Last Updated on June 10, 2022

Wheelchair ramps help people get into and out of buildings with inclines, stairs, or prohibitive elevations. The standard slope for a wheelchair ramp makes it easy for most users to move about without too much of a risk of rollback or tipping. 

While there are some grey areas, the standard slope for wheelchair ramps differs for commercial and residential properties. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides laws that govern public places for public accommodation. It is up to the private property owner to determine if they want to follow the ADA or general best-practice guidelines.

Read on to learn more about wheelchair ramp slope ratios and ramp requirements.

Why is Slope Measurement Important?

Slope measurement is important for safety. Function, and longevity of the ramp, wheelchair, and users. A properly structured and adjusted ramp can make the difference between injury and a smooth ride.

The standard slope for a wheelchair ramp is intended to make it easy for a person to be pushed or to push themselves without any issues. The ramp width of 36 inches is also important as different size wheelchairs must be accommodated.

ADA Requirements for Ramp Slope

While the standard slope for wheelchair ramps is 2:12, meaning for every two inches of incline, you need 12 inches of ramp, the ADA ramp slope is 12 inches for every inch of incline.Image of a slanted handicap sign of a chair going up a ramp for an article about the standard slope for a wheelchair ramp.

If you have a stairway with 21 inches of vertical rise you would need 21 feet of ramp. Also note that according to the ADA, the slope for ramps is capped at 30 feet long. No ramp can be longer than 30 feet without having a 60-inch by 60-inch turn platform or place to rest. The landing length should be a minimum of 60 inches. Note that the ADA ramp max slope applies to new construction.

The landing shall be at least as wide as the ramp run leading to it. (2) The landing length shall be a minimum of 60 in (1525 mm) clear. (3) If ramps change direction at landings, the minimum landing size shall be 60 in by 60 in (1525 mm by 1525 mm)

Quick ADA Slope Measurements

If you’re wondering how to calculate the ADA ramp slope for commercial and residential buildings, see the charts below. As a reminder, the standard slope for wheelchair ramps is 1:12 commercially and 2:12 for personal residences.

Stair Height Commercial Property Ramp Length Private Property Ramp Length
8 inches 8 feet 4 feet
20 inches 20 feet 10 feet
30 inches 30 feet* 15 feet
40 inches 40 feet* 20 feet
62 inches 62 feet* 31 feet*

*denotes the need for rest and turn-platform

Of course, for residential properties, the owner can choose to accommodate ADA standards or add rest and turn platforms as they like. 

For more information on stair ramps and stairlifts, contact Williams Lifts today.