My Mom maybe discharged very soon and I need a wheelchair ramp installed. Should I choose aluminum or wood? - AgingCare.com

My Mom maybe discharged very soon and I need a wheelchair ramp installed. Should I choose aluminum or wood?

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My mom maybe discharged very soon and I have to have a ramp installed, but I'm not sure which ramp I should get. I live in New England. I've had two companies come out and give estimates for wood,steel,and aluminum.I'm looking for the safest option being that winter in coming and we live in New England and one that will allow less friction ,so I /we can push her up the ramp.I also have no idea if the estimates are fair,or my gender makes me an easy mark.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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There's a lot more involved than just a ramp. Doorways need to be wide enough to move a wheelchair, Bathrooms must be big enough for a second person, tubs have to be walk-in or roll-in. Have the occupational therapist come to the house and see if it is workable and safe.
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Good suggestion Fireman. Like the no permit stuff. That and inspections can be a big PITA.
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Don't discount Steel. Unlike wood or aluminum it's fireproof, providing a safe means of egress. Some have a mesh surface to allow snow to pass through. Most are made from standard sized pieces and can be assembled (or disassembled) very quickly and can be made to fit most houses pretty easily with no changes to the building or property. Since they're considered "temporary" no permits are required.
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Thank you all for your input.
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Beware of the area you place it. My cousin's was near the house that was not protected by gutters and mold was a constant problem. Mold makes it very slippery. (It didn't get much sunlight either.) The constant scrubbing with bleach is a chore.
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The carriage is getting in front of the horse.
First things first.

You need to determine the size shape and placement before you get in what materials to use
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I'm thinking basic treated lumber would be the best option. It's easier to work with than metal, relatively inexpensive and can be added to, altered or repaired by any handyman. It will also be easy to attach or paint on a grip surface for traction. In your area, regardless of the material you use you'll be shoveling or blowing snow from the ramp. If your out in the country you may not need permits and inspections but check with the local building dept.
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My instinct tells me wood is the best option. I would also expect it to be the most economical.
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Someone who likely has good insight is WindyRidge, a former electrician and someone familiar with the building trades He could tell you which material would be best for the blizzardy NE area.

I tend to think aluminum would be a bit light; wood would absolutely have to be finished, which would add extra time and work. On the other hand, I don't know which material would be the most expensive.

Something you might want to consider, considering the NE climate, is using space in the garage for the ramp, if you can afford to give up one parking space and if you have an attached garage.

Then both you and your mother could leave the house in the comfort of the garage, protected from the inclement weather. It's a lot safer as well; there won't be any ice on the garage ramp unless the weather becomes really frigid and moisture accumulates on the ramp - another factor to consider.

Believe me, even in SE Michigan weather, it would make a huge difference. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to get my car loaded up with the rollator, portable oxygen, and of course the 2 of us. If it's cold and windy, as it was today, it's uncomfortable.

In the meantime, you might contact your state's department of licensing and regulation for building trades, research to determine whether the potential contractors are required to be licensed and if they are, and whether there have been any complaints against them.

I've also called my city's building inspection department to ask if they're familiar with a specific contractor and had any complaints against it. It also wouldn't hurt to ask whether that department does inspections on ramps, and what its standards are.

After a home therapist adamantly felt a ramp should be installed at my father's house, I contacted the building department of his community, was recommended to speak with a specific conctractor ( who I thought was arrogant and condescending), who told me that the inspection fee alone is about $100, and that the work would only take a few days but it often takes a whole month to get the ramp inspected and approved.

You should ask the potential contractors if their bids include inspection fees, as well as in their experience how that factors into the total building and completion time.
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I would seek the opinion of the OT at her rehab about what type is best in New England weather. As far as cost, is it possible your local area agency on aging has some statistics on that?

My mother and father lived in a house in Westchester County NY; when my dad became disabled some 20 years ago, my brother built them a wooden ramp. It needs replacing now but has given 20 years of service.
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