Handicap ramps can help those with limited mobility regain their freedom to move around with ease. When shopping for a ramp you’ll notice they’re made using either aluminum or wood. Which one do you choose? In this post we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of each so you can make the decision that is right for you.
Aluminum or Wood Handicap Ramps?
We understand if at first you’re lured in by the low cost of wooden ramps; but as they say you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt wooden ramps are some of the most affordable on the market, but that savings comes with some caveats. Aluminum ramps are moderately priced, but as we go through this list of pros and cons you’ll see that it’s because your money is going toward a quality product which is built to last longer than wooden handicap ramps.
When we’re talking longevity we’re talking about how long the ramp is going to last you in the long run, provided you’re doing your part to keep it in shape with routine maintenance. Aluminum ramps are built to last the longest; as they are resistant to rust and only require the occasional touch up. On the other hand, wooden ramps require constant maintenance as they need to be regularly treated with a wood sealer. Wood has the potential to last a long time, but you have to consider whether or not it is worth the maintenance process you’ll have to go through on a regular basis.
Another thing a lot of ramp buyers don’t consider is: what if you want to move to a new home in a few years? Is your ramp going to be able to travel with you? One of the greatest benefits of aluminum is that if you move, you can take all or part of your aluminum wheelchair ramp with you. You can also add to it or shorten it as necessary. Wooden ramps cannot be adjusted or modified once built, making them extra difficult to travel with if you move locations.
When it comes to handicap ramps there is perhaps nothing more important than safety. So how does wood fair versus aluminum in this category? One of the greatest dangers with wooden ramps is the fact that wood rots. Also, during the winter months moisture can accumulate on top of the wooden ramp causing it to freeze.
Aluminum ramps are susceptible to accumulating an ice film as well, but this can be mitigated in a couple of ways. First, if you add a non-skid surface to your aluminum ramp you will increase its safety. Second, if you opt for an open-pattern ramp then rainwater and snow will just pass through, avoiding any chance of it freezing. Finally, if there’s a fire in the home you have to keep in mind that a wooden ramp will catch fire in no time. Aluminum is not exactly built to withstand heat, but it should be more reliable than a wooden ramp in the event of a fire.
The look and feel of a ramp is important, as it will be a fixture of your home that you will use every day. We can’t speak for all companies, but our handicap ramps are built to be ADA-compliant, meaning all safety considerations are taken into account when building and installing the ramp. In addition, aluminum ramps are designed with adjustable support structures, meaning they can be easily realigned if needed.
We understand when you’re in the market to buy a new handicap ramp you’re more likely to consider how it is going to benefit you now. However, we ask that you consider the long term value of your investment. If there comes a time when you no longer need the ramp, it’s important to know there is a market for used aluminum ramps. Good luck trying to sell a used wooden ramp, as you’re unlikely to find a market for one.
If you couldn’t yet tell after reading through this post, we are strong advocates for aluminum ramps. In fact, that’s all we carry. To get an idea of the types of aluminum handicap ramps available to you we encourage you to contact us for a free brochure.