How to Calculate the Slope on a Ramp

Ramps are found everywhere in construction and prove especially useful for handicap access into a building. Ramps are built in place of or in addition to steps to make it possible for people in wheelchairs to enter a building. The slope of a ramp is an important factor in determining how easy the ramp is to ascend and descend, and dimensions usually depend on the space available to construct the ramp. It's useful to calculate the slope of the ramp given various configurations in order to achieve the slightest slope, or the easiest ramp to traverse. Slopes are given in ratios, such as 1 to 12. The lower the second number, the steeper the slope.

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Measure the ramp's horizontal dimension from one end to the other. You need to measure the base of the ramp, not the angled distance.

Measure the distance from the high end of the ramp to the ground. If the low end of the ramp is not on the ground, measure from the highest point of the ramp to the lowest. This is called the rise. Both the rise and the horizontal distance need to be measured using the same units, such as feet or inches.

Divide the length of the ramp by the height. This will be the second number in your ratio. The first number is always one. If the ramp measures 12 feet long and the rise is 2 feet, you would divide 12 by 2 to get 6, and your ratio would be 1 to 6. This means that for every foot you go up, you will need 6 feet of ramp to get you there.