Accessible house plans: wheelchair modifications for you
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An access ramp to a house can make disabled guests feel welcome at your home. Although the American with Disabilities Act does not require wheelchair accessible house plans or homes, if you have a handicapped friend or relative, it may be worth any remodeling costs you incur.
Most homes will require a minor residential renovation, which may include adding an exterior ramp and landing. Two-story homes may need even more alterations to make every floor accessible for guests with certain disabilities.
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Basic ramp requirements
In order to build wheelchair ramps that can provide access to a house, you can follow the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) basic guidelines:
- The maximum slope for any ramp should be 1:12.
- No single ramp should cover more than 30 inches of height in a single run.
- Wheelchair ramps should be a minimum of 36 inches wide.
- Each landing should be a minimum of 50 inches by 50 inches.
- A ramp that has a 6-inch or higher rise should have railings on each side of the ramp.
If your home doesn't have space for a ramp that meets basic ADA requirements, you may want to consider installing an exterior wheelchair lift.
All door openings in your home should be at least 32 inches wide when the door is completely open. If you have a series of doors in your home, there should be at least 48 inches between each door when they are both completely open.
Any door threshold in your home should be no higher than .5 inches. You should also make sure that the thresholds are rounded so the wheels of a wheelchair can easily roll over them.
Other suggested alterations
Although it is not required, having a covered entryway in front of your handicap-accessible door can protect visitors from the rain and other weather. Covered ramps are also preferable because they can prevent snow and ice build-up on the ramp.
Ensuring accessible house plans should include making necessary modifications to curbs, walkways and driveways. A gravel driveway, for example, can be difficult for someone in a wheelchair to navigate.
Before you begin any residential remodeling, consider if you want to make any other handicap-accessible alterations to your home. Adding grab bars in the bathroom or a wheelchair lift to a multistory home can make your residence even more accessible to your guests.
If you're updating your home because you have a disabled family member, you may want to seek the help of a contractor with experience accommodating disabilities to explore all of the options available to you. While your goal may be wheelchair accessible house plans, you could find that a few more tweaks to your home are well worth the additional expense.