Wooden ramps provide a good alternative to more expensive and more permanent concrete ramps. They can even be designed to blend into a home's existing wooden deck or porch to provide an attractive, yet accessible entrance option. Unfortunately, wood can become very slippery when wet, which can cause a hazard for all users, particularly those who use wheelchairs, but there are several products available to alleviate that danger.
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Anti-Slip Paint Additives
Paint additives may be mixed with paint or stain to create a skid-resistant surface. These additives are available in a liquid and a solid form. These types of additives are designed for use on a variety of surfaces including concrete, asphalt and wood. The non-slip properties of these products come from small bits of aggregate that may be mixed into your paint or stain or spread on top of a freshly painted surface to create a gritty, non-slip surface when it dries.
Be sure to check the product information before purchasing as some products are not suitable for some clear coatings and it's also important to know if the additive is meant to be applied on top of paint or stain or mixed into the paint or stain prior to use. Also be sure the product is suitable for use on wood.
Self-Adhesive Anti-Slip Tape
Anti-slip tape is a self-adhesive product coated with a gritty surface to provide a slip-resistant surface where applied. The tapes are available in a variety of textures and colors for various applications. Individual tapes are designed for interior and exterior use and may be used on a variety of surfaces. One nice benefit of anti-slip tape is that it can be removed later on without damaging the underlying surface, which is useful if the tape looses the grit, causing it to no longer prevent slips.
Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations prior to installation to ensure the tape is compatible with an exterior application on a wood surface. Colored and glow-in-the-dark anti-slip tape is available to make surfaces more visible in the dark.
Mineral-Surfaced Rolled Roofing
Rolled roofing is a product made of asphalt that is primarily used in roofing. However, the roofing product is frequently re-purposed as an anti-slip surface. Because there are several types of rolled roofing, be sure to use one that is compatible with a ramp application. A mineral-surfaced roofing roll offers a gritty, anti-slip surface that is relatively inexpensive and easy to apply. The roofing properties of the material provide protection from weather elements such as snow and ice.
Hard Rubber Matting
The same rubber matting that is used in gyms, playgrounds and day care centers may be used to provide an anti-slip surface on a wheelchair ramp. Rubber matting is commonly available in a self-adhesive or interlocking tile applications. Adhesive matting is fairly permanent while the interlocking tiles may be easily removed and transferred to a different location. The material is quick-drying and easily cleaned with a broom or hose.
Rubber matting used for a ramp should be designed for wheelchair use as wheels may sink in a soft matting, which would prohibit the user from using the ramp or at least make the process more challenging. It's also important to ensure rubber matting is suitable for outdoor use (if your ramp is to be used outside) prior to purchase because some rubber products simply cannot hold up to direct sun in the summer or wet weather in the fall and winter.
Judy Prather began writing fiction in earnest in 2004. Writing as J.A. Anderson, Prather's debut novel, "Stolen Memories," was published in 2007. She also has experience as a therapeutic recreation specialist. Prather holds a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation from Winona State University.