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 Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp? 
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp?
Last year's big home improvement was a walk-in tub. I'm thinking this year of making our front entrance accessible. Our sidewalk is 36 feet and it only has to rise a little over a foot, so I think that would be a nice gentle slope.

Any experience to share?

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon May 14, 2012 12:51 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Locally, we have an organization that assists those with disabilities. One of the services they offer is sharing their experience about ramps. You might see if you have a similar organization locally.


Mon May 14, 2012 9:38 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Sorry, the only ones around here are made of wood, not cement. When I looked into putting one in when my mother was still at home, the contractors told me to install a wooden one. No one even mentioned concrete.

Julianne


Mon May 14, 2012 11:46 am
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Julianne, what I have in mind is raising the landing in front of the door, so it is within 1.5" of flush with the threshold, and also eliminating the step to the landing, by bring the sidewalk up level to it and then sloping the sidewalk down to the driveway, 36' away.

If this were incorporated into a deck, wood would probably look best. Since all of the front sidewalks in our suburb are cement, I think that will have the best curb appeal.

Wood is generally less expensive to install, but has more maintenance costs over the long run (or so I've read). Cement is expensive to install but doesn't need maintenance to speak of, and also can easily withstand the weight of electric wheelchairs.

Right now this is mostly for convenience in using a walker. But it might as well serve future needs -- ours or that of a future owner. I think if it is done attractively it can add value. My cousin built a new house that way and I loved it -- and also wondered why any new homes with enough sidewalk area aren't built that way. Even nice for baby strollers! (And I'll bet it will be easier to shovel than a stair step.)

Anyway, I haven't gotten a quote yet. Last year we bought a walk-in tub and I wish we'd done in several years earlier. Coy doesn't exactly "need" a ramp at this point, but it would be convenient and the sooner we put one in the more benefit we'll get from it.

I was just wondering if anyone had done this and had regrets, things they would do differently, etc.

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Mon May 14, 2012 9:14 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:36 pm
Posts: 48
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Hi Jeanne.
I've no experience to share, but I know Dad and I are wishing we'd installed a ramp. Would've made going out so much easier on Mom. I think we're now at point where she won't be able to go out without big-time help from strong folks, and that's kind of traumatic in itself. So I am glad you are thinking ahead and doing something now while you can take your time. Good luck with it.

Also, I have long said it would be great to make all new residential construction accessible. My architect friends say it's too expensive, but I say that indoor plumbing is too. But it just became part of what you include in a house, and no one gives it a second thought now. And nearly all of us are disabled for at least brief periods with a twisted ankle or some such thing. Think what the housing stock would look like if they'd started making homes accessible at the time they started requiring public buildings to be accessible. But that's my soapbox.

Good luck with the ramp. Hope some people here will have some good advice for you.

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Donna G, 52, helped Dad take care of Mom, who died at home surrounded by family in June 2012.


Tue May 15, 2012 8:47 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
If you live in a "seniors only" community, a concrete ramp may be just the thing to do. I talked my dad out of doing that for his house because it would have devalued his house (his house was not in a seniors only community). Also, I knew it was only a matter of time before he would need to move to an ALF and I didn't need the job of getting rid of the practical but really ugly ramp that he was proposing. (He landed in the hospital 2 weeks after the ramp discussion and was never able to go home again,)
The well designed and built wooden ramps I've seen look much more attractive than concrete or metal. My next door neighbor has had one for about 18 years, made of pressure treated lumber and it was designed so it actually looks good on the front of her house. It is flush with the sill so there was no "lip" to try to get her husband's wheelchair over, they added a little blacktop to the driveway so it goes right down iflush with the black top, and it is easy for her to shovel during the winter. It is still in great shape and requires little to no maintenance. At some point she will need to replace some of the wood but for now it looks good and is functional.
If you get a chance, you may want to walk or drive around and photograph ramps at other people's houses or small businesses and see what you like and what you think would work best for your situation. Good luck, Lynn

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Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Tue May 15, 2012 5:08 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
LTCVT wrote:
If you live in a "seniors only" community, a concrete ramp may be just the thing to do. I talked my dad out of doing that for his house because it would have devalued his house (his house was not in a seniors only community). Also, I knew it was only a matter of time before he would need to move to an ALF and I didn't need the job of getting rid of the practical but really ugly ramp that he was proposing. (He landed in the hospital 2 weeks after the ramp discussion and was never able to go home again.)
The well designed and built wooden ramps I've seen look much more attractive than concrete or metal. My next door neighbor has had one for about 18 years, made of pressure treated lumber and it was designed so it actually looks good on the front of her house. It is flush with the sill so there was no "lip" to try to get her husband's wheelchair over, they added a little blacktop to the driveway so it goes right down flush with the black top, and it is easy for her to shovel during the winter. It is still in great shape and requires little to no maintenance. At some point she will need to replace some of the wood but for now it looks good and is functional.
If you get a chance, you may want to walk or drive around and photograph ramps at other people's houses or small businesses and see what you like and what you think would work best for your situation. Good luck, Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Tue May 15, 2012 5:09 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Hmmm, interesting perspective, Lynn. Every house -- absolutely every one -- in our neighborhood has a cement sidewalk from their driveway to their front door. I'm proposing that our sidewalk have a gentle slope to it. You really think that would devalue the house? I certainly don't want that. Maybe I should call a realtor for an opinion.

The cement ramp/sidewalk at my cousin's house is not even noticably a handicap ramp, until you get near the door and realize the end platform is flush with the door threshold.

It is hard to know when/whether to make permanent or expensive changes to a house. I know that the sooner you put something in, the more use you get out of it. I truly wish I'd had the walk-in tub installed years earlier but I am satisfied that we are getting our money's worth out of it. Coy doesn't really "need" a ramp yet, but if we are going to do it, there is no reason to put it off.

We are spending three days at the Mayo clinic this week, so I haven't had a chance to explore this further.

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Tue May 15, 2012 11:04 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Jeanne - if cement sidewalks and ramps are typical in your neighborhood, then if you have one it sounds like it would blend in with everyone else's.
On the other hand, at the point where you want to sell your house, you may want something that stands out from the way everyone else does it so that your house sells faster than similar ones. I'd call a couple of realtors - they are the experts in this sort of thing and I doubt it would cost you any money to get their opinions. Good luck, Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Wed May 16, 2012 9:10 am
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:35 pm
Posts: 344
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Jeanne, I will go to my facebook page for Treasures in the Darkness and send you the link to it in my next post. If you go to that page check out the photos. There are before and after photos of the cement ramp we put in after John's diagnosis.
We absolutely love it! And our neighbor who is a realtor said that it definitely added value to our home.
If the slope is fairly mild, no one will see it as a handicap ramp, just a wonderful convenience for everyday tasks like bringing in the groceries.
Personally I think cement ramps done right are much more attractive than wooden ones.
I will go find that link for you now.
Pat

_________________
Pat Snyder, husband John, dx LBD 2007
Author of [i]Treasures in the Darkness: Extending Early Stage of LBD...[i][/i] [url]http://www.amazon.com/Treasures-Darkness-Extending-Alzheimers-Parkinsons/dp/1466428228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334092686&sr=8-1[/url]


Wed May 16, 2012 10:25 am
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:35 pm
Posts: 344
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
To see photos of our cement ramp addition, go to www.facebook.com/Treasuresinthedarkness

You may need to scroll through a number of pics to get to it, but before and several after shots from different angles are included so other caregivers can see what worked for us.

One secret for us was adding enough soil to both sides upon completion. This puts most of the ramp at ground level, which provides a safer "ramp" that does not look like a ramp. The two steps on either side are low and wide. They serve as good places to sit to remove shoes or whatever. Making the "porch" wide enough allows for the chair placement that also serves as a spot to put items down while negotiating the doorway. I was glad I chose a bigger porch in case we need to use a wheelchair later. If you have the space it is wise to allow for manuevering room at the doorway.

Stamping and shading of the concrete gave it more visual appeal. I think our cost was around $1200-1500. Worth every single penny! Stress immediately changed to pleasure once it was there. This is one decision we pat ourselves on the back for almost daily.

Hope this is helpful.
Pat

_________________
Pat Snyder, husband John, dx LBD 2007
Author of [i]Treasures in the Darkness: Extending Early Stage of LBD...[i][/i] [url]http://www.amazon.com/Treasures-Darkness-Extending-Alzheimers-Parkinsons/dp/1466428228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334092686&sr=8-1[/url]


Wed May 16, 2012 10:41 am
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
Pat, thank you for sharing those pictures. Your "ramp" (aka sloped sidewalk) looks great. That is what I have in mind -- keeping the same path of the sidewalk that is already there.

Did you have to remove the existing sidewalk first, or apply the new cement on top of it? Did someone design this for you?

There is no way that devalues your house!

Our situation is a little trickier because we'll have to deal with the area between the house and the sidewalk -- that area has to slope away from the house for good drainage, so the ground may need to be raised, too.

I don't believe I have seen a single ramp of any material in my entire suburb. I'm certain there are some, and I haven't seen every home, but in the 20 years we've been here, I haven't happened upon one. I want ours to be a good model for others thinking to do something similar!

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed May 16, 2012 11:23 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
I particularly looked at each sidewalk on my afternoon walk today. Our subdivision was built by a single builder, using, I think, 12 models. Some are mirror images, or set differently on their lots, so it looks like a lot more variety, but on close scrutiny I think the original buyers here had about a dozen choices. I found that only the model I live in (and in a few cases one other model depending on how it was landscaped) was suitable for what Pat did and what I have in mind doing. It takes at lease 12' of sidewalk for every 1' of rise, and few of the sidewalks are long enough.

Maybe what Lynn has seen (or her Dad proposed) was compromised by too little space.

I saw one house that had no sidewalk at all from its front door! Just steps surrounded by overgrown plants. Obviously the family always entered from the garage, but how do the girl scouts get to the door to sell cookies?

The other odd sight on my walk was a gray-haired gentleman sitting on the roof of a split-level house. I waved to him and he waved back and said "Hi!" Since he didn't say, "Call 911!" I went on my way. I sure hope his wife wasn't frantically looking for him in the house!

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Fri May 18, 2012 1:00 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3395
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
No, there was plenty of space in my dad's front yard. He had a beautiful bluestone sidewalk that would have been covered up . So if he were to put in a ramp, something well designed that would have been in keeping with the house and the neighborhood, that could have been dismantled would have been the best choice in his situation. However, the dr. did not want him living alone there, he was "failing" fast, and it was only a matter of time before he'd be moving to assisted living.
I had to laugh at your "Girl Scouts selling cookies" comment, Jeanne! I ate WAY too many of those when I was selling them back in the old days! And what WAS that guy doing up on his roof just sitting there?
Good day everyone, Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Fri May 18, 2012 7:27 am
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:35 pm
Posts: 344
Post Re: Does anyone have any experience putting in a cement ramp
The reason our ramp looks like a sloped sidewalk is that we added dirt on both sides and built the dirt up to the ramp to make it look like a sloped sidewalk for most of its distance. Also there is a drainage pipe that is running underneath it from a low point on one side of the ramp to the other side as the ground slopes downward a bit.

We had to have the old sidewalk removed and start from scratch with a mold laid down to receive the cement. Stamping and coloring of the cement to make it look like slate was done at the end stage.

I designed and sketched it once the contractor told me what he would do. I also increased the size of the platform area so they had to redo that part of the mold.

Pat

_________________
Pat Snyder, husband John, dx LBD 2007
Author of [i]Treasures in the Darkness: Extending Early Stage of LBD...[i][/i] [url]http://www.amazon.com/Treasures-Darkness-Extending-Alzheimers-Parkinsons/dp/1466428228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334092686&sr=8-1[/url]


Sun May 20, 2012 12:56 am
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