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Goose accessibility thread...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Gooserider, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    Here is the situation with respect to the ramp.

    Ed estimates that building the ramp from scratch will cost us about $2000 to $3000 for the materials, mostly wood. The rise is about 60 inches which means a ramp of about 60 feet long.

    One can rent a ramp. I have not been given numbers yet, because they have to visit and measure and make estimates, but the consensus among those who offer both ramp and lift is that a lift will likely be less expensive than a 60 foot ramp. The break-even point is about 40 foot ramp. However, lifts cannot be rented, only purchased. I have had one company visit thus far, and two more rental companies which I expect to visit soon.

    Rented ramps are usually metal. Home-made ramps are usually wood.

    Companies that rent ramps typically say if you rent for more than about 6 months, you own the ramp. Rental companies apply either 50 or 75 per cent of the rent to purchase if you want to convert.

    Lifts cost about $4000 to $5000. A lift needs a cement pad about 5 foot by 5 foot big. We have mostly flat ground to put that on. We have an outdoor electrical outlet. Transportation of the lift costs about $500. If we used a lift, we would need a short ramp or platform to get over a couple of small steps between where the lift would be and the front door. The ramp would be less than 10 feet long and about 3 feet wide.

    Ramps can be purchased on craigslist. They cost about $1200 to $2000. All the ramps I find locally are less than 40 feet long, so we would have to buy more than one. Some are wood. One is metal bought from Amrep, so we could buy the rest of the ramp from Amrep, but then we would have to set it up ourselves, which means digging ground and pouring concrete to put the legs of the ramp on.

    Metal ramps are "temporary" which I think means no permits. Wooden ramps are "permanent" which probably requires a permit.

    So, given all of that, who has an opinion about what we should do?
    I will post rental costs when I have them.

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  2. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Your outside outlet may or may not be, enough for a lift.
  3. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    We have an electrician from the next town over who has said he may be willing to help us.
    While I do not know whether he can attend the build week-end,
    I expect he can help upgrade the power if that is needed.
  4. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    Here is what I learned from the local Home Depot about counters:

    One can make counters out of varieties of stone. I am not in favor.

    One can buy wood and laminate (formica or similar) and make one's own counter.
    Some patterns of laminate are kept in stock. Most are not.

    One can buy the laminate already stuck to something, possibly not solid wood,
    but the bathroom size would have to be pre-ordered because they do not keep it in stock.

    One can make the counter from Corian, which is acrylic.
    None of the Corian is kept in stock. It all has to be pre-ordered.

    So, if we wanted to go with solid wood and not pre-order,
    then wood and laminate (formica) is the way to go.

    If we want something else, then we need to pre-order,
    and thus would have to commit to a design ahead of time,
    at least enough so that we know what to order.

    I guess I could be talked into Corian if someone said it was really better than laminate,
    but at the moment I see no advantage to it.
    I am not especially in favor of pre-ordering laminate stuck to something,
    unless our volunteers think sticking laminate to wood is too difficult for them.
    What I remember from Gooserider and me doing this before is that
    the glue is very unforgiving. Once something is stuck, it is hard to move.
    Air bubbles may be a problem if you do it wrong.
  5. tmhrrgn

    tmhrrgn New Member

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    M-A
    Corian is a one solid piece so therefore it will not absorb water from under the counter top. Most of the laminate in stock is on piratical board and will swell with the moisture. The tile option that was floated earlier sounds best in this environment. As for another thing while we are at it the problem with the mold in there started with lack of ventilation we should install a ceiling exhaust fan on a timer switch in there.


    Tim
  6. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Mary Anne - Would there be a way to install the lift in the garage? (Or, does that propose another elevation change from the top of the stairs in the garage to the rest of the house)
    I was just thinking that if you have the room in the garage, you could use the existing concrete pad and would be protected from the elements.
  7. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I'd definitely be willing to bet that a lift will be less expensive if you're talking $4,000-$5,000. Below are rough prices for standard industrial catwalk purchased at rather high volumes. I also threw out some guesses for supports, plates and freight. A "ramp" may be slightly lighter duty than this but I doubt it would cost less based on lower volumes. These prices are rough but based on March 2010 actual purchases.

    2 High Round Handrail - 120' - $1,800 (This price is for safety yellow. Could be cheaper for black)
    Handrail ends, splics, etc - $200
    32" Wide catwak - 3x20' sections - $2,400
    Adjustable supports - 3 - $600
    Freight to MA, residential delivery - $1,200
    Plates for smoth enter/exit at both ends - $200

    Total Estimate: $6,400
  8. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I say rental is the way to go with either the ramp or the lift. The folks that rent it should know what is best and most affordable for you. In 1996 I worked as a grip on the shoot of an HBO movie called "In the Gloaming". It was directed by the late Christopher Reeves. We shot the movie at a house in Pound Ridge, NY near his home. We had an assortment of rented lifts and ramps that we used to move Mr. Reeves all over the house and grounds. The rented equipment was easy to deal with, lightweight, and well made.
    In fact, the more I read on this thread, I am surprised that Mary-Anne and Goose aren't mentioning getting help from professionals that deal with accessibility. While it is awesome that we here at hearth.com and Goose and Mary-Anne's friends are all working together to help solve problems and help make the house more accessible, I am concerned that time and money could be wasted by not getting help from experts. I don't mean to in any way disrespect Mary-Anne or others who have contributed.
  9. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    Rick from the local tile shop was just here. This is what he recommended.
    If the existing floor is flat or tiles toward the shower, then they leave it in place.
    Otherwise, they tile over it to get the right tilt.
    The labor is cheaper this way than taking up the old tiles.
    We should use contrasting tile in the shower, either 1 by 1 or 2 by 2,
    so that the small tile can fit right around the drain.
    We need to put either a membrane or a copper shower pan under the tile
    in the shower. We do not need to put it under the whole floor.
    The floor under the sink should be tiled with the same tile pattern as the shower.
    A shower surround would work. A plumber should know how to install this.
    The mold problem may be because the fan is blocked or not powerful enough.
    The wall and ceiling above the shower surround could be tiled, but
    it would be less expensive to use mildew resistant paint.
    I would probably use white on the ceiling above the shower.
    I could use white or some other color on the wall.
    The local hardware store carries the mildew resistant paint.
    One buys it in quarts.
    Rick will see if there are leftover or discontinued tiles
    we can use for the shower and under sink
    and get inexpensively.
  10. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like the lift is the best near term solution. I would put it to the left of the existing stairs looking at the front of the house. Add a deck level from the entry threshold to the edge of the lift. Add new steps to get down to the laundry level for the existing stairs. There would be no permanent modifications except for the slab for the lift and whatever is needed for the walk.

    Attached Files:

  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Put the lift in the garage. Can use the opposite side then where the stairs are currently in. Goose uses the left hand side, Mary Anne uses the right hand side. (Keep existing stairs)
    Small ramp from the laundry room to the living room. (Looks like its just a few steps)
    If current garage is full of stuff, we can move it to the basement or other room.

    Attached Files:

  12. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    We would love to put the lift in the garage, but we cannot. The laundry is lower than the living room and higher than the garage. A lift in the garage would get to the laundry but there is no room for a ramp or lift from the laundry to the living room.

    One of the ramp rental places has a used lift for sale for $2500 including installation EXCEPT not including the cost of putting a cement pad on the ground under where the lift will be. This is about the cost of the wood if we made a ramp. There would need to be a little more done to get over the step between where the lift is and the front door, and we may need a way to open the front door at a distance, and I am not sure how much of that is included, but it is still an option.
  13. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    hi mary anne

    i can stop by on the friday to see what i need and if need be pull a permit. there a somethings that i have to do on saturday and sunday but i will be there for some of each day. i thought we were going to be out of town sunday but i think that is saturday so i might be there either sat late morning for a bit or late in the afternoon. then sunday i can be there mid afternoon. i can adjust my schedule for days of the following week also if need be. i'm the boss. so i can make what time i need.

    frank
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    IMHO a lift in the garage would be an ideal solution, EXCEPT that it only gets is into the laundry room, which is about 1.5 - 2' (3 steps) lower than the main floor of the house, and is definitely not big enough for a ramp that would get from the garage height to the main floor. I think it would be possible to raise the floor of the laundry room, but that might also be tricky, and would involve needing to modify the plumbing for the gas lines to the dryer, and water / drain lines to the washer....

    In terms of the electric on the outside of the house - the outlet that Mary-Anne mentions is on on a circuit that supplies boxes located all around the house, including the back screen porch and the pool area - it is a 15 amp, GFCI circuit, and already feeds the freezer on the back porch, not to mention also supplying the power for any other power tools that get plugged in to any of the outside outlets, or the ones in the garage that I didn't install myself on a separate circuit. I would NOT consider it advisable to use that circuit to work a lift directly (It would be OK if the lift was battery powered and the AC draw was just to power the battery charger)

    As Dave suggested, I would love to see the lift in the garage, though I'd probably just replace the existing stairs with the lift and have both Mary-Anne and I use it, however as Mary-Anne points out there is no room in the laundry room for a ramp to get to the main level of the house.

    Doing a lift on the porch with a shorter ramp from the porch to the front door would get me into the main level of the house, but there would be more work than just the pad for the lift to sit on needed. A ramp would essentially end up near the driveway, so minimal work would be needed to get from the end of the ramp to pavement. However a lift would effectively put me on the lawn next to the front steps - the walk from the drive to the front steps I would not consider ideal for a chair. It is lumpy, rather narrow, and a bit irregular - most people going to the front steps just walk on the grass, and when I'm blowing snow in the winter, I just run over the lawn to get to the steps. Presumably a fair bit of extra work would be needed to make a passable ground level wheelchair path if using a lift instead of a ramp.

    For counter material - Corian is supposedly better for a number of reasons, but I wouldn't raise big objections to Formica or other - it isn't a big deal to me.

    In terms of the bathroom fan - the house had a rather poorly installed low power fan / light unit installed into the bath ceiling when it was built, 3" duct, with no real connection between the unit and the vent in the side wall of the house other than the rafter space. A few years back (5-6?) the fan started to crap out, so I replaced it with a similar but stronger fan - light, that used a 4" duct outlet, and connected with what I thought was the right thing (in retrospect less than ideal) namely plastic drier flex duct reinforced by wrapping w/ duct tape. I also replaced the wall outlet with a larger one to match. I forget if it was an 80 or 100cfm rated fan, but it was listed as appropriate for the floor sq footage of the bathroom. Since I replaced it, the deterioration of the sheetrock and visible growth of mildew, etc. has either stopped or greatly slowed...

    Lastly.... Flatbed Ford says;
    I'm not at all sold on the rental idea for stuff that we are likely to be owning for an extended period of time (Maybe I'm over pessimistic but the rehab folks seem to treat this as something that I'm going to need to at least some degree for life...) and even if we move most of the stuff that has been proposed for rental are things we could take with us if we did decide to move (and the new owners would probably want us to take away) so why not buy it - the situation is different than the short term needs (and big budget) of a movie project)

    However I am starting to think that FBF might well be right about hiring pros in other respects - I can't express how much I appreciate all the offers of help and assistance from the Hearth folks, but it seems like this effort at design by committee with limited data, and different skill sets, plus trying to figure out how to plan and coordinate everyone's schedule is putting a lot of stress on Mary-Anne and I in different ways. It also appears that the gov't rules about permits and inspections are very much slanted so as to make volunteer work extra difficult. There also appear to be various low-cost loans / grants etc. out there that can cover a fair bit of the expenses, but again slanted towards using "pro's" - Would this be a better way to go? I don't know but I'm starting to wonder about it....

    Gooserider
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I can appreciate your concerns and the stress this is putting on both of you. It will help to slow down a bit. My suggestions may have seemed dramatic, but I was thinking long-term and not a make-do approach. The reason for this was that if the final design works well, the likelihood of being able to stay in the house increases. Second, this is a huge life change for you, there is no point in making it anything but the most workable possible solution. And last, you folks are on a fixed budget, so each expenditure should be building a foundation for the the next step. Temporary fixes and knucklbusting doorways will only mean a tearout later on.

    Best to do the first stage correctly. I would focus on making the first floor a very habitable and wheelchair friendly place. The first step to that is having an on paper plan that works. Volunteer help can work out, but only if they are going by a plan. If the first step is done right, then there will not be more expense redoing them in the future. That mean that in a year or so, you can assess progress and decide to invest in what it take to make life work well for you. If that is a stair lift, then so be it.
  16. tmhrrgn

    tmhrrgn New Member

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    Goose
    I agree with you about the design by committee approach you ad M-A need to get the final layout decided before we do any work and we stick to that plan as much as possible. I know you want to save some money is most areas but at the expense of your comfortable access is an other thing. As for the bathroom as you said before that needs to be done first and done right because that will be the only one in the house for you so if we need to go with rework you are in a jam. Also I know what your preferences are but we also have to look at time and expense too, sounds like among the free labor that is being offered there in no one able or willing to do tile. I know that tile is the best thing for this environment but that take a lot of labor to do and very skilled to boot.

    Tim
  17. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Make sure you new england guys are looking on CL for ramps and the like. Check it multiple times a day. Good things come up and dissappear fast.
  18. mgwmgw

    mgwmgw New Member

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    If we were to cancel the build week-end, how would we get the bed downstairs and the boxes into the attic?

    Rick, the tile store person, who seemed to have done this a lot before, said we could put the new sink about where the old sink is, minus the cupboard under the sink, leave the toilet in the same place, and lose the wall between the closet and the door to widen the door. He said we may want to lose the front of the closet.

    He was very ready to tell me certain things would not work, and I am inclined to trust his judgement.

    The problem with buying ramps on Craigslist is that we have to transport them somehow, and there are things to know about installing them, which I do not know. I am not saying this is a bad idea, but only that it is not a simple idea.
  19. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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  20. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Mary Anne - Since I had offered to help, but am not bringing much expertise with me in the area of plumbing and carpentry, and am still more than willing to come over should the build get postponed for another date...I can help move beds/furniture, boxes, etc..
    I wanted to help out, but didn't want to get in the way of the other folks performing the actual work and bringing more to the table than I can, so if you need my help as a mover and I happy to help. (Might need another body with me on the heavy stuff, like the bed, etc..)
    David
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    First off a few sites that may be useful that have been pointed at - these are coming from a book called the "Paralysis Resource Guide" which is put out by the "Paralysis Research Center" - which is run by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which are reputed to be good folks. The book itself looks pretty good, I'm working on reading through it myself, when not busy with other stuff... I have NOT checked out these sites myself, the descriptions are cribbed from the book in about the order I think will be most useful...



    1. The Ramp Project - MN Rehab Services Dept, and others offers an inexpensive, Modular, Reusable, Easy to build wheel chair ramp design - They have a book "How to Build Ramps for Home Accessibility" contains detailed step-by-step installation instructions and engineering drawings for ramps and stairs. It can be purchased for $15 or viewed at http://www.wheelchairramp.org

    2. Paralyzed Veterans of America pva.org Not in the book, but mentioned by one of the people that gave it to me as especially useful - see the accessible design section of the site.

    3. ABLEDATA: A national resource database on adaptive technology products, including every sort of device and tool for home or workplace modification - http://www.abledata.com

    4. Adaptive Environments: promotes accessibility and universal design through education programs, technical assistance, and design advocacy 180-200 Portland St., Suite 1, Boston, MA 02114 (617) 695-1225 (NOTE THAT THESE FOLKS ARE LOCAL!) http://www.adaptenv.org

    There were several others, but they looked more oriented towards education and outreach rather than actual design...

    A few other thoughts...

    1. We really CAN'T slow down that much - the insurance company is only going to pay to keep me here at the rehab center for so long, and judging by the way that the therapists and everyone else is telling me that I'm making great progress, I'd expect that might tend to be a shorter period rather than longer. They will NOT keep me here longer because the house isn't ready... If it really isn't ready I'll get packed off to a nursing home / human warehouse, where I will probably NOT get good care... If it's only somwhat ready they will drop me in the living room w/ a hospital bed and a portable commode...

    2. I don't see that the house has to be totally accessible or comfortable at first - as far as I'm concerned, the first floor is all that matters at this point, and then only to a limited extent - enough that I can get in, sleep, and go potty at a minimum. For this I need -

    A: A ramp or lift to get in the front door (Which must be wide enough)
    B: Wide enough doors to get into the two downstairs bedrooms and the bathroom (Which I'm assuming would be 32"? though it might be possible to get away with a 29 or 30" and a 36" would be ideal)
    C: A bathroom that is done enough to not need extensive remakes once I'm home...

    A and C are critical, with B almost as important, and easy to deal with (removing doors and frames from the bedrooms would work as a temporary solution..)

    We don't need to get to any other floor. We don't need to redo the kitchen. (both would be nice but not needed at this time...)

    3. From all that I've seen thus far, the bathroom mod needed AT MOST is to possibly remove the linen closet on the tub side and make the door wider. I see no need to relocate any of the fixtures - just replace the sink with a counter mount, and the tub with a roll in design -

    4. There might be a need to update some of the electrical, but if this causes extra gov't hassle, and can be avoided otherwise, I don't see it as vital (if practical might try to design to make it easier to do as a retrofit in the future, but...)

    5. I would hope that the volunteer crew can gut the bathroom, and rough it in so that the tile guy can come in and do his thing on the following week, thus allowing proper time for drying cycles and the like.

    6. The other volunteer crew tasks would include building a ramp (maybe, though it doesn't look cost effective to rent or purchase commercial ramps from the pricing Mary-Anne has gotten so far) and moving stuff from what is currently Mary-Annes office to the master suite on the second floor, and the bed down to her office - if we have time, possibly also do things to my office as well, though not sure just what....

    There are other possibilities, but this is the key stuff as I see it....

    Gooserider
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds good. If the crew can get A, B and C done that will be a great start. Plan on the doors being changed. In the guides I read that a standard wheelchair is about 24-26" wide. Does that confirm with what your chair width is? Got to leave enough hand room when the wheels go through, so make it 34 or 36" for an opening width of ~30-32" (The door body never swings completely out of the way.) This would be a good time to decide if you want to change the hinge side or not.
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    More thoughts...

    It might make sense to have a SMALL "pre-build" party this weekend if we have any local folks (i.e. fbelec) with relevant expertise that wanted to come look at the actual setup and help come up with actual plans... If this makes sense, I would suggest contacting Mary-Anne via PM to arrange time, day, etc that would be best.

    Likewise, I don't know if the build party might also benefit from spreading out a bit, with most of the work happening on the scheduled weekend, but having another small gathering the weekend after for any needed finishing stuff like putting up rock, painting, etc...


    BG - You said:
    I agree, at least in part, which is why I am saying to focus on just the two aspects of the bathroom and the ramp for this phase of the project - they won't wait, but are independent enough of the rest of the house not to need to be involved in any future rework, and I feel very comfortable with the ideas I've put forth so far (and aside from the question of the door width and that linen closet, so have the rehab and spine guys that I've shown my sketches to) The kitchen, stair lifts, getting into the laundry room and garage directly, and so on can all be dealt with just as easily, with a lot less time pressure after I'm home, and in a position to be doing more research on things, and take a more active role in the planning and so forth, let alone the big decision about whether to stay in the house or not...

    In terms of transport of ramp stuff purchased off CL, I'm sure that if someone found the right deal, we could manage to transport whether with the minivan or someones truck... The bigger challenge if getting stuff from different sources is to make sure that they can be combined, but that could probably be managed.

    Gooserider
  24. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    The 36" door panel will give the 34" needed for elbow access.
    Access Standard Recommended:
    The clear opening of a doorway should be at least 34”. This would require a minimum 3’-0” door.
    Code Reference:
    •Clear openings of doorways with swinging doors shall be measured between the face of door and stop, with the door open 90 degrees.(ANSI 404.2.3)
    •When a passage exceeds 24” in depth, the minimum clear opening increases to 36”. (ANSI A 117.1 404)
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good plan Goose. Take it one step at a time.

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