How to choose a Threshold Ramp – A Simple Guide

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Threshold Ramps (sometimes referred to as a wedge ramp)

A small step at a doorway or between different floor surfaces can restrict or prevent someone in a wheelchair, scooter or a wheelie walker from travelling that route.

The function of a ramp is to form an uninterrupted path of travel. A ramp may be installed inside or outside the home, and can benefit ambulant clients, or non-ambulant clients and their caregivers.

For example, let’s say your front entry door has a timber sill at the bottom about 30mm thick. Someone in a wheelchair may be unable to easily pass over that threshold to enter your house. A threshold ramp on either side of the door sill can provide a safe transition over the obstacle.

There may be a 35 mm step up from the floor in your hall to the floor of your bathroom.  Again the access to the bathroom for a wheelie walker can be greatly improved with the installation of a small threshold ramp.

 

The threshold ramp assists a person with disabilities, the elderly or anyone that needs a safer and easier path of travel when negotiating raised door sills or sliding door tracks.

The installation of a threshold ramp can reduce the trip hazard of a small step.

Threshold ramps may be necessary in numerous instances through your home.

Occupational therapists often recommend the installation of a ramp at the small step at the doorway to the toilet, bathroom or laundry.

With a threshold ramp installed at these previous small steps allows for much easier and safer access through these doors for wheelie walkers and wheelchairs.

Choosing a Threshold Ramp

1.   Select easy to install ramps. Solid rubber ramps that simply sit in place are fine, assuming they will actually stay in place when the wheelchair rolls over them. 

2.    Look for a ramp offering a slip resistive surface. For outdoor ramps, do look for something that will allow water to penetrate it, rather than sit on the surface. 

3.    Select either a permanent or a temporary option, as it fits your needs. While some are interchangeable, keep in mind that there are several types of threshold ramps on the market, including rubber ramps (can be laid in place or permanently fixed with adhesive), freestanding ramps, and aluminium ramps (may require a pin to hold them in place). 

4.    Durability and functionality are key considerations

5.    Consider a unit with wings or tapered sides if turning is required while entering the doorway opening.

6.    Maximum gradient of 1:8 is preferred.

7.   Will it be safe? And will it serve the purpose intended?

 

 

Ramp Types - Timber, Aluminium or Rubber

A timber ramp

You can have your friendly carpenter or handyman make and fit a timber ramp.

As this ramp is specially made to suit the position, it can include -

·  Tapered ends or side splays at one or both ends

·  Be secured to the floor

·  Have the surface painted with “slip resistive” paint

A timber ramp that is installed internally usually work fine, however externally it may twist or buckle with the effects of rain and sun, plus it may compromise the termite barrier of your home.

An aluminium ramp

You also have the option of buying an extruded aluminium ramp section or even have a fabricated aluminium checker plate ramp installed.

An aluminium ramp can be noisy and can reflect the sun into your house.

A threshold rubber ramp

 

You could buy a threshold rubber ramp that is made from durable slip resistant recycled rubber and have your friendly carpenter or handyman install it for you.

A Threshold rubber ramp that is made from durable slip resistant recycled rubber will last for years and will not need ongoing maintenance and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. 

They will not twist, warp or crack, won't rot and termites don't eat rubber.

Threshold rubber ramps are well suited for homeowners who recognise the need for a permanent and inexpensive solution to assist access and mobility in their home.

Simply lay the threshold rubber ramp in place or permanently fix in place with builders adhesive.

An added bonus of a threshold rubber ramp made from durable slip resistant recycled rubber is that its dark colour is often a contrasting colour to the floor coverings either side.

This contrasting colour allows a person with reduced sight to identify the different floor heights, which greatly reduces the likelihood of the person tripping and falling.

·        On uneven surfaces threshold rubber ramps will flex and grip to uneven surfaces for a more stable footing than ramps made from more rigid materials

·      Ramps can be fixed, however not usually necessary if the ramps are positioned on carpet.


Threshold rubber ramps are also environmentally friendly. Each year millions of tyres come to the end of their useful life and often become environmental waste.


 Recycling tyres into threshold rubber ramps takes advantage of the durability and safety aspects of the original compounds found in tyres.


Things to watch out for

For outdoor ramps, do look for something that will allow water to penetrate it, rather than sit on the surface

Make certain that the top edge of a threshold ramp is level with the top floor surface. A threshold ramp that is “too high”  creates a trip hazard for people walking down the ramp.

Does your threshold ramp need to comply with AS 1428.1 2009 the Australian Standard for people with Disabilities?


Some building owners and originations require the installation of a threshold ramp that complies to the Australian Standard for people with Disabilities.

The Australian Standard AS 1428.1 2009 outlines that a ramp should have a surface gradient of 1:8 with a maximum height of 35 mm.( that’s 280 mm long- length of travel)

However for the normal household you can have a threshold ramp to suit your need.

Will it be safe? And will it serve the purpose intended?

Be careful that you don’t fix one problem only to create a different one

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