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Ramp Handrails: What You Need to Know | Meeting Code Requirements with Promenaid

ADA compliant handrails for ramps must meet certain criteria to ensure the safety of those using the ramps. While ramp use is intended for those using wheelchairs or people with stability issues that would prevent them from using the stairs, ramps are commonly used by everyone, including children. Meeting ADA requirements not only makes ramp usage safe for the intended users, everyone can benefit from the added safety.

ADA Ramp Handrail Requirements

Railing on Both Sides

An ADA ramp with a handrail must meet certain requirements for safety and stability. On a ramp that has a rise greater than 6”, a continuous handrail must be included on both sides of the ramp and run along the entire length, including switchbacks or doglegs.

The top surface of the handrail must be 34-38 inches above the walking surface of the ramp and must be a consistent height along the entire length of the ramp. If the ramp is used in an area that primarily serves children, such as an elementary school, day care, or play area, the ADA ramp handrail should be 20”-28” above the ramp.

The handrail must then extend 12” horizontally beyond the end of the slope at both the top and bottom of the ramp. This extension must then return to the guard, wall, or floor to prevent clothing or bags from snagging on the ends of the handrails.

Single-sided Rail

ADA ramps that have a rise of 6” or less may have a handrail on one side only . The top surface of the handrail must be 34″-38″ above the ramp and continuous along the full length of the ramp. If the rise is greater than 6”, then an ADA compliant handrail is required on both sides.


Including a midrail is not part of meeting ADA compliance, but it is important if the ramp is in an area that primarily serves children. The midrail must be at least 9” below the single, primary rail to prevent entrapment. The midrail on an ADA ramp with handrail should be 20”-28” above the ramp and run parallel with the single rail above it to provide extra support for children.

Edge Protection

Continuous edge protection to prevent canes or wheels from going over the edge of the ramp is mandatory for all ramps requiring handrails. Edge protection can take the form of a curb, as shown above, or a barrier. The space between the ramp surface and barrier must be less than 4 inches.

Slope Change

Ramps are required to have 12” of horizontal railing at the top and the bottom of the ramp. To do this, the handrail requires a slope change to transition to horizontal. This extension doesn’t need to travel in the same direction as the handrail and can turn corners if necessary as long as it provides added support when transitioning on and off the ramp’s surface.

Meet ADA Requirements with Ease

Meeting code requirements with Promenaid is easy. No matter what handrail you choose, you can rest assured that it will meet ADA requirements as well as those set out by the commercial and residential building codes.

Contact a representative at Promenaid today for more information on ramp handrail solutions.

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