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.
Posted on BrainLine July 25, 2008. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

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

Comments (23)

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

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

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