alternatively, a sheet of 10 Ga. steel at least 10" long and sized to fit the width of the ramp could be used to span the space between the deck surface and the walk or driveway surface at the end of the ramp. This piece should overlap the ramp deck by 2" and be fastened securely with 4 large countersunk flat-head wood screws.
  • A level platform of at least 5' X 5' should be at the top of ramp to allow for wheelchair maneuvering. If the entranceway opens outward, there should be 1' of surface area extending from the side of the door opening to allow motion to the side without backing the chair during door opening. This landing should not be considered part of the overall "run"/length of the ramp. Any turning point along the ramp needs a level landing. If the turn is a right angle (90 degrees), the landing should be a minimum of 5' by 4'. If a "switchback" of 180 degrees is constructed, the level landing should measure at least 5' X 8'. Ramps longer than 30' should provide a platform every 30' for purposes of safety and to create opportunity for rest.
  • Hand rails should be provided for any ramp having a slope of more than 5% (i.e.- greater than 1:12). These should extend an inch beyond the top and bottom of the ramp and should be located 32" from the ramp surface.
  • Buildings modified for accessibility should provide at least 2 remotely located accessible entrances for exit in case of emergency.
  • There should be no step or bump exceeding one-half inch at doors or thresholds and there should be a level area 5' by 5' at doors. 1' to 1'6" space to the side of door on the pull side must be clear.
  • Slip resistant surfaces - carborundum grit, strips, rubber, sand sprinkled on wet paint, or rough ("broom finish") concrete are acceptable surfaces.
  • Ramps should have a 5' straight and level surface at the bottom to allow adequate stopping distance.


Use the calculator below by selecting the type of ramp and entering any variable to determine the length or height of your ramp.

Posted on BrainLine July 25, 2008. Reviewed February 22, 2022.

From the Northeast Rehabilitation Health Network. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. www.northeastrehab.com.

Comments (44)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Hi. So I'm designing a portable ramp for small elevations that come after staircases, for example when you exit an area and before the stairs come in there is a small elevation that is approx only half or one foot. So what would be the dimensions for the ramp? The ramp design itself is for people who can carry the ramp with them. The ramp is divided into four parts that are all interlocked but are able to bend into one single rectangular shape so as to make it portable and easy to carry.

Hi My son is 19 year and on manual wheel chair we need to built ramp as sundeck height is 8feet how long and after how long it will need support from Ground

If you really mean 8'0" (8 feet) then your ramp would need to be 96'0" (96 feet) long. It would need to be supported the entire length.

Ok my maths is lousy. Im in a power wheelchair, So fairly robust. I miss visiting my friends houses but everyone if them has front steps. Im not sure if the accurate height but they have 2 to 3 steps that are just what I call.an average house step height. .I really am sick of being stuck at home and only having visitors come to me. I have seen 1 metre ramps but someone told me it would do 2 steps easily. Im trying to picture that against your inclines and seems like a sales pitch. So think im best to purchase direct?..with my poor maths, I would gave thought I would need 6metres so 1 metre seems a bit random ! Almost just a kerb?

If each step is approximately 160mm tall then you would need about 2 metres for each step.

Assuming you use the recommended ratio of 1:12 listed here, that is 4.76 degrees

So a 1m ramp can climb 83mm (a little over 3 inches (75mm))

I am planning to purchase a wheelchair over here. Just wanted to know whether I should go with a manual wheelchair or an electric one if I don't want to be carried everywhere by an attendant all the time. I wanted to be independent.

I need a ramp to go up two steps, a total of 17 inches in height. The scooter says it can have a 6 degree slope. How do I figure out what length ramp? I know I don't have room for the standard 1:12 ratio. Thank you!!

Ramp length (ie from the bottom to the top of the ramp surface) is 17/sin(6)=162.6 so 163 inches.
Climbing 17 in 170 would be 1:10
17 inch climb at 1:12 would be 204 plan length (from the top step straight out) so the ramp would be a little longer than 204. (204.7, so say 205 inches)

hey i just wanted to know is there any limit for length of the slope like after how much distance should there be a landing

Current ICC States that there needs to be a 48" landing after every 12 ft (length) of ramp. So, for a 2 foot(24 inch) stoop to place a ramp it would have to be 2 12 foot sections with a 48" landing in the center, 28 feet long. If that is too long and you want to "bend"it, the landing must have room for 60" diameter or at least a 5ft x 5ft landing.

the article stated anything over 30 ft needs a landing.

I was looking for the wheelchair itself- but I enjoyed your information.

Thank you for posting this information. A worthy guide.

If i had a door 65cm high off the ground how long does the ramp have to be to get to that door

With a max 1:12 slope for ADA, to raise 65 cm you would need
12 * 65cm = 780 cm = 25.6 feet of ramp distance,
Since 25.6' is shorter than 30', you do not need any mid-ramp landings for rest
but you do need 5' landings at the top and bottom of the ramp plus any clearances needed for opening doors. However if your site geometry does not permit a straight 7.8m ramp, you may need to change directions or have a 180º switchback, in which case you would need landings for those corners.
NOTE: I am not an ADA expert, just a regular lay person who has read the ADA requirements.

I need a wheelchair ramp that should be about 5 foot going out and then turn left for about 3 feet.

Hi Pam, Have you found a ramp with these specifications? I’m also trying to find one
Thank you

How many feet I need if I am building 13 feet high ramps

According to ADA, for 13 feet in height, you need a 47.7 m ramp. You also need to split your straight ramp into more parts to meet ADA standards. The maximum distance between the two landings should be 9 m for such a slope.

Don't forget about proper draining if it's an outdoor ramp

10 ft high deck how long do the ramps have to be?

According to ADA, you need to 36.7 m ramp. You also need to split your straight ramp into more parts to meet ADA standards. The maximum distance between the two landings should be 9 m for such a slope.

Don't forget about proper draining if it's an outdoor ramp

Does the ramp landing have to be concrete or can wood be used

Looking to build a wheelchair ramp the length I'm looking to work with is 8ft in length what does the rise to end measurement have to be.The.measurement at steps is 6 or 8 inches high.

If a handicap ramp is constructed correctly top to bottom, 18’ long with 1’-6” rise = 8.33% but has slight variations between ( measured with a smart level ). Is it out of acceptable tolerance ?

Is the slope different if a ramp is just going to be used for a person with a walker rather than a person with the wheelchair?

Per ADA they are the same slope. All ramps should be slip resistant.

I need a walker ramp going 48 inches high. How long should my ramp be to be within code in Ontario?

thank you

It should be 576 inches or simplified it can have a ratio of 1:12

I live in a basement suite, with ramp from my outside door to top floor outside landing ... Which is about 9' higher than my level,  with a steep 28' ramp from my basement landing to top landing.  What would grade and incline of this be please, and would an outdoor scooter go up and down? Opinions appreciated. Otherwise outdoor chairlift only alternative I think?  Thank you.

The rate of incline should be 1:12 for self propelled wheelchairs. The means the ramp must raise 1 inch in height for each 12 inches of ramp length. To conform to ADA standards a 9 foot rise (108 inches) would require a ramp to be 108 feet long.
Do NOT attempt to operate a scooter on your current ramp.

It would be longer because you need a 5' flat landing every 30' of run at 1:12.

Ìn answer to the first comment of how long it has to be, if you want a 1 in 12 slope measure the height of your step and then multiply by 12. Example. If the step or difference in height is 1 foot then the ramp length in a horizontal plane will need to be 12 feet. If a different slope is required say 1 in 14 then multiply by 14. Simple isn't it!

How long in length does it have to be?

I am looking for an answer . What is minimum slope for ADA requirements, I have 4 inch rise in 8 feet

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Portable Wheelchairs

Keep Posting:)

In answer to the degree of slope, keep in mind that a wheelchair ramp is often also used for the walking disabled (walking casts, electric and non-electric chairs, those with cerebral palsy, hip problems, etc.  If the ramp is too steep going DOWN, they can have trouble stepping.  So don't make it too steep if you know more than just an electric chair wants to use it (ie public buildings).  IN one place only one long ramp was provided, and for the most part it was too steep for every handicapped person who was expected to use it (walking disabled and manual wheelchair up). They used it but they hated it.

A comment posted May 29, 2014, said "4.8 degrees would be about 10.66 % slope." This is not correct ... 4.8 degrees corresponds to 1:12 = 8.3%. Here is a table of conversions generated by Excel (of course not all are appropriate for wheelchair ramps!):

1:20 = 2.9 deg. = 5.0%
1:19 = 3.0 deg. = 5.3%
1:18 = 3.2 deg. = 5.6%
1:17 = 3.4 deg. = 5.9%
1:16 = 3.6 deg. = 6.3%
1:15 = 3.8 deg. = 6.7%
1:14 = 4.1 deg. = 7.1%
1:13 = 4.4 deg. = 7.7%
1:12 = 4.8 deg. = 8.3%
1:11 = 5.2 deg. = 9.1%
1:10 = 5.7 deg. = 10.0%
1:9 = 6.3 deg. = 11.1%
1:8 = 7.1 deg. = 12.5%
1:1 = 45.0 deg. = 100.0

In Canada building codes require a minimum of 1 foot of ramp for every 1" of rise and so do the ADA guidelines in the States regardless of the whether the wheelchair is powered or manually propelled.

In the first part of the article, 1 in 12 slope is about 4.8 degrees, but this is not 8.3% slope.  4.8 degrees would be about 10.66 % slope.

This is really helpful info, but if anyone could recommend a good company that can install wheelchair ramps, stair lifts and maybe walk-in showers or tubs. One company a friend of mine suggested is The Senior Safety Company http://seniorsafetycompany.com/

Does the 1:12 ratio assume that the person in the wheelchair is pushing it? I wd suppose that if another person is pushing the incline could be steeper

Thank's for this message