Installing a ramp in a porch

by Suzanne
(Maine)

I have a porch across the font of my small house facing the street. My front yard is small and right on the street. My property line on one side is only 2 feet from the house and on the other there is a driveway.

My problem is that in the winter I have to walk from my driveway into the street and then up my short walkway and stairs to the front door.

For reason too long to go into I can't use the back door in the winter. I am old now and can't do even that walk due to balance problems.

The ice and snow accumulated there by the city plow and the icy street make it prohibitive. I was thinking of building a ramp right INTO my porch directly from the driveway so I can get out of my car and go up the ramp to my front door. I don't need a wheelchair, just handrails.

The only thing I can find online are references to wheelchair ramps.

I just need a ramp about 3 feet wide from the ground to the top of the porch, about 3.5 feet high. The porch is about 18 feet long.

What would you call this type of ramp to avoid wheelchair ramp building requirements? A dog ramp? I just really want an alternate way to get into my house without having to go out into the street.

One carpenter told me there wasn't enough room for stairs in the porch due to building requirements. Help.

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Jan 17, 2011
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Ramps have minimum slope requirements
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

Several thoughts come to mind about the ramp you are suggesting. One is that ramps designed for wheelchair access do have specifications for slope and width and that can really limit your options.

But in your case you don't need something for a wheelchair and it could therefore be significantly steeper. But if so, you should probably consider some kind of elevated strapping pieces running along the width of the ramp for grip. Even 1x2's glued and screwed would help and that would allow you to shorten the run or length of the ramp.

So that is how you can build it. But the bigger question is will this comply with the building code. I just took a look at the 2006 IRC Section R311.6 and they do not specify a difference between wheelchair ramps etc. A ramp is a ramp so it seems.

The slope can be no steeper than 1:12 (8.3%) 1 unit rise for 12 units run (with an exception for up to 1:8 (12.5%) where there are site restraints preventing you from complying with the 8.3%. Maybe that might apply to you. However landings are required at least 3'x3' with handrail size and heights as well.

Ultimately that seems to be your issue - if you follow the code - you will be limited to those slope requirements.

If there are any other experienced builders out there that can add something to help this person out, please chip in.

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