6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Ramp Material

Initial Cost

The cost of a ramp is usually based on the length of ramp required, and if the ramp exceeds 30 feet, there must be a resting platform to meet ADA guidelines. Therefore, the price difference between a 29-foot ramp and a 31-foot ramp could be significant. To save money, some people opt for a wood ramp because the raw material is typically cheaper than aluminum. However, the installation cost of a wood ramp is much higher than aluminum which makes the overall initial cost much higher.

Building Permits

Wood ramps are considered permanent because they cannot be moved easily, so most cities require a permit to build the ramp. Our aluminum ramps are built in a modular design, so they can be disassembled, transported, and reassembled with ease. Since they can be moved easily, aluminum ramps are considered portable and do not require a permit to build. This saves the builder time and money.

Install Time

Wood ramps can require up to a week of installation time because contractors must cut and assemble the wood, pour concrete, and treat the wood to protect it from the elements. Upside’s aluminum ramp is built in a modular fashion, so installation typically only takes a few hours.

Slip Resistance

Because wood absorbs moisture, it can become very slippery and moldy if it is not maintained properly. This can be hazardous for people in wheelchairs and even people who are not in wheelchairs. Since wood can acquire a slimy, slippery film from moisture accumulation, grip strips must be applied to the surface. These strips will need multiple replacements throughout the life of the ramp. Upside Innovations manufactures aluminum ramps with slip-resistant decking that provides better traction than wood ramps and are much safer for the people who use them.


A wood ramp requires more maintenance than aluminum especially if the ramp is outdoors and exposed to rain and snow. Wood requires staining or sealing to protect it from moisture, and it must be reapplied multiple times as the stain or sealant wears off. Over time, wood usually rots and must be replaced because of poor maintenance and exposure to moisture. On the other hand, aluminum typically does not have any maintenance or repair costs because of its durability and water-resistant surface.

Resale value

Aluminum ramps have a much higher resale value than wood ramps because they stay in good condition for much longer. As mentioned above, wood ramps not only rot and become slippery over time, but they also are very difficult to deconstruct and install at another location. Thus, wood ramps have little to no resale value.

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