There are three common layouts for handicap ramps.  They are; a straight line, an L-shape and a switch back.  When deciding what ramp is best suited to a business or home it is important to look at the access and height that needs to be maneuvered.  One thing that is true in all cases is that the ramp should follow the path of travel most frequently used.  It should also be built keeping in mind all of the traffic using the entrance and exit.  This means in some cases stairs will need to be accommodated for in the design.

The first ramp and easiest to install is a straight line or in-line ramp.  This style is most common for buildings and homes that are accessed from level ground or just a few minor steps up.   The next style is an L-shape or dog-legged ramp.  This ramp will change direction ninety degrees at a landing spot and then hug back around for entry.  When a porch is involved with more than a couple of stairs this type helps to ease the angle for a wheelchair, walker, individuals with bad knees by keeping the strain even.  Large businesses and public buildings with many stairs are common places to see the switch back design.  This involves a one hundred and eighty degree turn from one platform to another.  This makes getting into places with many stairs and high entrances much easier for those using mobility devices.

What happens if a home or business is in need of a handicap ramp yet the entrances are not designed to accommodate one?  In cases such as this the best option is to create a new entrance for the ramp location.   An easier way to go about this is to look for a window that is in the position needed for proper placement of the ramp.  Then the window can be removed and the structure for a door can be put in place.  If a garage or porch scenario does not work to make the business or home handicap accessible then it is important another option be sought out.

It is important to look into keeping accessibility for other family members while adding on a handicap ramp.    This is particularly easy with an L-shaped or switchback designed porch.  Using landscaping materials it is easy for homeowners to disguise ramps and allow them to blend naturally into the original flow of the homes entrances.

Another tip that is particularly handy when it comes to climates that are less than desirable three hundred and sixty five days a year is to face the ramp in a southern facing location.  This will ultimately help with snow and ice melt.  It is important to look up also.  It is not advisable to put a handicap ramp in a location that will receive a ton of fall leaves, pine needles or cones.  One option to help minimize these nuisances is a canopy about the ramp.  This will add a bit of expense to the ramp but could save a lot in headaches caused by slippery ice and snow.