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Repair of wheel chair ramp(s) due to salt damage

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  • Repair of wheel chair ramp(s) due to salt damage

    At our church we have two wheel chair ramps. The church is in snowy South Dakota. Being the head Trustee my job is to find a fix to this problem. The metal ramp I would like to re-sheet with 1/4" galvanized floor plate and then find a way to heat it through electricity and use no salt. The concrete ramp I would like to cut the railing away, weld, replace the ends that go into the concrete with stainless square tubing, and then paint with a galvanized paint (for both ramps).

    What do you think? Any suggestions?
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  • #2
    I would think about aluminum tread plate for the ramp itself. It won't rust, and will move heat quickly to melt snow and ice. I would use 316 SS for the structural elements. That is the marine grade of stainless. It will still deteriorate over time, so try to design it to be easily replaced in a few years.
    Kansas City area

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    • #3
      Salt will corrode aluminum too, although it won't look as bad as rusty steel.

      With steel, you may want to check on the cost & service life of galvanized vs. zinc-rich primer + powdercoat top coat. There are a lot of commercial site furnishings done the latter way.
      Location: Northern WI

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      • #4
        Heating thin galvanized steel or aluminum tread plate on the ramp shouldn't be hard, you probably can do it with something like this attached to the underside: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-Ki...C200/202262345

        You are going to have to plan for where the melted snow and ice goes and what happens when it gets there. Water running down the ramp, pooling and freezing on the landings sounds like a less-than-ideal situation, considering who the ramp is for. A heated ramp will also not relieve you from shoveling all that SD snow off it, you'll always want to keep the melted (pooling, freezing) snow and ice to a minimum.

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        • #5
          You will spend more in electricity to heat a steel ramp than the cost of
          replacing the ramp with a new one every 5 years from using salt.

          -Doozer
          DZER

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          • #6
            bit of a silly suggestion, but closely spaced square alu tubes with hot water running through them (plugged into the building heating system) would be super cool. Maybe with some kind of grating over the top. Not really practical, but would be really neat.

            Only practical suggestion would be to make the lower section of the railings easily replaceable. Still with stainless tubes into the concrete, but with a 2nd piece of tube (stainless?) between that and the body of the railing. Then when you get rust or appearance issues it'll be relatively straightforward to replace them, rather than having to remove and fix the railing itself.

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            • #7
              Use wood, it won't rust

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              • #8
                Once the ramps and railings have been repaired it may be time to rethink the method and material used as a deicer. Sodium chloride and calcium chloride while cheap and effective initially, have a far greater total cost of use factor built into them than most folks think of when selecting them as a deicer.
                There are far more effective deicers available that are much more friendly to not only the concrete but also to metals and the environment.

                Calcium magnesium acetate is one that comes to mind. Not nearly as cheap as the chlorides but then one has to factor in all the negatives associated with their use and the constant maintenance while using them.


                Calcium Magnesium Acetate







                Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                Location: British Columbia

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by elf View Post
                  Use wood, it won't rust
                  NASA developed the pen that writes in outer space.
                  RUSSIA used a pencil.

                  -Doozer
                  DZER

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                  • #10
                    I’d go concrete slab myself
                    mark

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doozer View Post

                      NASA developed the pen that writes in outer space.
                      RUSSIA used a pencil.

                      -Doozer
                      Pencils are a fire hazard and floating graphite particles can short out equipment
                      Russia used a pen too

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post

                        Pencils are a fire hazard and floating graphite particles can short out equipment
                        Russia used a pen too
                        I know it is not true, but I always thought it was funny.

                        -D
                        DZER

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                        • #13
                          Pressure treated wood
                          material of choice here in coastal Maine

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                          • #14
                            Hire a well insured contractor, being well insured is a vital criteria for such work. Inevitably a customer will take a dive on the ramp.
                            This is when the lawsuits begin, the customer may not win a dime but the cost of defending yourself can be very high.
                            At the very least leave no digital or paper trail that connects you to the work. I live in New Jersey where one can not swing a dead cat without hitting a Lawyer.

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                            • #15
                              Just a thought for the tread surface, what if you blast, paint and use gravelgard...aka boxliner.. just a thought, just spitballing..
                              how far do the wheelchairs go in the church ? The chemicals must follow ? Can they be wiped off over maybe cocoa mats ?
                              if you can clean the wheels before entry, maybe you could use sand for traction?

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