They are two of the most popular materials customers choose when purchasing access ramps, but which one is right for your needs? Timber or rubber?
Both materials are affordably priced, but that’s where the similarities end.
Below is a handy guide to the most commonly-asked customer questions about the pros and cons of each material.
Firstly, the length of the ramp you require can influence whether you opt for timber or rubber.
Rubber access ramps make good threshold or small step ramps; that is very short ramps designed to bridge a small space (for example a small step or gap or, an entrance with sliding glass door tracks).
Rubber ramps are not designed to bridge sizeable gaps (our rubber ramps accommodate rises up to 190mm). This is because the ramps need to be made of solid rubber to support the weight of a person in a wheelchair. Just picture how heavy and unwieldy a meters-long solid rubber ramp would be.
For this reason, if you’re tossing up between rubber and timber ramps, for anything over 190mm in height, we recommend you choose timber which can be designed to fit any length required.
Timber disability ramps are popular and one of the big reasons for this is purely aesthetic; timber ramps look beautiful.
If the property is made of timber itself, timber ramps blend in perfectly; they can add style and come in a range of colours to match the colour scheme of the property.
Rubber ramps on the other hand can blend in perfectly but they do not arguably add much in the way of beauty. They are purely utilitarian.
Timber is a very dependable and durable option if, and this is important, if it is looked after.
Just like timber decking and floors, timber ramps require more maintenance beyond the odd casual sweep.
We recommend you oil the timber at least once a year to ensure it lasts.
You’ll also need to make sure the timber is not wet for too long as some non-slip surfacing types applied to timber ramps can start to break down if this happens. Moss can also start to grow on the timber and the timber can rot over time if left wet.
If you don’t maintain timber ramps you run the risk that they become structurally unsound in the long term.
Rubber disability ramps on the other hand are simple to maintain. UV resistant and super tough, the only thing you’ll need to do to keep your rubber ramp in working order is a simple sweep or hose when necessary.
Timber and rubber ramps are similarly priced per linear foot.
Timber ramps can be slippery when wet which obviously represents a safety issue. For this reason many customers opt to have a traction surface installed over the timber. This is an additional cost and the surface may need to be checked semi-regularly to make sure it’s not breaking down, as mentioned above.
Rubber on the other hand is a perfect non-slip surface in and of itself, regardless of what the weather is doing. Hence why rubber mats are so often used as a non-stick surface in showers.
These days, many rubber ramp products, including the ones we make, are made from 100 per cent recycled tyre rubber. They therefore represent a sustainable and environmentally friendly option for customers.
The timber used in the ramps we make is sourced from sustainably harvested forest plantations. Being a renewable resource timber is also a good option, it’s a natural product that can be re-used or up-cycled.
If you’re still undecided between timber and rubber ramping, call our friendly staff and they’ll be happy to offer you further advice.