Modular wheelchair ramp

Wooden vs. Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

A wheelchair ramp system is an excellent way to make your home or business more wheelchair or scooter accessible. There are multiple materials available that can be used to make ramp systems, but the most common are wood or aluminum. The Discount Ramps team gathered information on both types of ramps so you can make an informed decision. If you would like to learn more about wheelchair ramps, please see our article on How to Choose the Correct Wheelchair Ramp.

Wooden Wheelchair Ramps

Wooden wheelchair ramps are permanent structures that are customized to your home or facility. Wood ramps require ground footings to keep them securely in place, meaning a wooden ramp cannot be changed or moved once it is installed. However, wooden ramps discreetly blend in with natural surroundings or existing décor. Much like a wood deck, wood ramps will require regular maintenance to prevent rotting, and you will have to apply grip tape for traction to keep the ramp from getting too slippery when wet.

Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps

Unlike wood, aluminum ramp systems are not always permanent. Most aluminum ramps come in a modular design, which means they can be changed or customized after you have a system installed. You can purchase individual components, like ramp, stair, platform, or handrail sections to design a custom ramp that can be altered to fit your requirements. Aluminum ramps are also usually cheaper than wooden ramps and set up is easy. Aluminum ramps do not require a lot of maintenance and many ramps have built in traction surfaces. Aluminum ramps are more prone to dents, and the silver metallic finish doesn’t discreetly blend into the surroundings.

At a Glance

  Treated Wooden Ramps Aluminum Modular Ramps
Experience Required for Set Up Requires a contractor to customize a system to your home or facility Can be installed with a few tools by hand
Additional Requirements Footings required No concrete footings or pads required
Installation Time About two days Depends on the system, ranges from 30 minutes to a few hours. For example, a 24 foot system can be installed in 30 minutes.
Maintenance Requires regular maintenance to prevent rotting Minimal maintenance, but more prone to denting
Traction Traction surface must be applied separately Traction surface built into the surface
Finish Requires yearly treatment No paint or stain needed
Permanence Permanent Installation Can be disassembled
Adjustability Cannot be modified or adjusted Can be altered after installation
Aesthetics Blends into surroundings, more discreet Metallic finish does not blend in as well as wood

Both wooden and aluminum wheelchair ramps can be customized and installed to be ADA compliant. Aluminum ramps will be lighter, and easier to maintain. If you know someone who is skilled in woodworking, a wooden ramp can be a great lower cost alternative, but will require more upkeep. If you don’t know a carpenter or woodworker, hiring a contractor out for installation gets costly.

Before making a final purchase, consult and determine your individual home needs and home owner’s association rules, or business requirements. No matter your choice, a quality wheelchair ramp system will provide the freedom and independence to easily navigate in and out of your home or office.

If you have any additional questions regarding wheelchair ramps, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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