Looking for ways to make your home more accessible? When you or a loved one rely on a wheelchair to get around, the first question people usually ask themselves is whether they should install a VPL or a ramp. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between the two and which one may be right for you.
What is a VPL?
A vertical platform lift, also called a VPL, is an elevating device that can travel small distances up to many feet. It’s most useful for wheelchair users who need help getting from one level to another on the outside of the property. A standard vertical platform lift has an open platform and a drive mechanism to power the platform up and down.
What is a Wheelchair Ramp?
Wheelchair ramps are a common sight throughout America. It’s one of the easiest, cost-effective, and practical ways to make a building wheelchair accessible. A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane installed in addition to or instead of stairs. Instead of people needing to step up onto stairs to access a building, they can use a ramp that will steadily incline.
Requirements for a VPL
If you’re thinking about installing a vertical platform lift, you need to make sure your property is suited for one. A stairlift will require a concrete pad before installation. If your property does not have one, a contractor will need to come to create one before a vertical platform lift can be installed. The concrete pad must be at least five feet long, eight feet wide, and four inches deep. You will also need adequate landing space for the user to get on and off the VPL.
Requirement for a Ramp
Wheelchair ramps require more space than VPLs. According to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all ramps must:
- Have a minimum of 5×5 feet of flat space at the top of the ramp
- Have a 1:12 slope ratio
- Be no longer than 30 feet without a rest or a turning platform
- Have a minimum width of 36 inches of clear space across the ramp
- Have a minimum turning platform size of 5×5, if applicable
- Have handrails between 34” and 38” in height on both sides of the ramp
Although this wheelchair ramp may be going on your private property, it’s still always a good idea to have a ramp that meets ADA requirements.
Can’t Decide? Let Us Help!
Freedom Mobility Solutions is here to help you choose the best option for you or your loved one. With our wide selection of wheelchair ramps and vertical platform lifts, and with the help of our certified Assistive Technology Professionals (ATP), you’ll find the perfect home accessibility solution. Get started today by scheduling your consultation, or give us a call at (443) 342-9839 to talk to one of our specialists.