Wheelchair Ramp vs. Platform Lift

Although wheelchair ramps are still common, vertical platform lifts (VPLs) have become the primary method that many wheelchair users rely on for entry and exit from their homes, especially in more populated areas and cities.

Many times there is not enough room to install a code compliant ramp because of limited space in the yard. The code for ramps requires one foot of ramp for every one inch of rise. For example, a house with seven steps requires a ramp that is around 50 feet long, not including any platform required where the ramp makes a turn. A VPL only requires a space around 5’ x 5’. Because of its compact size, it is much easier to implement in cases where space is a limitation.

Living in Chicago:

Most yards in the City of Chicago do not have room for a ramp but have plenty of room to install a VPL. The lift is typically installed at the front porch, back porch or deck area of a house. The lift typically rests on a concrete pad and has a lifting height of up to 14 feet; enough height for first floor levels and most second floor levels. Often at the upper level a wood platform is installed over the existing porch. The surface of that wood platform is flush with the interior floor height so that a wheelchair user does not have to navigate that final step into the house or struggle up a wedge ramp at the door.

Many times the lift is installed in a garage. The advantage of installing a lift in a garage is primarily that the user is protected from adverse weather when using the lift. Because the lift takes up a relatively small space, there is still room to park a car or keep garbage cans near. Ramps in garages frequently take up at least one parking space. Vertical platform lifts are highly versatile pieces of equipment that are becoming more and more common as they allow a person to enter his or her home easily and with independence. Lifts can also be easily moved in case the customer relocates or the lift is no longer needed. VPLs bridge the gap between ramps and elevators, with their portability, convenience and potential applications.

For more information on VPLs, ramps, or other accessibility products and solutions, call EHLS at 847-957-3511 today!


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The ramp looks great! We’re very happy with it. We even decked it out with balloons and streamers to welcome my Dad home from the hospital on Friday! Thank you all so much for your help and timeliness.

Your EHLS crew just finished and the ramp looks great! The newly installed ramp will give my husband accessibility to his own house and he will be so pleased with it as well. We so appreciate working with us on this very important project in our home. Thank you.

We highly recommend EHLS’ consulting and contracting services to make your home or place of work accessible. EHLS is qualified, professional and creative. Without exaggeration, EHLS is one of the best companies we have had the opportunity to work with.

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