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Ice Melt for Painted Wooden Wheelchair Ramp

DonStephan's picture

Friends would like to keep in place their wheelchair ramp during the winter, but forecasted freezing rain/snow would render unusable.  The ramp is (porch) painted MDO ply over treated wood frame, with adhesive backed grip strips, resting on mortared brick walk and steps.  Sand will provide good traction over the ice, but scratch/gouge the paint, as would rock salt.  Don't know what effect calcium chloride and such would have on the wood.  Feedback greatly appreciated.

What about steel mesh with (post #196626, reply #1 of 8)

What about steel mesh with teeth, over a rubber pad?

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ramp traction (post #196626, reply #2 of 8)

same thought,  diamond grid mesh

If this looks too harsh, when weather allows repaint the surface and mix ground walnut shells into the paint.

Fertilizer generally makes a (post #196626, reply #3 of 8)

Fertilizer generally makes a halfway decent ice melt, and it's at least easy (perhaps too easy) on the grass/plants.  And a number of other ice melt chemicals are available.  You can find some that come in rounded, fairly soft pellets, so the tendency to scratch would be minimal.

(Frankly I think worrying about scratching it is silly -- just resign yourself to repainting it in the spring if need be.)


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Thanks for the feedback.  (post #196626, reply #4 of 8)

Thanks for the feedback.  Unfortunately raising the surface height would interfere with the door opening, so the mesh would present other difficulties.

I check with three local paint stores and one national paint tech support line.  The consensus was that calcium chloride ice melt should be less harsh on the paint and surrounding plants than rock salt.  The consistent recommendation was to apply the calcium chloride in moderation, as soon as the ice was melted sweep off any excess ice melt.

No doubt the ramp will have to be re-painted from time to time, but the longer it can be postponed, the better.  Removing the adhesive backed grip strips would be time consuming.

A trick I've used before on (post #196626, reply #5 of 8)

A trick I've used before on icy pavement is to cover it with clear plastic on a sunny day.  This traps a significant amount of heat and can melt the ice even when air temps are only in the teens.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Could ya put small strips of (post #196626, reply #6 of 8)

Could ya put small strips of wood every foot or so? 

Make them about 12" wide. That way they'd catch the feet of the person pushing, but not interfere with the wheels on the wheelchair.

And they'd make shoveling the (post #196626, reply #7 of 8)

And they'd make shoveling the snow that much more fun.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

We have a similar problem and (post #196626, reply #8 of 8)

We have a similar problem and found a great solution at Petsmart. They sell Simple Solution Ice Melting Pellets that is safe for painted surfaces. We have used it for the past 4 winters without repainting. The porch steps are only now showing signs of needing attention but we would have expected that after 4 years anyway. The product is pricey but a little goes a long way and it works great. We use cheaper stuff for the sidewalk and use the pellets exclusively on the porch. It's kept our handicapped daughter safe and been easy on the wood. I hope this helps.