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How to Make a Threshold Ramp in 5 Easy Steps

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Wondering how to make a threshold ramp for a senior with mobility issues?

It’s actually not as hard as it sounds!

In fact, if you follow our guide below, you can pull it off in 5 easy steps with just a few basic supplies.

Just keep reading to see how!

How to Make A DIY Threshold Ramp

wheelchair ramp for bus riding

For people with mobility issues and seniors, getting in and out of the house is always a struggle. That’s where threshold ramps come in really handy!

While you can buy such a ramp at a store or online, making one means customizing it to fit the needs of the person who will be using it.

Plus, as promised above, it’s not really all that difficult. In fact, you can easily put one together on a Saturday morning!

Let’s start with some basics that you’ll need to know before you start building, then we’ll look at the steps.

How Do You Measure A Threshold Ramp?

an old wheelchair threshold ramp

When you are learning how to make a threshold ramp, one of the steps that you can’t afford to overlook is the size of the ramp.

When not done right, the doorway can be the most dangerous area for a senior or that person in a wheelchair.

Threshold ramps vary in terms of width and height. At the end of the day, you need to make a ramp that will fit the size of the doorway.

You also need to consider the elevation, and the length plays a major role in that.

The wrong elevation increases a senior’s risk of tripping. which could lead to serious injuries.

At the same time, the wrong elevation can make it hard for an older adult using a walker or a person using a wheelchair to get around easily.

So, how do measure a threshold ramp so that you can make one that doesn’t act as a tripping hazard?

When it comes to measuring the threshold ramp, three things need to be considered; the rise, length, and width.

Measure the Rise

The first thing you need to take into consideration is the rise in terms of inches from the available walking surface, the step or landing surface where you intend to install the ramp.

Here, you must measure the rise at every end of the threshold. You want to do this in case there are any variations whereby one side ends up being higher than the other one.

If that’s the case, then you can be ready to make a ramp that will accommodate the rise variations.

Check out the video below to learn more:

Measure the Width 

The other measurement that you can’t ignore is the width especially when it comes to doorway thresholds for that smooth transition.

Usually, most threshold ramps come in widths of 32 to 36 inches which works for most standard door openings.

However, since we are talking about your DIY threshold ramp, measuring the width is vital.

Measure the Length 

When it comes to threshold ramps, the higher the rise, the longer the ramp needs to be.

If the rise is about an inch or less, a threshold ramp extending about a foot onto the walking surface will do.

If the rise goes higher than that, though, you will need about two inches for the gradual as well as safe incline of the threshold ramp.

But what happens if the walking surface extends to meet the landing at a specific angle?

When that the case, you will need to determine how much space there is towards the walking surface so that you can make a ramp that will fit into that space.

What is the Proper Slope For a Threshold Ramp?

When it comes to choosing the right threshold ramp especially a wheelchair ramp or a DIY doorway ramp for someone with mobility issues, the slope matters just as much as width and length.

Experts actually talk about two different slopes: residential unoccupied and residential occupied. Those are fancy terms for “empty wheelchair” and “wheelchair that’s in use.”

Since we’re building a ramp for a senior to actually use, let’s assume we want “residential occupied.”

For a home ramp, a 2:12 slope or 9.5° of incline will suffice which means 12″ of ramp for every 2″ of vertical rise.

However, if you’re installing the ramp on a commercial property, a 1:12 slope or 5° of incline is recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What this means is you will need 12″ of ramp length.

Step by Step Guide for Making DIY Threshold Ramp

a diy threshold ramp in front of the wooden door

There are so many front door ramp ideas that you can borrow from when you are making your threshold ramp including making a concrete ramp.

We are, however, going to concentrate more on how to make a simple wood threshold ramp for a senior or wheelchair user in these step by step instructions

Step #1 Prepare your materials

When making a ramp for thresholds, the first thing you need is to assemble your materials and put them where they are easily accessible.

This includes a threshold ramp wood, a hammer, a saw, an electric drill, measuring tape, wood glue, and wood finish.

Step #2 Plan out where the ramp will be placed

You can use a marking spray to lay out the dimensions if you are placing the ramp outside and duct tape if you want one inside the house to ensure that you are not exposed to the marking spray fumes.

Another thing you need to do once you are sure where the ramp is going is to ensure that the area is clean as well as dust-free.

Step #3 Place a 2×8 on the door

You can either place it on the back or front door but make sure that it is securely screwed in.

After that, you can cut a tapered bevel of 45 degrees into 2×6-inch pieces before screwing them into your 2×8 on each side so that two wood pieces are coming out from the sides.

For maximum stability and to avoid slipping incidences, make sure that you secure them tightly using screws.

Step #4 Cut your 2×4 hardwood

Go ahead and cut two hardwood boards at an angle of 45 degrees before screwing them to the inside of the 2×8 you had placed on the door earlier.

Just like with the 2×6-inch pieces, make sure that these are also tightly secured to the boards.

Step #5 Finish up and test the ramp

The final step involves placing 36-inch deck boards on the already screwed on boards.

The boards will act as the walkway so, make sure that you screw the plywood sides tightly.

Once you are done, test the ramp by going over it several times until you are sure that it can withstand the weight.

The last thing you want is the ramp coming apart when it is being used because then you risk serious injuries on the person.

Conclusion

Wheelchair users and elderly persons who suffer from mobility issues need help getting by within the house and outside. A threshold ramp is a great addition to any home to make navigation easy.

While you can get a portable wheelchair ramp made of aluminum or rubber, as you can see it’s not really difficult to make your own.

Picture showing tools, wood and supplies for building a threshold ramp

Have you ever made a threshold ramp for your home? Share your tips below!

About Liliane

Lilian is a passionate writer and avid cyclist with over 4 years of experience in blogging. As a lifelong learner, she is driven by her curiosity to discover and learn new things. This curiosity and passion eventually sparked a love for the senior writing niche. She has written countless articles to help seniors find their footing in this world through healthy and holistic living. She’s passionate about seeing the seniors in society live a more fulfilling life to the end. Feel free to follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilian-wamaitha/

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