For those with mobility issues, wheelchair ramps are important and handy home installations. Of course, just like your other exterior features, your ramp is susceptible to all sorts of environmental damage. Ensuring the stability and functionality of your wheelchair ramp is a matter of safety for anyone who uses it. Here we’ll discuss how to properly maintain your home wheelchair ramp all year round.

What Is the Ramp Made Of?

Wheelchair ramps can be built using various materials, such as aluminum, steel, rubber, wood, and more. All types of ramps require maintenance, but the methods used to keep them in good shape will vary based on their composition. For instance, metal ramps are at risk of oxidation (rusting) while wooden ramps are vulnerable to water intrusion and rot. Understanding your ramp’s makeup and weaknesses will help you better maintain it.

Keeping Your Ramp Clean

No matter what type of wheelchair ramp you have, you need to keep it free from dirt and debris. Neglecting to clean your ramp can allow residue to build up and obstruct access along the ramp. Certain materials and conditions can also gradually deteriorate the ramp. As mentioned above, moisture can cause metal ramps to rust and wooden ramps to rot. 

Regularly inspect your ramp for signs of degradation, as these can weaken its structural integrity. And before washing your ramp, you’ll want to make sure the products you use are optimal for cleaning the given material, as certain detergents are designed to clean particular surfaces. Hiring painting contractors to coat your ramp after it’s cleaned can help you further protect its surface.

Focus on Friction

All wheelchair ramps should provide ample friction for the wheels to safely grip when ascending or descending. At best slippery ramps are inefficient, and at worst, they can lead to injury. In addition to dirt and debris, rain, snow, and ice can all make your ramp slicker. Fortunately, there are various ways to fortify your ramp’s friction. 

In the winter months, you might lay down rock salt/ice melt to help speed up the melting process and provide some extra coarseness to the ramp. Just note that these chemicals can corrode certain types of metal, so use them sparingly, and go for a non-corrosive product, if possible.

You can also install traction strips on your ramp to provide some extra friction. These are adhesive strips of coarse, sandpaper-like material for the wheels to grip. Some homeowners even lay down materials like sand or cat litter to add some necessary traction. Pro painters can even add friction to your ramp by coating it with textured paint, if applicable.

Protect Your Ramp with Paint or Stain

If your ramp is made of metal or rubber, home painting might not apply. However, painting or staining a wooden wheelchair ramp, much like you would a deck or patio, is a great way to protect it from moisture and other forms of damage. Wood stain penetrates the wood, blocking its pores so small particles can’t enter. Paint, on the other hand, coats the wood’s surface, which still offers plenty of protection. Make sure you apply a new coat of paint or stain to our ramp every two to three years, or as needed.

Need Help Maintaining Your Wheelchair Ramp?

Whether you’re looking for exterior painters to coat your ramp, contractors to inspect your ramp for damage, or experts in rotted wood repair and replacement to fix up your ramp, All American Painting Plus has you covered. In addition to our painting services, we offer carpentry, pressure washing, wood rot replacement, and more to our customers. To learn more about us and everything we offer our clients in Northern Virginia, give us a call at (703) 620-5563!