Handicap Ramps: Determining the Correct Angle

Handicap ramps have to meet certain requirements by the ADA. Having an incorrect angle will not only violate the federal requirements, it will also make it very difficult for someone who needs the ramp to actually use it. Finding the correct angle isn't difficult. Here's what you can do.

Residential Slope

The ADA suggests a slope of 2:12 for a ramp that will be used by occupied chairs. This means that every 2 inches of rise will require 1 foot of ramp length. To find the correct length you can measure the the rise from where the ramp will start to where it will end. Divide that measurement by 2. This will give you the length of the ramp in feet  needed to achieve the proper slope. For example, a rise of 36 inches will require a ramp that is at least 18 feet.

Business Slope

A business is required to have a slope of 1:12, or 1 inch of rise for every foot of ramp. To measure for this you only need to measure the rise. The number in inches is what you will need in feet of length. Using the same example as above, a 36 inch rise will require a 36 foot long ramp.

You can find online calculators to help you determine the proper measurements for your handicap ramp.