How to Build a Wooden Handicapped Ramp

Every public building should have a working and accessible handicapped ramp. You may also wish to install a ramp at the front entrance of your home as well to increase its accessibility and boost the resale value simultaneously. Fortunately, setting up a wooden handicapped ramp at the front entrance of a building is an easy project that you can do at home and without any professional assistance. Before you begin, however, it is important to recognize that you may need to secure a building permit or special permission in order to construct a ramp addition to any existing edifice. Having done that, you can begin the construction process itself.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need the following materials in order to build a wooden handicapped ramp:

  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer and nails
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • 2 pieces of 3/4-inch Plywood, sized according to your measurements
  • Several 2 x 4 boards and 4 x 8 boards
  • Saw

To determine the size of your ramp, measure the height of the end point of the ramp with the measuring tape. To make the slope of the ramp shallow enough to accommodate a wheelchair, plan on making the ramp about 1 foot long for every inch of height. You can decrease this ratio slightly if you do not have adequate space to make a long ramp, but it may make it more difficult for people to utilize the wooden ramp itself.

Your first piece of plywood should be as long as the ramp itself will be from the ground, and as high as the end point of the ramp. The second piece should be as wide as the ramp itself will be (4 feet or so is a good measurement) and as long as the distance from the end point of the ramp to the point where the ramp touches the ground several feet out.

Step 2: Cut Your Plywood

Use measuring tape to mark the plywood in half from corner to corner. You should end up with two congruent right triangle pieces. Then, using your saw, cut the plywood along this mark. These pieces will form the outside boundary of your ramp.

Step 3: Set Up Your Boundary

Use 4 x 8 boards cut as wide as the ramp itself to solidify the outer boundaries of the ramp. Nail them to the two triangles of the ramp to connect the bases in parallel. You should space the 4 x 8s about 6 inches to 1 foot apart from each other for the entire length of the ramp.

Step 4: Attach the Top of the Ramp

Nail 2 x 4s spaced every 6 inches or so to the hypotenuse of the boundary triangles. These will serve as the foundation for the diagonal portion of the ramp itself. Having done that, screw the second piece of plywood in place on top of the 2 x 4s to complete your ramp.