How to measure the rise

Measuring the rise for a wheelchair ramp is an essential first step when determining the necessary length and configuration of the ramp. The "rise" refers to the vertical distance from the ground or starting point up to where the top of the ramp will be placed.

Here's how to measure the rise for a wheelchair ramp:

  1. Locate Starting and Ending Points:

    • Starting Point: This is usually the ground or the base where you intend to begin the slope of your ramp.
    • Ending Point: This is the point where the ramp will end, typically the top step or the landing of a doorway or entrance.
  2. Use the Right Tools:

    • A long straightedge or level
    • A tape measure
  3. Measure the Rise:

    • Place one end of the straightedge or level on the top of the ending point (like a step or landing).
    • Ensure the straightedge or level is perfectly horizontal. You may need a second person to assist or use a level to confirm it's horizontal.
    • Measure the vertical distance from the ground (starting point) up to the bottom of the straightedge or level. This measurement is your rise.
  4. Take Multiple Measurements:

    • Especially if the ground is uneven, it might be useful to measure the rise from different points to get an average or to determine if additional ground leveling is needed.
  5. Additional Consideration for Doorways:

    • If the ramp will be used to access a doorway, consider whether the door swings inwards or outwards. For doors that swing outwards, you might need a level landing area in front of the door to allow it to open fully.

Once you've accurately measured the rise, you can use it to determine the ramp's length. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, for every 1 inch of rise, you should have 12 inches of ramp length for a commercial ramp (making a 1:12 slope). For home use, some may opt for a slightly steeper slope like 1:10 or 1:8, but the gentler the slope, the easier and safer it will be for the individual using the ramp.

Lastly, always consider safety, usability, and the specific needs of the intended user when designing and installing a wheelchair ramp.